Tell me all you want that I’m in a puttanesca rut. As long as olives + capers + tomatoes still tastes delicious, I’ll be continuing to cook various iterations of that combo. I learned about the one-pot pasta technique when a friend of mine forwarded this Italian wonderpot recipe to me. I knew immediately that one pot spaghetti alla puttanesca was going to be our next Sunday dinner.
I don’t blame you for being skeptical, since I was too, about this idea of cooking the pasta directly in the sauce. But holy smokes, the pasta really was perfectly cooked, and it could not have been easier. The liquid, as promised, thickened up thanks to the starch in the pasta (here is the whole wheat spaghetti I often use), and formed a light, savory sauce. I foresee that a non-puttanesca iteration will also be happening very soon.
Update 8/2014: I love this recipe so much that I made another one pot pasta using fresh spring veggies (namely zucchini) and a white wine lemon sauce. I’m sure a summer variation will also be coming soon!
Whether it’s puttanesca or not, I really do think you should try out this one pot pasta cooking method! It’s fast, easy, delicious, and pretty fun to make. Have a bountiful week and weekend!
This one pot spaghetti alla puttanesca packs a punch of protein & flavor with whole wheat pasta, olives, capers, chickpeas, and artichoke hearts, plus a little spice. It can be ready in under 30 minutes!
- 12 oz. whole wheat spaghetti (you should not substitute for this; see notes)
- 2 oz. sliced black olives (up to 4 oz. for olive lovers)
- 1 (14-oz.) can artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained, and chopped
- 3/4 c. cooked chickpeas
- 2 tb. capers
- 1/2 large white or yellow onion, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (14-oz.) can diced tomatoes, low sodium or no salt added
- 1 tb. dried oregano
- 1 tsp. dried basil
- 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (reduce to 1/4 tsp. if sensitive to heat)
- 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper (reduce to 1/4 tsp. if freshly ground)
- salt (see notes)
- 3 c. vegetable broth, low sodium or no salt added
- (Optional step). If you have a few extra minutes, warm a teaspoon or so of olive oil in the pan, and then add the onions and garlic, stirring occasionally until just starting to turn golden. Add a splash of broth to loosen up the onion and garlic before proceeding to the next step as written.
- Add the pasta to a large, deep skillet, breaking in half if needed (a saucepan may also work)
- Add the rest of the ingredients, minus the broth, to the pan on top of the pasta (artsy arrangement not necessary!)
- Pour the vegetable broth over everything.
- Cover the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a steady simmer (medium to medium-low heat) and, keeping covered & stirring occasionally, cook for 8-10 more minutes, or until pasta is done through.
The starch from the whole wheat pasta thickens the broth into a mild sauce and that's what makes this recipe work its magic. Gluten-free pasta will have different results and may need different quantities of liquid. Check out the comments for some readers' experiences making this gluten-free. Regular (not whole wheat) pasta is what the original recipe used, and it called for more liquid (4 cups) because white pasta releases more starches. I personally have not tested with anything other than whole wheat.
My olives, artichoke hearts, chickpeas, capers, and tomatoes all came from (BPA-free) cans, so I found that I didn't need to add any salt, even with my homemade salt-free vegetable broth. It's easiest to salt to taste after the pasta is done cooking, but if none of your ingredients have salt added, I recommend adding a bit before cooking in order to get the same results that I did.
In my picture the onions are chopped, but they will do a better job cooking through if you mince them. Sorry for the visual deception.
Finally, I have heard some feedback that the leftovers can get soggy. I think you can minimize the chances of this by: 1) cooking the pasta to al dente, 2) tossing with a bit of olive oil before you store it, and/or 3) let it fully cool, uncovered, before storing.
(Adapted from Apron Strings.) And here’s the finished product! Not super stylish, but delicious. I didn’t stir it a whole lot during cooking – just enough to keep the noodles from sticking.
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