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!
Update 4/2016: Yes, the one pot craze bit me hard. Check out my latest one pot recipes! One pot tandoori quinoa; one pot coconut curry pasta; one pot creamy vegan fettuccine alfredo; one pot Moroccan quinoa with red lentils.
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!
One Pot Spaghetti Alla Puttanesca with Chickpeas & Artichoke Hearts
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1/2 large white or yellow onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 12 oz whole wheat spaghetti (see notes about substitutions)
- 2 oz sliced black olives (up to 4 oz. for olive lovers)
- 14 oz artichoke hearts rinsed and drained, and chopped
- 3/4 cup cooked chickpeas rinsed and drained
- 2 tbsp capers
- 14 oz. canned diced tomatoes
- 1 tbsp 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 to taste (see notes)
- 3 cups low-sodium or salt-free vegetable broth
Warm the olive oil in a large, deep, skillet and then add the onions and garlic, stirring occasionally until just starting to turn golden.
Add the pasta to the 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. Then 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 to your liking.
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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