One-pot pasta recipes are undoubtedly the perfect go-to meal for any weeknight dinner, late lunch, or even family gathering. First, they’re always super easy to make. Second, they make less of a mess! Could we possibly ask for more?
For starters, everyone loves pasta, especially the kids. And there’s no food quite as convenient. I mean, how much room does a good selection of dried pasta take up in the pantry. It’s so fast, filling, and delicious.
Add to that its versatility, and you have a win-win. A mouthwatering sauce, al dente pasta of your choice, then throw in some protein, veggies, and seasonings, and you have a memorable meal that literally takes minutes.
Overcooked pasta is more common than you think. Unfortunately, overcooked pasta falls apart and quickly turns to mush. Al dente is the perfect doneness where it’s firm and just a tad chewy. Taste it to make sure. Honestly, I prefer to undercook the pasta just a little because you usually cook it again in a one-pot pasta meal.
I would if I could. You can’t always keep the sauce separate from the pasta; oven-baked ziti is a good example. However, if you can, that will keep your pasta from getting soggy.
Did you know there are 600+ types of pasta? And, yes, they all have their uses. Wider pasta with crevices is best for creamy and chunky sauces because the sauce clings to it better. Thin pasta, like spaghetti, goes best with the thinner marinara and tomato-based sauces.
Make-Ahead and Storage
Pasta dishes are the ideal make-ahead dish. If the sauce is served separately, then you can make it ahead and refrigerate it for a day or two before serving. Make the pasta fresh, heat up your sauce, and you’re good to go.
If your one-pot pasta recipe is baked, you can make it right up to the point you put it in the oven. Then it will keep in the fridge for a day or two. Give it a half-hour at room temperature, then bake as per the recipe when you’re ready to serve. You can store leftovers the same way and reheat them in the oven.
Reheating is a breeze. You can put leftovers in a baking dish and reheat them for about 20 minutes in a 350℉/177℃ oven. Or you can put them in a saucepan on low with a splash of broth, so it doesn’t stick to the pan.
One-Pot Pasta Recipes
1. Hamburger Helper
This homemade version of everyone’s favorite instant pasta is what I call a classic reinvented. You might be familiar with the Hamburger Helper that comes in a box. Well, this one’s better because it uses fresh ingredients, from ground beef to onions and garlic. And it’s so easy to adjust the seasonings to your family’s taste, and that’s always appreciated.
I love to make a tossed salad or sauteed Brussels sprouts to go with this one. And a loaf of homemade whole wheat bread rounds the meal out so perfectly.
You can store leftovers in the fridge for three days. Or make your one-pot pasta dish ahead and freeze it for up to three months. Then you can have a homemade ready-made meal in the freezer for whenever you’re in a rush!
2. Spicy Shrimp Spinach Pasta
We often forget about seafood when planning the week’s meal. And that’s too bad because shrimp is reasonably economical and delicious. Add spicy Creole seasonings, smoked paprika, garlic, and spinach, and you have a deliciously healthy dinner. Yeah!
Since this is a one-pot meal, you really don’t need much else. However, a good cucumber-tomato salad and Devil’s food cake take this meal over the top.
3. Chili Mac
What happens when mac and cheese meets chili? You get an incredibly delicious and cheesy chili mac. This hearty one-pot pasta recipe with tomatoes, hamburger, kidney beans combines with soul-satisfying mac and cheese for a crowd-pleasing dinner.
Chili mac goes so deliciously with Mexican cornbread or tortilla chips. And you can also complement the Tex-Mex feel with freshly made passion fruit juice.
4. Shrimp Alfredo Recipe
This classic creamy, cheesy Alfredo recipe is kicked up a few notches with Cajun spices and topped off with juicy shrimp. Even better, this gorgeous one-pot pasta recipe only takes half an hour to throw together, making it perfect for unexpected guests.
Of course, this mouthwatering Italian dish has to have fresh garlic bread. And a crispy Greek salad completes the meal. Oh, yeah! Finish it off with a simple spice cake and hear the praise roll in.
5. Taco Pasta
This delicious taco pasta combines two flavorful cultures, Mexican tacos and Italian pasta, all in a straightforward one-pot pasta recipe. Ground beef seasoned with cumin, paprika, onion, garlic, and a few jalapeño peppers combined with pasta and topped with grated cheddar is so tasty. I love topping mine with avocado; you should try it!
Hot water cornbread or homemade tortillas goes great with this dish. And sorrel drink is the perfect beverage to put on the table. Yum!
6. Sausage and Pasta
This pasta dish is as easy as they get! Get your hands some good Italian sausage, herbs, and spices, and you have the makings of an impressive meal that takes hardly any time at all. You can use whatever style of pasta you prefer; my choice is usually penne because it grabs onto the sauce so well.
Kale salad and homemade potato bread are so good with this dish. A New York cheesecake will definitely be appreciated by those present.
7. Stovetop Mac & Cheese
Let’s get serious for a second. We all love mac and cheese, even the stuff that comes in a box (no judging because I’ve done it, too😉). But once you learn how to make homemade mac and cheese, you won’t want to go back to the boxed stuff. And it only takes a half-hour to throw this fabulicious cheesiness together.
Mac and cheese always goes good with collard greens and skillet cornbread, the classic Southern comfort meal. And some Southern sweet tea will round it out perfectly.
8. American Goulash
This is not just another flavorful one-pot pasta; this one is layers on top of layers of flavor! My take on the classic goulash kicks up the ground beef and tomato base with my favorite spices, then tops it off with cheese for a genuinely one-pot meal.
Stuffed cabbage rolls are a traditional side, and shaved Brussels sprouts salad goes so great with this dish, too. Biscuits are also an easy addition to this meal.
What’s Your Favorite One-Pot Pasta Recipe?
One-pot pasta recipes are an easy way to feed your peeps without spending too much time in the kitchen, so that means more time to do what you really love, eating! The Shrimp Alfredo is an easy recipe for an elegant date night, and Chili Mac and Cheese is always a weeknight dinner hit. Quick, easy, and mess-free — that’s an offer you can’t refuse!
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