Pasta has always been something of a one-pot dish, but in the past few years, we’ve seen more and more cooks making a sauce in the same pot while the spaghetti or other dried pasta cooks.
I’ve mostly seen this with tomato-based sauces, but in “One-Pot Pasta: From Pot to Plate in Under 30 Minutes” (Hardie Grant, $12.99), author Sabrina Fauda-Role uses everything from baba ganoush to gorgonzola cheese to make the sauce and bucatini to spirals for the pasta.
All the ingredients are cooked at the same time and simmered in a small amount of water. The starch released by the pasta during cooking will mix with the other ingredients and create a creamy sauce, making a one pot pasta dish faster than it would take to cook the two components separately.
This one-pot pasta technique only has a few rules: Don’t add more or less water than the recipe calls for, and make sure it’s cold water, not hot. Hot water will soften the pasta too quickly.
Frozen vegetables or even meatballs or other cooked pieces of meat that have been frozen don’t have to be defrosted before adding to the pot. They will thaw as the pasta and sauce cooks.
This dish uses leftover ham, but you could also use turkey or add extra vegetables and make it meat-free. The original recipe called for generic soft cheese, an ingredient more common in British cooking, so we’ve adapted it to encourage you to use about a cup of a soft dairy of your choice to make the sauce creamy. This could be a soft cheese, such as brie or ricotta, or even half heavy whipping cream and half sour cream, but don’t use a stronger-tasting hard cheese, such as Gruyère, in the beginning or else the sauce won’t form properly.
Ham and Gruyère Pasta
9 oz. dried, uncooked macaroni
1/2 lb. cooked ham, torn into pieces
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup soft cheese, heavy cream, ricotta or other creamy dairy
1/3 cup sautéed onions
1 vegetable stock bouillon cube
1 small bunch of chives, snipped
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
3 cups water
Grated Gruyère, to serve
Set aside a small amount of the snipped chives and the Gruyère. Put all the other ingredients into a large saucepan in the order listed.
Cook, with the lid on the pot, for approximately 15 minutes over a medium heat, stirring regularly. About 3/4-inch of cooking liquid should remain at the end. Serve with the grated cheese and reserved chives. Serves 4.
— From “One-Pot Pasta: From Pot to Plate in Under 30 Minutes” by Sabrina Fauda-Role (Hardie Grant, $12.99)