One-pot pasta is a bit of a mysterious wonder. All of the ingredients–dried pasta, veggies, seasonings–go into a big pot with what looks like an impossible amount of liquid. Everything’s brought to a boil, then you toss (and toss and toss) it in the pot while it bubbles away. It’s not unlike a stir-fry of sorts, in that it cooks quickly over high heat—with lots of hands-on time while it boils. But it takes very few minutes to go from raw to “dinner’s ready!”
And, what an awesome dinner it is. Suddenly, you have a glorious pot of perfect pasta with tender veggies and a scrumptious sauce. Magic, I’m telling you!
This version, One-Pot Peanut Sesame Noodles & Veggies, takes its cue from Asian influences — specifically the cold sesame noodle salad that most everyone knows and loves. We start with lots of veggies: onion, red bell pepper, carrots and bok choy.
Throw the veggies in a pot along with water, seasonings, and pasta. Dried linguine, by the way, is my go-to for one-pot pastas as it cooks up reliably within the (very specific!) 9-minute time frame and is sturdy enough to hold up to all the tossing that one-pot pastas need.
Aside from the veggies, this one-pot pasta gets its Asian flair from Tamari-style soy sauce, ginger, garlic, sesame oil and a good bit of brown sugar for sweetness and balance. And don’t forget the heat! This recipe calls for a modest amount of crushed red pepper flakes, but if you’re brave, throw in some more.
After you take it off the stove, you toss in a few handfuls of Napa cabbage along with a splash of rice vinegar. Then top with lots of cilantro, peanuts, toasted sesame seeds, maybe even a few scallions if you’re inclined. One pot, many ways!
Asia meets Italy in this veggie-loaded, flavor-filled one-pot pasta.
- 8 ounces linguine, uncooked
- 3 1/2 cups water
- 1 medium bok choy or 3 baby bok choy (about 1/2 pound), sliced (about 3 cups)
- 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 2 medium carrots, cut into coins (about 1 cup)
- 1 small yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 3 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
- 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and minced (about 1 tablespoon)
- 1/4 cup Tamari-style soy sauce*
- 3 tablespoons sesame oil
- 2 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (add more if you like more heat)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 medium Napa cabbage, thinly sliced (about 4 cups, loosely packed)
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- Toppings: fresh cilantro, chopped salted peanuts, sliced scallions, and/or toasted sesame seeds
- To a large and heavy pot over high heat, add the linguine, water, bok choy, bell pepper, carrots, onion, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar, red pepper flakes, and salt.
- As soon as the mixture comes to a boil, set the timer for 9 minutes and cook, tossing constantly with tongs, taking care to make sure the pasta doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot. Once the 9 minutes is up, the veggies should be tender, the pasta cooked through, and it should have a saucy consistency, with most of the liquid having evaporated.
- Remove from heat and add the cabbage and vinegar, tossing until cabbage wilts, about 30 seconds.
- Serve, topping individual bowls with cilantro, peanuts, scallions, and toasted sesame seeds.
*You can use regular, non-Tamari soy sauce, but because it is saltier than Tamari soy sauce, I suggest leaving the kosher salt out of the recipe and then adjusting seasonings to taste once cooked.