Elizabeth David, in her wonderful book Italian Food, tells about a time in Italy when pasta was the center of a swirling controversy. It was the 1930s, and a futurist poet named Marinetti said pasta "...induces skepticism, sloth, and pessimism and ... its nutritive qualities are deceptive." Well, the uproar that followed proved how Italians love their pasta, and for good reason. It's readily available, stores beautifully, is delicious, nutritious (despite Marinetti's opinion), and adaptable. There's only one problem with pasta: you need to boil quarts of water to cook it. This step can take 10-15 extra minutes, which, on a busy weeknight, is a lot of time. So let's solve that with some one pot pasta recipes!
Fear not! On the stovetop, in the oven, or the crockpot, these efficient meals use the liquid in the recipe to cook the pasta. Aside from the timesaving bonus, I feel that the pasta actually tastes better prepared this way. While it cooks, it absorbs flavors from the rest of the ingredients. The texture will also be a bit different - more al dente, literally "to the tooth", firmer and chewier, the way Italians prefer. But there is one caveat; these recipes that cook on the stovetop or in the crockpot need stirring. Some, such as Skillet Spaghetti, need pretty constant stirring. That's the price you pay for convenience. But I think it's so satisfying to watch the pasta slowly soften and absorb the liquid, becoming tender and perfect as it cooks in the sauce.
If you are a Low Carb devotee, you can still have pasta. Look for whole grain pastas that are now on the market. Ronzoni, my favorite brand, offers whole wheat pastas that are delicious, nutritious, and full of complex carbohydrates (the good carbs).
Pasta dishes like spaghetti, stews with orzo, crockpot soups, and stovetop lasagna are so soothing and comforting; ideal for a cold winter's night. The rich tomato sauces, tender meats, and savory and nutty cheeses blend with the perfect pasta consistency to produce a feast. Just add some crusty bread and a crisp salad, and you have a wonderful meal in minutes.
Some of these recipes even cook in the crockpot! When cooking pasta in the slow cooker, you have to watch it carefully. The pasta is usually added towards the end of the cooking time. Keep tasting it so the food is served when pasta is done just perfectly.
Go to the next page to get the recipes!