Our dishwasher recently broke, which has made me realize just how many dishes we (mostly I) use in a day.
For example, I start with a big glass of water first thing in the morning before I make a smoothie. Next comes iced cold brew coffee. When it’s time to make lunch, I’m usually too lazy to go upstairs to get my previously used water glass, so I’ll grab another. In case you aren’t keeping track, I’m up to 4 glasses by about noon. There’s also one by my bed, two in the bathroom, and by the end of the day there will be a larger collection at my desk. I know – first world problems. But now that I’m washing dishes by hand, I’m trying to change my ways. I’ve learned that it’s far easier to rinse and reuse the same glass than it is to have a sink full of glassware (and of course other dishes) at the end of the day when I’m trying to start dinner.
All of this extra dishwashing led me to try the infamous one-pot pasta. It was apparently invented by a French chef and later made internet-famous by Martha. I never considered trying it before because it’s a little too trendy and I’ve never found it to be a big deal to wash the pasta pot. But by now I was tired of washing dishes, and this recipe seemed incredibly easy. And it was (is).
It’s delicious too. Because the starches from the pasta stay with your pasta, this method creates a creamy sort of sauce that wouldn’t be there if you cooked and drained your pasta.
It starts like this, just add water:
I felt like Martha’s recipe lacked a bit of flavor so for my version I’ve amped up the herbs & seasonings. I also added lemon juice, lemon zest and my market-haul of summer veggies. In lieu of freshly grated Parmesan cheese, I made a “cheese-like” hempseed topping. This penne pasta is nicely flavorful on its own, so feel free to use cheese or “cheese”, or skip both. I do recommend adding toasted pine nuts (I forgot to add them before we took the photo) because they add a necessary bit of texture to this otherwise soft pasta.
I had a little trouble deciding on the serving size for this recipe. The final pot looked “family size,” but then we ate the whole thing, with Jack going back for multiple helpings. So I’m going to say this serves 2 hungry people, and maybe a few more if you have smaller eaters or if you serve this with a protein on the side.
Love making easy vegetarian pasta dishes? This Many-Veggie Roasted Vegetable Pasta is another of my favorite recipes.
- 6 ounces penne pasta
- 1½ cups sliced cherry tomatoes
- 1½ cups thinly sliced leeks
- 1 cup zucchini, sliced into ¼-inch thick half moons
- ½ cup thinly sliced red bell pepper
- 3 small garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice, plus 1 teaspoon zest
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 sprig of basil
- 2¼ cups water
- chopped parsley
- toasted pine nuts
- grated parmesan cheese or Vegan Hemp Seed Topping, optional
- ½ cup hemp seeds
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 2 tablespoons raw sunflower seeds
- pinch of sea salt
- In a large pot, combine the pasta, tomatoes, leeks, zucchini, bell pepper, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and zest, oregano, salt, red pepper flakes and basil. Add the water and stir. Bring to a boil, cover, and boil for 8 minutes. Give it a stir around the 5 minute mark to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pan and put the the cover back on. At 8 minutes, test the pasta for doneness. Remove the pot from the heat, stir, and let it sit for about 2 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken.
- Make the Vegan Hemp Seed Topping: In a food processor, combine the hemp seeds, nutritional yeast, sunflower seeds and salt and pulse to combine.
- Serve with the chopped parsley, toasted pine nuts and parmesan cheese or Vegan Hemp Seed Topping, if using.