This Magic One-Pot Spaghetti Recipe Only Takes 20 Minutes

one pot spaghetti
Photo Credit: Matt Russell

by Carrie Havranek

Did the word “magic” get your attention? Or was it “one pot?” Either way, this recipe from cookbook author Anna Jones delivers. All the ingredients (including the spaghetti!) cook together in one pot for a no-fuss, super-tasty dinner that’s on the table in 20 minutes. Magic, indeed!

How to Make One Pot Spaghetti

The key to making this recipe work is measuring your water carefully. Normally, you would cook the pasta in water and drain it, so how much water you’re using wouldn’t matter that much. Here, however, you’re adding a specific amount of boiling water to uncooked pasta and then reducing it to make the sauce.

You’ll also want to make sure you’re using the right pan, i.e. a deep saut√© or casserole pan (with a lid) that’s large enough to fit the pasta lying down. It should be at least 10 inches in diameter and at least 2 inches deep. (We like this one from Great Jones.)

Put the spaghetti (and the tomatoes, lemon zest, olive oil, and salt and pepper) in the pan, add boiling water, and then cover. The pasta will soften, the tomatoes will break down and form their own sauce, and then all that’s left to do is wilt the kale, add some Parmesan cheese on top, and dig in!

one pot spaghetti
Photo Credit: Feel Good Foodie

Once you master the technique, you can riff on it however you like. Here are a few ideas:

  • Add fresh herbs, like fresh parsley, thyme, or basil.
  • Boost the flavor with pesto, or jarred shortcuts such as chopped sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, or caramelized onions.
  • Add some protein at the end, such as white beans or previously cooked shrimp, chicken, or sausage.

Adapted with permission from A Modern Way to Cook: 150+ Vegetarian Recipes for Quick, Flavor-Packed Meals by Anna Jones, copyright © 2016. Photography by Matt Russell. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Random House LLC.

Magic One Pot Spaghetti with Kale, Tomato, and Lemon

  • Serves: 4
  • Total Time:20 minutes
  • Active Time:10 minutes
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Ingredients

  • 1 16-ounce box spaghetti or linguine
  • 3 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Zest of 2 large lemons
  • Scant 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 heaping teaspoons flaky sea salt (if you are using fine-grain table salt, add a bit less)
  • 1 bunch of kale or spinach, tough stalks removed and leaves coarsely torn
  • Parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)

Directions

  1. Fill and boil a kettle of water. Place a large, shallow pan on the stovetop.
  2. Put the pasta and halved tomatoes in the pan, along with the lemon zest, olive oil, and salt. Add about 1 quart of boiling water, put a lid on the pan, and bring it to a boil.
  3. Remove the lid and simmer on high heat for 6 minutes, using a pair of tongs to turn the pasta every 30 seconds or so as it cooks.
  4. Add the kale to the pasta and tomatoes, and cook for another 2 minutes.
  5. Once almost all the water has evaporated, take the pan off the heat and, using tongs, tangle the pasta into four bowls. Top with a little Parmesan.