One pan pasta with tomato basil sauce is my idea of a great summer (or really anytime) simple dinner. Everything cooks in the same one pan, you don’t need the oven and you’ll get a homemade meal on the table in under 30 minutes! What could be better?
I first came across the idea of one pan pasta when I started making this lemon pasta recipe a few years ago. And it got me thinking, what other pastas could I make just like this, in one pan.
This is the second recipe I came up with once I started playing with this genius way of cooking pasta. It’s based on the idea that you can cook the pasta right in the sauce. It uses the same method with a different flavor profile.
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Why does cooking the pasta in the sauce work?
As pasta cooks it is naturally absorbing the water from the cooking liquid in order to soften or “cook” the noodles all the way through. By adding the pasta to a sauce that has a significantly higher water content, the pasta not only absorbs the water as it cooks, but also the flavor of the sauce.
Additionally, the pasta gives off some starch through the cooking process, and this starch thickens the sauce making the finished product thicker and creamier than most pasta sauces.
If you’ve watched cooking shows or read enough cookbooks (or food blogs for that matter) you’ll see that most recipes and all chefs tell you to salt the pasta cooking water. It’s normally your only chance to give the pasta itself seasoning. The method I’m teaching you in this recipe is the same concept. The more flavor you build along the way, the more flavor your end result will have.
One of the best parts of this recipe is that you can use any shape pasta that you like.
The cooking time might vary a bit and you may need to add additional liquid as you go, but the shape and size of the pasta does not matter.
Another simple piece of this recipe is that I recommend using your favorite jarred sauce. Yep, you heard me right. You can definitely use a homemade sauce, but then this wouldn’t be such a simple dish, would it?
The last benefit (and why I think the husband likes this so much), is that there is virtually no clean up. One pan rinsed and put in the dishwasher and you are done! Now, that’s a win in everybody’s book.
Tips and tricks:
- Most pasta is sold in 16 oz boxes, but some shapes are sold in smaller boxes. This recipe calls for 16 oz of pasta, so please just check to make sure your box is the right size, or add some pasta to get to the right amount.
- Depending on how al dente you like your pasta, you made need to add a bit more water towards the end of the cooking time. Just do it slowly. I found that for even better flavor, adding more pasta sauce will do the trick as well.
- Want to add cheese to this dish? You can do so at the end. Sprinkle some shredded mozzarella over the top, put a lid on it for a minute, with the heat off. It will get melty and delicious. Alternatively, you can sprinkle Parmesan over the top right before serving.
- Want to add meatballs to the dish? I would cook them separately and add them on top only once the pasta is done cooking.
one pan pasta - tomato basil
- 16 oz. dried pasta typically one box
- 26 oz. jar of pasta sauce any kind will work
- 15 oz. can of tomato sauce
- 26 oz. water just refill pasta jar sauce
- 3 cubes frozen basil or 3 teaspoons chopped fresh
- 1 cube frozen garlic or 1 clove minced well
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- pepper to taste
- chili flakes to taste
- Place all ingredients into a large straight sided saute pan
- Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a low boil.
- Stir every few minutes to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom.
- Once liquid is absorbed and pasta is cooked through, turn off the heat (the exact time will depend on the pasta shape, refer to the box for a guideline).
- The pasta is now ready to serve.
Looking for other great pasta dishes? Check these out, I think you’ll like them!
- Shallot, Snap Pea, Goat Cheese Pasta
- One Pan Pasta – Lemon and Garlic
- One Pan Pasta – Fettuccine Alfredo
Want to make this one pan pasta now? Are you missing some ingredients? Amazon Now can get them to you in a few hours, Instacart can get them to you today. Or add them to your Peapod grocery list and don’t be stuck with out them again!