My very 1st encounter w/ one-pot-pasta was only recently: my better half & I got a food & wine basket as a present from friends containing among others a package w/ Italian pasta, dried porcini, dried Mediterranean herbs & finely grated parmesan. The instruction said: “Put 1000 ml water and 5 tbsp olive oil in a pot or pan, add all ingredients except the parmesan, bring it to a boil and let it cook for about 10 min. Stir once in a while. When the water is soaked up and you think it’s too dry just add some cream (if you like). Serve with parmesan. Enjoy!“
I did as requested & we had a nice pasta dish gaining its flavour mainly from the porcini.
Afterwards I started roaming my cookbooks (bad luck!) & Internet food blogs (success!) looking for one-pot-pasta recipes & experiences on the matter. It wasn’t a chorus of praise nor was the idea pulled to pieces. So I decided to start my own test series w/ regard of the creation process as well as the overall result in flavours, tastiness & good looks.
Today we start w/ a simple pasta dish based on mushrooms & bacon.
What do we need?
- pasta – of course: small macaroni (aka maccheroni)
- fresh mushrooms
- spring onions
- dried parsley
- cloves of garlic
- freshly grated pecorino.
Start w/ chopping the ingredients. (If you happen to have grated pecorino in your fridge: fine – otherwise start grating.)
Splash some olive oil in a pan, press the garlic & add the spring onions & the bacon. Fry the mess for some minutes. Then add the mushrooms & fry for some more minutes.
Now it’s time for the pasta. Just dump the pasta in the pan, add hot water & parsley.
Bring it to a boil & let it cook for about 8-10 min until the water is almost gone. Add the grated pecorino & stir thoroughly to combine the hot ingredients w/ the pecorino.
The pasta is soft (or al dente if you like…), it’s creamy because of the melted pecorino leaving its characteristic sharp edge, mushrooms & spring onions are well cooked, the bacon is soft & fills the dish w/ its delicate meaty flavour.
Don’t forget to serve w/ additional pecorino!
- It worked.
- The ingredients stuck to their flavours.
- Nothing was watery or mushy or overcooked…
- The pasta was fine – I like it rather soft, but I also succeeded in creating a more al dente pasta by using less water (about 10-20%).
- The grated pecorino made a fine creamy finish – there was no need to add any cream or whatever.
I’d like to mention some insights concerning pasta.
I always use Italian durum wheat pasta (w/o eggs) & I’m sure you know that there are lots of forms & shapes. This is the point where it gets a little tricky. You cannot use all pasta forms for one-pot-pasta:
- Stay away from any “big forms“ like rigatoni, tortiglioni, farfalle, tagliatelle, cellentani… – always!
(Unwanted result: pasta is very al dente or pasta is fine, but everything else is mushy!)
- Better choose (short) macaroni, spaghetti, (very thin) taglierini, (small) girandole, ricciole…
In the pot there must be some sort of equilibrium: pasta vs. vegetables, meat/fisch/seafood vs. water/stock. If you use too much water/stock because of the „big chunky“ pasta, the rest may get too soft & loose their flavours. On the other hand if it’s not enough water/stock the pasta stays uncooked…
…& well – yes: instead of water you may also use some stock. Concerning our pasta dish, however, it’s not necessary because of the strong bacon flavour.
…& at the end: there is only the pan to be cleaned!
The businesswoman w/ too many office hours thinks
At first I was unsure about the creaminess because there is no sauce, but the cheese melts & covers & wraps everything. It’s not like any fried pasta, but… I think it’s essential to remove the pan from the heat as soon as you see the melting process starting.
Overall it is a fast dish w/ almost nothing to clean!