Food

One-Pot Summer Pasta

One Pot Pasta by Everyday is Saturday

I made this easy dinner the other night…

The recipe was from Sarah Copeland’s gorgeous new cookbook Every Day is Saturday. For her ‘Summer Macaroni,’ she throws everything into the pot at the same time (including onions, herbs and oil). It’s a nod to Martha Stewart’s one-pan pasta, which blew up Pinterest boards a few years ago, and it reminded me of the real magic of the dish, which is how endlessly riffable it is. That and how well it would work for nights when everyone is going in different directions and eating at different times. Sarah’s recipe calls for any combination of summer vegetables — zucchini, kale, tomatoes, broccoli rabe, asparagus, artichokes, mushrooms — but it appears to work with just about anything. Especially after you shower it with a generous pile of Parm or hefty dollop of ricotta. I mean, really, how could that not be great?

One-Pot Summer Pasta by Sarah Copeland

I chose canned artichokes and fresh chard for my main vegetables. If I were making it again, I’d add the chard a little later — after about 8 minutes instead of the called for 10 — because when chard cooks for that long it loses its bright green color. I actually tossed in another handful of chopped chard to the pasta once it was served, and found that the warm pasta was enough to wilt the leaves and preserve the color. I also added butter at that point because: butter.

One-Pot Summer Pasta

Recipe: Summer Macaroni (Not Just for Summer)
From Every Day is Saturday, by Sarah Copeland
Note: Depending on what pasta you use, you might want to start checking for doneness after 7 or 8 minutes.

12 oz. chunky short pasta (such as conchiglie, or large shells)
1 sweet onion, thinly sliced
Fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch fresh lemon basil or regular basil
2 to 4 cups chopped vegetables (such as zucchini, kale, tomatoes, broccoli rabe, asparagus, artichokes, mushrooms)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Grated Parmesan or pecorino romano or fresh ricotta cheese
Thinly sliced radish (optional)

Combine the pasta, onion, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, basil and the chopped vegetables in a large pot with a tight fitting lid. Add about 4 1/2 cups water (enough to just cover the pasta) and the oil. Cover and bring to a roaring boil. Stir, return the lid and lower the heat to a simmer. Keep the pot covered and cook for 10 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes, until most of the liquid has been absorbed and evaporated.

Taste and add more salt and pepper as needed. Sprinkle generously with cheese and toss to coat. Serve warm, garnished with radish (if using).

Thank you for the recipe and congratulations on your beautiful bookSarah!

P.S. Trader Joe’s hacks, and a dinner recipe that’s so good it has a nickname.

(Top photo by Gentl + Hyers for Every Day is Saturday. Bottom photos by Jenny Rosenstrach.)

  1. Stacy says...

    Just made this!! Here are the tweaks I’ll make next time:
    – Made with campanelle and the pasta fell apart. I’d use something with a hardy structure like cavatappi or penne.
    – Used water-rich veggies–zucchini and mushrooms–so should have used less liquid. I’d go with 3.5 cups, and then have water ready in my water boiler just in case. ;)

    The flavors are excellent–be sure to use enough onion and basil! We topped ours with a bit of ricotta, parmesan, and red pepper flakes.

  2. Lucia says...

    Made this last night with basil and chard from the garden, and a frozen veggie blend of carrots, broccoli and snap peas. Added a good glug of rose gone sour. It was delicious!

  3. Joey says...

    Long time reader, first time commenter. This was delicious! I used half a bunch of coriander (I believe you loveable yanks call this cilantro) including stems. A bottle of artichokes, some half olives, a red capsicum, some cherry tomatoes. I was a little worried about flavour so I dropped a tablespoon of miso paste into the water before it boiled. It was creamy and so yummy! My husband topped his with Parmesan cheese and a fried egg. Thanks for the inspiration, perfect Monday night dinner after a long day.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      ooh love the idea of adding a fried egg! thank you, joey!

  4. Gaby says...

    I’m just commenting to say, I hope the lack of comments in comparison to other CoJ posts don’t discourage you guys from continuing to feature food stories and recipes! I love scrolling through the food tab when I need a bit of inspiration. I’ll probably try a version of this pasta this weekend.

    • Emily says...

      I agree!
      I am SO happy to have Jenny, a real food pro, taking over the wheel. I used to find Cup of Jo recipes a bit iffy and skipped right over them (why use a CoJ recipe when I could just go to a food blog or site?), but now I like having a resident expert who’s here to answer our questions and share recipes :)

  5. As an Italian and precious about food (old habits die-hard), I wasn’t sure about this specific dish BUT tried it and loved it.
    The fact though that the recipe includes extra-virgin olive oil and parmesan was vital for me :)
    I can’t live without parmesan and extra virgin olive oil. It’s what I grew up with in Sicily. Great blog! All the best.

  6. Becca says...

    I made this last night. One thing was that 4 1/2 cups of water didn’t cover my pasta, so I added more, and it was way too much. I ended up overcooking my pasta and had to drain the water. Next time, I will stick with the 4 1/2 cup recommendation and not worry about covering the pasta. The vegetables probably released water too (I used zucchini, tomato, and broccoli).

    That said, we all ate it and liked it. I used orecchiette and cooked up some Italian sausage in another pan to add on top.

    • Lauren says...

      Thanks for coming back to let us know how it was! It’s always encouraging to hear from others that a recipe works before taking a stab at it.

    • thedoilydishes says...

      I also had the same issue as Becca… the orecchiette was done before the water evaporated. For reference I used asparagus and zucchini in a 2:1 ratio. I enjoyed it with yeast free vegan parm from The Minimalist Baker (https://minimalistbaker.com/yeast-free-cashew-parmesan-5-minutes/) and I am enjoying it as I type.

  7. Pasta is one of my favourite dish and I love to eat. This is delicious recipe and I will definitely try to make pasta with macaroni.

  8. One pot anything is always the best. Very easy and quick meal. Im going to try this out, it looks clean and healthy.

  9. Jen says...

    So, I read this today and made it tonight and it was bland. I used broccoli as my veg and added a few shakes of red pepper flakes in addition to the basil. I’ll try again but use cherry tomatoes or something briny to pump it up.

  10. maria says...

    how many is this recipe meant to serve? we’re usually cooking for 2 so want to know if i should half everything?

    • Kellie says...

      Just checked in the cookbook- it’s meant to serve 4-6 people. I made the full recipe for 3 adults and a toddler and we plenty leftover for lunch.
      I found that I needed less water than was called for, though. I had added the full 4.5 cups of water and ended up scooping out more than a cup of liquid after the pasta was finished cooking. Also stirred in Boursin cheese in lieu of parmesan at the end!

  11. Hooray for one-pot wonders! I’ve been working my way way out of a meal prep rut so the timing was perfect. Thank you! I’m making 4-ingredient veggie burgers tonight. The simpler, the better!

    • Sasha L says...

      Those burgers sound like a wonder! Can you share the recipe?

  12. Meredith says...

    Has anyone tried this method with gluten free pasta? Typically the water used to boil our gf pasta is kind of murky and starchy at the end, and I don’t know if the ratios of water to pasta/veg would be the same. I tried to make the SK chickpea tomato pasta dish that is a similar method and it was a fail.

  13. Hilary says...

    Can’t wait to add this to the summer rotation! Thinking of trying it with some Boursin, which I learned about here, thanks CoJ :-)

  14. TJ says...

    I love the ‘one pot’ idea, but where does any flavor come from here? Seems pretty bland.

    • Maria says...

      Same. Some olives or capers thrown in at the end would liven it up.

    • Tori says...

      I thought the same. I would use broth instead of water.

  15. I absolutely adore those one pot pasta dinners, never bored of it !!

  16. Tess says...

    I don’t see draining the pasta/veg as a step.. does all of the water get absorbed? or become part of the ‘sauce’ with the parm?
    LOVE how simple this looks!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes, it absorbs!

    • This sounds so delicious and easy. I have never thought to add zucchini to a pasta dish but it’s one of my favourite summer veggies. Going to add this to the meal plan for next week. Thanks for the simple dish!

  17. Linda says...

    Thoughts on using chicken broth instead of water for a heartier flavor?

    • celeste says...

      Should work great. I’d throw in tofu or chicken for a protein as well.

    • Natasha says...

      I do this exact method with milk to make my mac and cheese.

      I say go for it! Do the chicken broth! AND FEAST!!!

    • Linda says...

      Thanks! Natasha, curious what you mean by milk and mac & cheese. Do you mean that you make a 1-pot mac & cheese and that instead of boiling in water, you just use milk? Would love to know!

    • Jasmine H says...

      Made this last night with stock instead of water. It was DELICIOUS!

  18. DB says...

    I used to make this all the time–gotta get back into it! Does anyone know if this pasta cooking method works with chickpea-based pasta such as Banza? We mostly eat that nowadays, and this would make an easy one pot meal even easier!

    • katie says...

      Do you have any tips on Banza? It has such a distinctive flavor and I cannot get my kids to try it. Does it taste better in broth?

    • Greta says...

      Katie, really the only things about Banza are (a) over cooking kills it and (b) you’ll want a strongly flavored sauce. When we make a spicy marinara sauce, really only the slightest texture difference gives away that it’s Banza. The *scent* might be an issue for your kids, maybe? It’s not bad, exactly, just not what we think of as pasta. But pile on a rich sauce and that’s gone too. Just my experience!

  19. Rachel says...

    I have recently fallen in love with this pasta recipe from Smitten Kitchen: https://smittenkitchen.com/2009/05/asparagus-goat-cheese-and-lemon-pasta/. It has you mix in goat cheese right after draining the pasta. I love the ease of getting a ‘pasta sauce’ without actually making a sauce and I think it would work great in place or or in addition to the Parmesan and ricotta for this recipe. I have zucchini and mushrooms right now, so now I know what I’m making for dinner :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yum!!!!

    • Natalie T. says...

      I can attest to this recipe. I’ve already made it 3 times in the last 2 weeks. LOVE IT. SO EASY!

  20. jeannie says...

    This looks fantastic and SO easy! I can’t wait to try it.

  21. Henny says...

    Maybe you can do an article on which pasta brands are really artesanal and made from high-quality wheat. my tummy hurts from the majority of wheat products in the US but this doesn’t happen in Italy.

    • Hannah G says...

      Maybe try looking for unenriched wheat pastas (usually organic products are unenriched, just check that the label doesn’t say “enriched flour.”) I’ve read wheat enriched with iron can contribute to intolerances, and most other countries don’t enrich their wheat products like we do in the U.S.

    • Pailey says...

      I really like the pasta from Baia Pasta (https://baiapasta.com/our-flours/). They do a lot of whole grain varieties using heirloom wheat varieties and make their pasta using traditional Italian pasta making techniques. The only thing is that I’m not sure if they ship since I buy the pasta at the supermarket near me in the Bay Area

    • Corinna says...

      My sister is a nutritionist, and she says that “gluten intolerance” is often our bodies not being able to process the highly-processed wheat that is now common place. Wheat is also the highest in pesticide spray (“round up”). She recommends Einkorn flour, which is in the “Jovial” brand of pasta. You can get it at Whole Foods, if you have one of those. https://jovialfoods.com/product-category/einkorn/pasta-einkorn/

  22. Amanda W. says...

    This looks/sounds amazing. I love any recipe that is adaptable depending on the produce you have, and can be done in one pot. I’m definitely making it this week!