Yes, you can cook this recipe in one pot, no extra skillet, bowl or colander to clean. One-pot recipes simplify cooking, making it easier to put a meal together when time is really tight. I have to admit, I’m usually a little skeptical of one-pot recipes because I’m never sure if they’ll work. This one does! It’s a recipe I adapted from nytimes.com because I wanted to make it a little lighter and more veggie-forward. I increased the amount of zucchini and herbs and swapped out the richer, higher saturated fat mascarpone cheese with Neufchatel or light cream cheese. This pasta dish is light and creamy with lots of fresh summer zucchini and vibrant green herbs. Topping it with the parsley, basil and chopped almond or walnut mixture is a must! It really comes together quickly, about as fast as it takes to cook your pasta.
One-Pot Pasta with Zucchini and Herbs
4 cups (32 ounces) vegetable stock
16 ounces whole wheat pasta shells
3 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch rounds then in half or quarters
6 ounces Neufchatel or light cream cheese
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/2 packed cup basil, thinly sliced, divided
Kosher salt and black pepper
1/4 cup chopped roasted almonds or walnuts
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
- In a large, deep skillet or Dutch oven, bring stock to a boil over high heat. Stir in pasta, zucchini, cream cheese, garlic and 1/2 teaspoon salt and freshly ground pepper. Reduce heat to medium-high.
- Cook, stirring frequently, to keep pasta from sticking to bottom of pot. If the sauce is getting too thick and the pasta is not finished cooking, add a little bit of water. Once pasta is tender, about 11-13 minutes, remove from heat and add 1/4 cup basil.
- Meanwhile, while the pasta is cooking, in a small bowl, mix together the chopped almonds or walnuts, chopped parsley and remaining 1/4 cup sliced basil. Season with salt and pepper.
- Divide pasta among bowls, sprinkle with herb topping. This dish is best served as soon as it is finished cooking. The sauce will thicken as it sits.
Note: For the zucchini, you want to slice it thick enough so it softens but still retains some texture. You can also serve this with a squeeze of lemon or dash of hot sauce. The sodium content of vegetable broth or stock can range from 120 mg to 700 mg per serving so select the one with the lowest amount of sodium. You can adjust the seasonings to your flavor preference.
Recipe adapted from nytimes.com