Is One-Pot Pasta As Good As Traditional Pasta?

Ask just about any American mom or dad what they might choose for a quick and easy home-cooked weeknight meal and they might just tell you: pasta. After all, many of us keep boxes of dried pasta in our cupboards. Boil a little water, throw in the dried noodles, cook for 10 minutes, drain the water and – voila! – dinner is served!

Just when you think pasta couldn’t get any easier, one-pot pasta has started to make the rounds on Pinterest. Basically, it takes a few steps out of the already-easy pasta meal. Instead of throwing noodles into boiling water – later draining and mixing with sauces, vegetables, cheese and more – you throw everything into the pot at once.

It’s a one-step meal. But does it taste as good as pasta cooked the traditional way?

Given that it’s Fargo Marathon week – and avid runners might be looking to carb load – I figured it’s  the perfect time to test it out. (I will admit I pretty much carb load every day and the only race I’m running is the Furgo dog run. My dog likes carbs, too).

I chose to try a recipe for One-Pot Caprese Pasta, because I love the simplicity of caprese. The tang of the tomatoes mixing with the fragrance of the fresh basil and the creaminess of the mozzarella is one of my favorites.

The good news is this one-pot recipe really works. I wouldn’t say it’s better than cooking the pasta the traditional way, but if you’re in a bind, this dish proves you can throw all of it into a singular pot and you’ll be none the worse for wear.

One-Pot Caprese Pasta

Serves: 6


4 ­1/2 cups water
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound farfalle (bow tie) pasta

1 pint cherry tomatoes

3/4 cup fresh basil leaves

3 garlic cloves

Salt and fresh-ground pepper

1 ­1/2 cups part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese

¼ cup fresh mozzarella cheese balls


In a stockpot, combine water, olive oil, pasta, halved tomatoes, ½ cup basil leaves, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook over high heat, bringing to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and continue to cook for 11 to 12 minutes, or until pasta is thoroughly cooked and water reduced. Stir occasionally. Remove from heat and let stand 2 minutes. Stir in shredded mozzarella cheese until thoroughly combined. Taste for salt and pepper; adjust accordingly. Garnish with balls of fresh mozzarella cheese and remaining fresh basil leaves. Serve immediately.


Recipe altered from