Contrary to what tradition dictates, food stylist and culinary producer Nora Singley discovered One-Pan Pasta during a trip to Puglia, where a restaurant proprietor shared his mother’s recipe with her. She admits that the very idea seemed blasphemous until he personally demonstrated its simple expediency—all within nine minutes.
Nora returned to New York and developed this recipe for Martha Stewart Living, where it took the internet by storm. The key is that cooking your pasta together with the sauce ingredients in much less water than you normally would allows you to keep those desirable starches, resulting in a silky, flavorful plate of pasta.
Classic Italian home cooking is the backbone of my cooking, so this transgressive pasta-cooking technique blew my mind. I’ve made it multiple times together with disbelieving Italian friends, who couldn’t fork the result into their mouths fast enough.
You can also find seven variations on Nora’s One-Pan Pasta here.
Nora Singley’s One-Pan Pasta
4½ cups water
12 oz linguine
12 oz cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered if large
1 onion, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 sprigs basil, plus torn leaves for garnish
½ tsp red-pepper flakes
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
2 tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
Combine pasta, tomatoes, onion, garlic, basil, red-pepper flakes, oil, salt, pepper and water in a large, shallow skillet. Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil mixture, stirring and turning pasta frequently with tongs, until pasta is al dente, and water has nearly evaporated—about 9 minutes.
Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide pasta among 4 bowls and garnish with basil. Serve with good olive oil and Parmesan cheese.