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Nothing says easy like one-pot pastas

By Deirdre Parker Smith

deirdre.smith@salisburypost.com

If you don’t have an Instant Pot and you don’t have time in the morning to load your slow cooker, we found some ideas for one-pot pastas that should keep your family full and satisfied.

With so many pasta choices, shapes and sizes, so many ingredients, there’s bound to be one that works for you.

There’s nothing wrong with straight up pasta, but there are numerous options.

Whole wheat pasta has complex carbohydrates, protein, fiber, iron, magnesium and zinc. One serving (2 ounces, dried makes 1 cup) has 180 calories, 39 grams of carbs, 8 grams protein, and 7 grams of fiber. White pasta has 200 calories, 42 grams of carbs, 7 grams of protein and 3 grams fiber, and no minerals.

A complex carb feeds your body better and won’t lead to spikes in blood sugar.

Brown rice pasta is made of ground up brown rice, and is good for people who have celiac disease or are gluten sensitive. It is also higher in fiber and has fewer calories than white pasta. One cup cooked brown rice pasta has 190 calories. 40 grams of carbs, 4 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein and 3 grams fat.

Quinoa pasta is full of protein — higher than any flour, and rich in iron and magnesium. It’s also gluten free. It is sometimes combined with brown rice or corn to make pasta. Be sure to read the ingredients list.

Chickpea pasta is made with chickpeas, or garbanzo beans. It has fewer calories (190), twice the fiber and almost twice the protein (11 grams) of white pasta. it has 30-35 grams of carbs. And it packs 8 grams of fiber per serving. This pasta cooks in about 6 minutes.

Buckwheat noodles, also know as soba noodles, are typically served cold. They are lower in calories and carbs than other pasta. Again, make sure buckwheat is the main ingredient. Despite the name, buckwheat is not wheat, so it is gluten free.

Easting Well This one-pot pasta uses tomatoes, basil and kale or spinach, with whole wheat pasta.

One-Pot Tomato Basil Pasta

8 ounces whole wheat rotini

2 cups water

2 cups low sodium chicken broth

1 (15 oz.) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes

2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning

1/2 tsp. onion powder

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper

6 cups baby kale or baby spinach

1/4 cup shredded basil

Parmesan cheese, for garnish

Combine pasta, water, broth, tomatoes, oil, Italian seasoning, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and crushed red pepper in a large pot. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Uncover, reduce heat to medium-high and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Str in kale and cook, stirring often, until most of the liquid has been absorbed, 5-7 minutes more. If using spinach, add it after about 10 minutes. It cooks in 2-3 minutes. Stir in basil. Garnish with parmesan.

Forget the tuna casserole with the cream soups. This one is done in just 35 minutes.

One-Pot Pasta with Tuna

3 1/4 cups water

8 ounces whole wheat spaghetti

1/2 cup Castelvetrano olives, cut away from the pit

2 tsp. fresh lemon zest, plus the juice of half a lemon

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. ground pepper

2 (5 oz.) cans tuna, drained and flaked

3 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill

2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Combine water, spaghetti, olives, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a large, deep skillet. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a lively simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the water is absorbed and the pasta is tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat and add tuna, dill and oil. Can use green onions in place of dill.

Creamy Chicken Brussels Sprouts and Mushroom One-Pot Pasta

8 ounces whole wheat linguine or spaghetti

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into smaller pieces

4 cups sliced mushrooms

2 cups sliced Brussels sprouts

1 medium onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

2 Tbsp. Boursin cheese

1 1/4 tsp. dried thyme

1/4 tsp. dried rosemary

3/4 tsp. salt

4 cups water

2 Tbsp. fresh chives

Combine pasta, chicken, mushrooms, Brussels sprouts, onion, garlic, Boursin cheese, thyme, rosemary and salt in a large pot. Stir in water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil, stirring frequently, until the pasta is cooked and the water has almost evaporated, 10-12 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Serve sprinkled with chives.

May substitute broccoli florets for Brussels sprouts.

Ham & Cheese Tortellini

1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 shallot, minced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 lb. deli ham, chopped

Freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 pounds cheese tortellini

2 cups frozen peas

3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth

1/3 cup heavy cream

1 cup shredded Swiss cheese

1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan

In a large skillet over medium high heat, heat oil. Add shallot and garlic and cook until soft, 3 minutes. Add ham and cook until crispy, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Season with pepper. Add tortellini and frozen peas and stir until coated, then pour over chicken broth. Simmer until tortellini is al dente, 6 minutes.

Add heavy cream, Swiss and parmesan and stir until creamy. Makes 4 servings.

Can substitute other cheese for Swiss, such as cheddar or provolone.

One Pot Chili Mac and Cheese

1 Tbsp. olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 medium onion, diced

8 ounces ground beef

4 cups low sodium chicken broth*

1 (14.5 oz.) can low sodium diced tomatoes

3/4 cup canned low sodium kidney beans, drained and rinsed

3/4 cup canned low sodium cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

2 tsp. chili powder

1 1/2 tsp. cumin

10 ounces elbow pasta

3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley or cilantro, for garnish

Heat oil oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add onion, garlic and ground beef and cook until browned, 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the beef as it cooks. Drain excess fat.

Stir in chicken broth, tomatoes, beans, chili powder and cumin. Bring to a simmer and stir in pasta. Bring to a boil and cover, reduce heat and simmer until pasta is cooked through, 10-12 minutes. Remove from heat. Top with cheese and cover until melted, about 2 minutes. Serve with parsley or cilantro. This dish has a soup-like texture.

* Some reviewers halved the amount of chicken broth for a thicker, creamier dish.

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