October 15, 2015

Capsule Cooking: One-Pot Pastas

Capsule Cooking: One-Pot Pastas - www.LysandraJames.com
For more information about what Capsule Cooking is, check out last month's Capsule Cooking post here.

If you've spent five minutes on Pinterest, you've seen pins for one-pot pastas. They're everywhere! But there's a reason for that - they're fast, easy, and don't leave you with a million dishes to clean. What I love is there are so many variations. Throw in whatever you have in the fridge and dinner is served!

Which is why they make for a perfect capsule.

After a bit of trial and error, I've got the basic recipe down. Actually, it's two recipes - one with sauce and one without. But they work and they're extremely customizable.

Capsule A (without sauce)

4-1/2 cups water
4 cups pasta (or a handful of spaghetti)
Vegetables, meats, etc.

Capsule B (with sauce)

3 cups water
1 jar or can (about 2 cups) sauce
4 cups pasta (or a handful of spaghetti)


If using meat, brown in bottom of large pasta pot. This works well for ground meat, steak, chicken, etc. For shrimp and scallops, use a bit of butter. I used about 1/4 cup and it turned out wonderfully. Season the meat as it cooks.

Capsule Cooking: One-Pot Pastas - www.LysandraJames.com
1/4 cup butter + scallops and shrimp + seasonings
Cook until shrimp is no longer clear.
Drain fat, if necessary, and remove from pot. Keep covered to maintain freshness.

Do not rinse pot! Keep all that yummy goodness in there. Add water and sauce (if using) to pot. Bring to a boil. Add pasta and vegetables. Cook for 12-14 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pasta should be al dente and vegetables tender. The excess water should have boiled off, leaving a thicker sauce. 

Capsule Cooking: One-Pot Pastas - www.LysandraJames.com
It's going to start off soupy. As it cooks, the liquid will reduce down and create a thicker sauce.
Return meat to the pot. Add cheese, if using. Cook until heated through. Serve. Sprinkle additional cheese and/or seasonings on top.

Capsule Cooking: One-Pot Pastas - www.LysandraJames.com
Check out that saucy goodness! Mmmmm....


  • Always precook your meat to ensure it's cooked thoroughly.
  • Frozen broccoli is your friend. I prefer the florets myself. Other canned and frozen vegetables work well, too. Remember, if you're using fresh vegetables, cut them into smaller pieces so they'll cook faster.
  • This is a great way to use up those leftovers. Add the leftover roast from Sunday's dinner and the vegetables from Friday night's veggie tray. Or use the leftover pepperoni and sauce from pizza night.


Faux Lasagna

I've been making a variation of this for years and it's always a hit. I added too much water to this one, but it still tasted amazing. The leftovers didn't last long, either.

Capsule Cooking: One-Pot Pastas - www.LysandraJames.com

  • Ground beef
  • Spaghetti sauce
  • Bowtie pasta
  • Cottage cheese
  • Cheese. Lots of cheese.

Seafood Alfredo

I made this one to use up leftover shrimp and scallops. This was the day before grocery shopping, so I was low on vegetables. You can add some, if you'd like. Just don't skimp on the shrimp! I got in trouble because there wasn't enough for seconds.

Capsule Cooking: One-Pot Pastas - www.LysandraJames.com
  • Butter (for cooking the shrimp and scallops)
  • Shrimp and scallops
  • Seasonings
  • Alfredo sauce
  • Shell pasta

Roast Beef and Tomato

I recommend adding a little butter or oil to the water while cooking, but it's up to you. The roast beef was good, but the flavor kind of got lost. A sausage or strong flavored ham would have been better, but I used what I had on hand.

Capsule Cooking: One-Pot Pastas - www.LysandraJames.com
  • Spaghetti - about a handful
  • Roast beef (or ham or sausage)
  • Tomatoes (I used halved grape tomatoes)
  • Basil (fresh is best!)
  • Parmesan or asiago

Thai Peanut Pasta

This one is thanks to my friend, Julie, whom I love having as part of my test kitchen. I'm planning on making this one soon. I love peanut sauce!

Capsule Cooking: One-Pot Pastas - www.LysandraJames.com

Capsule Cooking: One-Pot Pastas - www.LysandraJames.com
  • Linguine
  • Vegetable broth (replace all or part of the water)
  • Garlic
  • Ginger root
  • Carrot
  • Red bell pepper
  • Green onion
  • Peanuts
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Soy sauce
  • Lime juice

Tortellini and Sausage

Another of Julie's contributions. I love how she's more daring in her ingredients than I am. Where in the world do I find turkey kielbasa anyway?

Capsule Cooking: One-Pot Pastas - www.LysandraJames.com
Look at all that gooey cheese. Yum!
  • Turkey kielbasa
  • Onion
  • Tortellini
  • Whole canned tomatoes cut up
  • Chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper
  • Cream cheese
  • Cream
  • Jack and cheddar cheese

Pizza Pasta

I didn't actually make this one since our house was attacked by the stomach bug and I didn't recover in time for this post. But doesn't it sound amazing?

  • Pizza sauce
  • Rotini
  • Pepperoni, sausage, olives, mushrooms, etc.
  • Cheese. Oh, yes. Cheese.

Your Turn

What kinds of combinations can you come up with? Any twists on favorite dishes? Please share!

And if you try the Pizza Pasta, let me know how it turns out. I'm dying to know!

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