Magazine article Sunset

One-Pan Pastas: Cook Noodles Right in Their Sauce for a Lot of Flavor and Little Work

Magazine article Sunset

One-Pan Pastas: Cook Noodles Right in Their Sauce for a Lot of Flavor and Little Work

Article excerpt

Nothing turns dinner into a chore like a sink full of pots. Even for supposedly simple pasta, most recipes have you boil the noodles in one pan and make the sauce in another. But you can simplify the process by starting the sauce, then adding the dry pasta and finishing them together. Besides the obvious advantage of reducing the pan count (you won't even need a strainer), this method packs the noodles with flavor.

These two recipes start with a broth-and-wine cooking liquid seasoned with lemon, then each takes on a distinct personality from a variety of simple additions--herbs, vegetables, seafood, chicken, or cheese. You have ultimate control over the sauciness (so to speak) of the final results; you can add more broth after the pasta is cooked. If you create a soupy supper, don't forget crusty bread for soaking up the juices.

Chicken Fettuccine with Mushroom Brie

PREP AND COOK TIME: About 30 minutes

MAKES: 4 servings

NOTES: For deeper mushroom flavor, stir hot mushroom slices sauteed in butter (see page 88) into the pasta, or spoon them over the top as a garnish.

2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups fat-skimmed chicken broth
    2 cups dry white wine such as Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc
  1/2 cup whipping cream
    1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
  1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
      About 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon hot chile flakes
    8 ounces mushroom-flavored brie cheese
   12 ounces dried fettuccine
    2 cups coarsely shredded cooked chicken (8 oz.)
      Grated parmesan cheese
      About 1 cup watercress leaves, rinsed and drained

1. In a 4- to 5-quart pan, combine 2 1/2 cups chicken broth, wine, whipping cream, lemon peel, fennel, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and chile flakes to taste. Bring to a boil over high heat and boil, uncovered, 2 to 3 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, with a sharp knife, trim rind from brie and finely chop (rind adds flavor, but discard if you like). Cut brie into about 1/2-inch chunks.

3. Add fettuccine to pan, pushing it down into boiling liquid. Simmer, uncovered, stirring often, until pasta is tender to bite, 8 to 10 minutes. Add chopped brie rind (if using) and chicken and stir to blend. Stir in chunks of brie. Remove pasta from heat and let stand, uncovered, 5 to 8 minutes, stirring often to make sure all the cheese melts (the rind won't melt). If you want saucier pasta, add up to 1 cup more broth and stir over high heat until steaming.

4. With tongs or two forks, lift pasta into wide soup bowls; spoon remaining sauce over the top. …

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