Introduction: Customizable One Pot Creamy Veggie Pasta
I don’t usually make New Year’s resolutions, but this year I decided it might be interesting to try it out - I resolved to reduce our household food waste and hopefully also simplify meal preparation a bit.
Thus was born one of our absolute favorite dishes: Customizable One Pot Creamy Veggie Pasta! It’s almost like a super-quick pasta/risotto, is an outstanding way to use up any fresh (or frozen) veggies and a few pantry items, and as a bonus gets dinner on the table in about 30 minutes while only dirtying one pot.
I used mushrooms here because we had some on hand, but this dish is great with broccoli, zucchini, bell peppers, spinach, peas - really nearly any veggies. You can also add in chicken, tofu, or other protein; and/or could add more sour cream to make it more creamy and tangy, less to reduce the creaminess, or swap in non-dairy alternatives to make it vegan.
1 tablespoon butter (or oil/butter alternative)
1 medium onion (you could omit this if desired)
2 cups (approximate) desired vegetables (I used mushrooms, but nearly any fresh or frozen veggie works - broccoli and peas are favorites)
3 cups dry short pasta (I used campanelle because I had it in the pantry (and they’re a really fun shape) - ziti, rotini, orecchiette, farfalle, etc. all work super well. You can use spaghetti or longer noodles too, they just make the dish a bit different in terms of texture)
2 1/2 cups stock (I used homemade veggie stock that’s really rich in flavor, you could substitute any type you have or prefer)
1/2 cup sour cream (you can use more or less to suit your tastes, or could sub with dairy free alternatives to make it vegan)
Salt, pepper, and/or herbs to taste
Optional: garlic, cheese (for topping), protein (if desired)
Heavy bottomed pot with lid
Cutting board and knife
Step 1: Prep Makes Perfect
1. If using, cut the ends off your onion, cut in half, and remove the outermost layer*
2. Slice into thin half-moons, then cut perpendicular to create a fine dice
3. Cut your other vegetable (mushrooms here) to a similar size
4. If adding protein (chicken, tofu, etc.) cut it into about 1-inch pieces
* the ends and outer layers are great for making veggie or other stock! Save these along with other veggie scraps (carrot nubs, celery ends, mushroom stems, stems from parsley or other herbs) in a large bag in the freezer. When it’s full, cover with water and simmer for at least an hour, then strain out the solids - awesome homemade stock!
Step 2: Time to Cook!
1. Heat your pot over medium high heat
2. Add butter (or oil) and melt
3. Add onion and stir to coat with butter, cover and cook 3-5 minutes until translucent
4. If using protein, add it to the pot and cook about 5 minutes (until cooked through)
5. Add other vegetable(s) and stir to combine, cover and cook another 5 minutes* until softened
6. Uncover pot and cook 5 minutes or until the onion and vegetables start to brown slightly at the edges (if using garlic, add it at this point but be sure not to let it burn)
7. Add dry pasta and stock, and stir to combine
* if using peas or other quick-cooking vegetables, it’s best to wait and add them later
Step 3: Finishing Steps
1. Cook uncovered 15 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent anything from sticking to the pot and burning*
2. Simmer until the liquid is absorbed and the pasta is cooked through
3. Turn off heat, add sour cream (and peas or other quick-cooking vegetables if using) and stir through
4. Season with salt, pepper, and/or herbs to taste
5. Serve, topping and/or herbs (if desired), and enjoy!
* if it gets too thick or the noodles aren’t cooking quickly enough, add 1/4 cup of water or so to thin the sauce
Runner Up in the
One Pot Meals Challenge