One Pot Pasta {Tomato Basil}

March 11, 2021

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One Pot Pasta – a super simple recipe made with hearty penne pasta, vibrant tomatoes, fresh spinach and basil, rich parmesan and pancetta and a seasoned broth. Everything is cooked together in one pot for a flavorful, hearty, and hassle-free dish!

One Pot Pasta with tomatoes, basil, spinach and parmesan.

Tomato Basil One Pot Pasta

Who doesn’t love another easy dish to add to the dinner repertoire? This humble pasta begins with basic everyday ingredients and finishes with well blended, perfectly complimentary and satisfying flavors.

I’ve long loved one pot pasta recipes because they are as quick and easy as a made from scratch dinner gets.

Plus they are incredibly versatile (see more of my one pot pasta recipes listed below).

This easy pasta recipe tastes fresh, tomato-y, and has just enough rich cheese and pancetta to highlight it and build up the flavor.

It’s a homemade dish that’s great for those busy days, and it will make great leftovers for lunch the next day!

Overhead photo of one pot pasta on a large white serving platter.Photo of Ingredients used to make one pot pasta. Includes penne pasta, parmesan, canned tomatoes, spinach, basil, Italian seasoning, pancetta, basil, yellow onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, olive oil and vegetable broth.

One Pot Pasta Recipe Ingredients

  • Extra virgin olive oil: Use extra virgin olive oil here, not standard refined or light. We are looking for flavor and extra virgin olive oil has the most flavor of the three.
  • Pancetta: This is the secret ingredient in the dish that gives it that special something. You can usually find this at the deli counter of the grocery store, if you can’t try substituting bacon.
  • Yellow onion: Chop the onion fairly small.
  • Garlic: Fresh garlic is key to building fresher flavor here.
  • Penne pasta: I recommend using Barilla brand as that’s what I’ve created the recipe with (other brands may not absorb as much liquid or be cook by the same time).
  • Vegetable broth: Chicken broth should work great here as well. Just don’t use water or the dish will be lacking in flavor.
  • Diced tomatoes: You can use standard cut or petite cut based on personal preference.
  • Italian seasoning: If needed you can make your own blend using 1/2 tsp dried oregano, 1/2 tsp dried basil, and 1/2 tsp rosemary.
  • Red pepper flakes: If you like heat double up the amount or more, if you don’t care for spicy food then omit.
  • Salt and pepper: Season to taste.
  • Fresh spinach: Stick with fresh here as frozen will be mushy in this dish.
  • Fresh basil: This is a key ingredient to the dish. I don’t recommend substituting dried in it’s place.
  • Parmesan: Use freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano for best flavor.

Collage of four photos showing steps to make one pot pasta. Shows sauteing pancetta, then onion. Next shows adding liquid, tomatoes seasonings and then pasta.

How to Make One Pot Pasta

  1. Cook pancetta in oil: Heat 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil in a 5 or 6 quart pot over medium heat. Add pancetta and saute 2 minutes.
  2. Saute vegetables: Add onion and saute 3 minutes. Add garlic and saute 30 seconds longer.
  3. Add broth, tomatoes and seasonings: Pour in vegetable broth, tomatoes, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Bring to simmer, add pasta: Increase heat to medium-high and bring mixture to a simmer, stir in pasta.
  5. Simmer until pasta is tender: Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until pasta is nearly al dente, about 11 minutes, stirring once halfway through.
  6. Rest off heat: Let rest a few minutes off heat, add another splash of broth if needed.
  7. Add cheese and greens: Toss in 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, the spinach and basil.
  8. Top servings with finishes: Drizzling servings with remaining 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup parmesan.

Photo showing collage of four images with remaining steps to preparing one pot pasta. Shows pasta simmering with liquids, then once cooked. Next includes adding spinach, basil and parmesan and last the finish pasta is shown.

One Pan Variations

  • Add a different protein. Cooked chicken, ground sausage, sliced sausage or ground beef would be tasty options.
  • Try with sautéed vegetables such as mushrooms, asparagus, or zucchini.
  • Make it extra cheesy – add more parmesan cheese or sneak in another type with it such as Romano or Asiago cheese.
  • Use kale in place of spinach, cook along with the pasta (spinach cooks quicker).

Close up photo of one pot pasta in a large white pot.

Helpful Tips

  • Monitor level of liquid with pasta. If needed add more, every pot will allow steam to escape a little differently so amount may need to be adjusted slightly.
  • Stick with penne pasta. Other might not work as well in this specific recipe.
  • Don’t skip tossing halfway through for even cooking.
  • Cook to al dente for a perfect bite.
  • Use good quality olive oil and finish with extra, it improves the overall flavor of the dish.

One Pot Tomato Basil Pasta shown in individual serving bowls.

More One Pot Pasta Recipes

 

One Pot Pasta with tomatoes, basil, spinach and parmesan.
4.5 from 2 votes

One Pot Pasta Recipe {Tomato Basil}

A super simple dinner made with hearty penne pasta, vibrant tomatoes, fresh spinach and basil, rich parmesan and pancetta and a seasoned broth. Everything is cooked together in one pot for a flavorful, hearty, and hassle-free dish!
Servings: 6
Prep15 minutes
Cook30 minutes
Ready in: 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 3 oz. pancetta, diced into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 1/4 cups chopped yellow onion (1 medium)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp minced fresh garlic (4 cloves)
  • 2 3/4 cups vegetable broth, or more as needed
  • 1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional for heat)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 oz. (3 3/4 cups) penne pasta (tested with Barilla)
  • 1 1/2 cups (1.5 oz) chopped fresh spinach
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 cup (2.2 oz) finely shredded parmesan, divided

Instructions

  • Heat 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil in a 5 or 6 quart pot over medium heat. Add pancetta and saute 2 minutes.
  • Add onion and saute 3 minutes. Add garlic and saute 30 seconds longer.
  • Pour in vegetable broth, tomatoes, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Increase heat to medium-high and bring mixture to a simmer, stir in pasta.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until pasta is nearly al dente, about 11 minutes, stirring once halfway through.
  • Let rest a few minutes off heat, add another splash of broth if needed.
  • Toss in 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, the spinach and basil.
  • Drizzling servings with remaining 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup parmesan.
Nutrition Facts
One Pot Pasta Recipe {Tomato Basil}
Amount Per Serving
Calories 447 Calories from Fat 171
% Daily Value*
Fat 19g29%
Saturated Fat 5g31%
Cholesterol 16mg5%
Sodium 894mg39%
Potassium 553mg16%
Carbohydrates 55g18%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 8g9%
Protein 15g30%
Vitamin A 1675IU34%
Vitamin C 20mg24%
Calcium 221mg22%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition values are estimates only. See full disclaimer here.

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8 Comments

  • Angela

    Made your Tomato & Basil Pasta recipe! It was delicious!! There isn’t suppose to be any liquid left over after the pasta is done cooking right? When I made this following recipe to a T, also I did use penne by Barilla, after 11 minutes I did have liquid left over is there suppose to be or is it all suppose to be absorb? When adding the dice tomatoes do you drain the liquid first? Do you use the same amount of salt into the broth as you do to cooking past in water? Either way your recipe was delicious!! Will be making it again & again!!

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      Most of the liquid should be absorbed by the pasta but it should be saucy not dry. If it was on the dry side it could be more moisture is escaping from the pot used and you can just add a little extra broth and that should do the trick. And no don’t drain the tomatoes, I never recommend it unless a recipes lists it specifically. Then with salt really it’s just to taste. I don’t add a whole lot – definitely not as much as when cooking pasta in salted water.

  • Angela

    If don’t have Pancetta, can I use bacon instead? If so do I use e same amount as I would if I were using Pancetta?

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      I would maybe use 5 slices of bacon and cook it though. Enjoy!

  • Katrina

    Loved it! We added mushrooms in the beginning with the pancetta and also added shrimp right at the end. The only issue we had was that the parmesan we added at the end didn’t melt. It got really clumpy and stringy and we ended up actually pulling it out. I wonder if it wasn’t the right type. Other than that, it was easy and delicious. We would make again!