It certainly feels like time to get back to ordinary weeknight cooking and easy comfort food. And this one-pot pasta puttanesca is a fit!
I love the big flavors from the red chili flakes, olives, capers and anchovy in this peasant pasta dish.
This one-pot pasta puttanesca is simple enough to make from pantry ingredients but feels special.
And it delivers big flavors. That’s the perfect combination for a satisfying weeknight dinner especially when it’s dark at 4 pm!
For this one-pot version, I decided to up the veggie quotient with eggplant and bell pepper. Diced and cooked until well-browned, they add another texture to the sauce.
One-Pot Pasta Formula
For red sauces, here’s a formula I’ve found that works well for one pound of dried pasta in a variety of shapes:
- 28-ounce can of tomato puree
- 1 can of water
- 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
I love using just one pot instead of two for pasta puttanesca. But I’ve found that I need to stir the pot more frequently during the cooking. This avoids sticking and helps to cook the pasta more evenly.
It makes all sense, since there’s so much less liquid. Stirring also keeps me close by so I can taste test the pasta in the final moments so I know when it’s done.
The real gift: no draining the pasta in a cloud of steam in the sink!
I mean, there is a time and a place for a traditional pasta that’s loving boiled and then added to a sauce to marry them at the end.
And then there is a time for a one-pot pasta that satisfies on every level and gets the job–i.e. weeknight dinner–done. And done!Do you have a favorite one-pot pasta? Let me know in the comments below or tag a photo #lynnesforage on Instagram or Facebook.
One-Pot Pasta Eggplant Puttanesca
Diced and browned eggplant and bell pepper lend themselves well to a piquant red sauce in this one-pot pasta recipe.
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 eggplant, cubed-brown well
- 1 red or green bell pepper, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons best quality anchovy paste or 3 minced anchovy fillets (rinsed)
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes or more to taste
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- fine sea salt
- black pepper
- 1 28-ounce can tomato puree see Recipe Notes
- 1 pound penne or other shaped pasta regular or gluten free
- 1/2 cup pitted, coarsely chopped kalamata olives
- 1 tablespoon capers or more to taste
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley optional
- grated parmesan cheese for serving
Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the eggplant and cook until it is nicely browned, about 10 minutes. Add the peppers and cook until softened. Season with the garlic, anchovy paste, pepper flakes, basil, oregano, salt and pepper. Taste for seasoning.
Add the tomatoes along with 1 can of water. Raise the heat to bring the pot to a simmer. Add the pasta and cook, stirring often, until the pasta is al dente, about 12 minutes. Stir in the olives, capers and parsley and taste for seasoning. Serve with plenty of parmesan cheese.
For the tomato puree, I use 1 28-ounce can of whole peeled tomatoes (or 1 quart jar home canned) for the best flavor. I use an immersion blender to puree the tomatoes right in the jar. If using canned tomato puree, I recommend Pomi or Muir Glen brands.
Note that canned tomato sauce is thinner than tomato puree, so I don’t recommend making that substitution.