One-Pot Wonders: A Simple Recipe for Busy Weeknights

For many people, weeknights are so busy that it has to be either a simple recipe or takeout. For those one-pot recipes are literally wonders!

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The recipes that require only one pot for preparation from start to end are aptly named one-pot wonders. This recipe will save you the time and energy needed for preparation and cleaning up (fewer dishes to wash!) and is also very simple to prepare (even for beginners).

For many people, weeknights are so busy that it has to be either a simple recipe or takeout. If you are barely squeezing in time for home workouts and do not want to ruin your fitness goals with greasy takeout food (or food that you cannot even be sure of the ingredients and how it fits into your nutritional plans), then this recipe is your solution.

Whether you are a student trying to satisfy hunger pangs, a working professional with not much time to prepare an elaborate meal, or even a mother looking for a quick fix for dinner, this one-pot wonder is just right for you.

Serves: 2


250 grams spaghetti
2½  cups of water (or vegetable/meat/chicken stock)
4 tbsp olive oil or any vegetable oil
1 medium onion (diced or sliced)
150 gms (about 1½ cups) cherry tomatoes (halved) or large tomatoes (diced)
3 cloves of garlic (minced)
Some fresh basil
Salt and pepper (to taste)
½  tsp red chilli flakes (optional)
1 tsp mixed dried herbs
½  cup grated cheese (Cheddar/mozzarella/parmesan)

Recommended but optional:
Shredded carrots (¼ cup)
2-3 smoked sausages (sliced) 
Frozen peas (2 tbsp)
Frozen corn (2 tbsp)

Preparation - 8 minutes

Slice or chop the ingredients (the onions, tomatoes, carrots, and sausages). Mince the garlic and grate the cheese. Break the spaghetti to make them easy to submerge while cooking.

Finishing the one-pot wonder pasta: 12 Minutes

Heat the oil in a wide pot/skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent. Add in the minced garlic and saute until fragrant. If you are using sausages or other vegetables, now is the time to add them in. Saute for 2 minutes. Also add in the tomatoes, salt, pepper, and water (or stock). Let it come to a boil. This is where you add in the spaghetti and let it cook for 8-10 minutes. Stir occasionally.

The starch from the spaghetti will combine with the liquid to form a richer sauce. Do not be tempted to cook for longer. The spaghetti will absorb the remaining liquid and flavour. Switch off the flame and add the grated cheese and basil. Season with extra salt and pepper if required. You could skip the grated cheese and add some cubed or crumbled feta cheese. Garnish with some basil, mixed dried herbs, and chilli flakes. Serve hot!

One-Pot Wonders: A Simple Recipe for Busy Weeknights: frequently asked questions

What makes this recipe suitable for busy weeknights?

This recipe does not call for extensive preparation of ingredients. It is a very flexible and versatile recipe. The ingredients used can easily be swapped out for others. The basic version can easily be made with the ingredients already available in your pantry. 

Can I substitute spaghetti with other types of pasta?

Yes, but the cooking time and water requirement will vary slightly.

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