What’s the whole appeal of one-pot meals? The first and most obvious benefit I can think of is, of course, the fewer pots used = fewer pots to clean! I have to say that that is my favorite part of one-pot dinners, since washing dishes is the bane of my existence!!! Okay okay, that might be a bit over-dramatic, but I grew up in a pretty traditional Asian household and, as far as I know, it’s quite common to find that many Asian families that aren’t the first-generation born in the U.S. don’t use a dishwasher. And yes, though its been years since I’ve lived with my parents, the habit has passed on to me and my dishwasher serves as an additional storage rack for tupperware and dishes. 🙂 It’s really only after dinner parties and lazy weeks that I truly wonder why I don’t reconsider this kitchen arrangement, but I guess I can just continue to argue practicality and water-efficiency? 🙂
Anyways, to me, there’s more to one-pot meals than just “less to clean” argument, especially when you think about your typical pasta dishes where the majority of the flavor is in the sauce. With one-pot pasta dishes, you’re cooking your dry pasta IN the sauce so that every single bite, even the less saucy forkfuls, have flavor packed right into them. To me, that’s the key! I always wonder when I’m boiling pasta in a big pot of salted water if the pasta is really going to absorb all that savory goodness, or is most of it (except for the ladleful or so that I put in the sauce) being dumped out when I strain it ? That’s one thing I don’t have to think about with this dish.
The highlight of this one-pot meal is kielbasa, which is a household favorite for me and Dave. We both love it (in moderation) and it already is so seasoned and flavorful that any dish you put it in doesn’t need much added to it. It also goes well in so many different types of dishes from rice dishes, casseroles, and of course, pasta! Mushroom is the other star of this dish, since it’s earthy and smooth in flavor enough to hold up nicely against the kielbasa.
-2 Kielbasa links (14 oz. package), chopped into half circles
-2 cups sliced baby portobello mushrooms
-1 yellow onion, chopped
-1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika
-1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme
-2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
-2 tablespoon brown sugar
-2.5 cups of beef stock
-1.5 cups of water
-1 lb. farfalle (bowtie) pasta
-1 cup of baby spinach
-1/3 cup of chives, chopped
-salt and pepper to taste
- Add kielbasa, onions and mushrooms to your pot, season with salt, pepper and smoked paprika and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Once onions start to become translucent add balsamic and half of the brown sugar (1 tablespoon) and sauté for another 2-3 minutes.
- Add beef stock and water to the pot, season with salt (as you would any pasta boiling liquid), cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add pasta, lower to a medium simmer and let cook for 12-15 minutes, stirring every few minutes, until pasta is cooked.
- In the last couple of minutes of cooking, add remaining tablespoon of brown sugar, baby spinach and chives and mix thoroughly. Serve and enjoy!
Since we used a whole 1b. of pasta (basically a standard box of dry pasta from the store), this dish can heartily serve 4-6 people as a main dish, and even more as a side. It kind of reminds me of beef stroganoff since there’s a lot of warm, beefy flavor from the beef stock, and also, the starch that comes out of cooking the pasta makes the dish very creamy without having added any cream!
Do you like one-pot meals? What are some of your faves?
Thanks for stopping by!