Easy One-Pot Pesto Pasta
Spring went and sprung a long time ago but here at LivingNimbly, we still have an easy, one-pot spring-inspired pasta dish that will be on your mind (and plate) well into the summer months. Today, I’m going to be highlighting a flavorful pesto pasta with little cleanup involved.
My roommates pointed this out to me this week: “Jack, you sure like making all of your meals in one pot or pan.” I knew that about myself; however, someone else pointing it out made me consider how it is not as commonplace as I may think it is.
I’ve lived in apartments with small galley kitchens for the past couple of years, and that really had an impact on me. When I cook, I am so used to only have 2 square feet of counter space to use as well as 4 burner stoves that really can’t hold 4 pots. But you know what, I adapted. In recent news, my place here in Minneapolis has a nice sized kitchen that gives me a little more room to spread out.
That story really doesn’t matter much as even after the upgrade I’m still cooking in one-pot, because that means one huge thing: Fewer dishes (I think that is something that we can all get behind, am I right?).
This is a quick and easy recipe, so the post should match because I don’t always have to ramble on about all of the fun I have cutting up bell peppers. This particular one-pot recipe was a little something that I threw together last week. I liked it so much that I’ve recreated it twice since.
Let’s get into it: starting out with pesto. I used this “5 minute kale pesto” from Pinch of Yum. It REALLY did only take 5 minutes which makes it great for a weeknight meal. I also really appreciated the bright roller coaster ride that the pesto took my taste buds on. It uses parsley, almond, kale, and lemon juice which proved a lovely non-traditional pesto.
I made the pesto ahead of time and stuck it in the fridge to use in the meals that future Jack would make with pesto. If you have the ingredients and equipment, fresh pesto is a wondferful addition to so many meals. You could also use a store bought pesto. I happen to really enjoy the Kirkland’s basil pesto from Costco. Use the pesto that makes you happy.
Now that I’m done gushing about pesto, we can get serious about the process of putting together this one-pot pesto pasta dish. You’ll begin by boiling up a pot of salted water and cooking your pasta as directed on the box. While the pasta is cooking, go ahead and chop up a clove of garlic and a bell pepper (you’ll only need half, but you can throw the rest in the fridge to use in a different dish or to eat as a snack while you are patiently waiting for your water to boil). You can also add any other vegetables that you have lying around your counter or freezer. I set aside about a cup of frozen cut broccoli.
Once the pasta has been cooked to al dente perfection, dump it into a colander (have you ever seen the word “colander” spelled out before? me either), reserving a little bit of your salty cooking liquid.
Into your pot goes a tbsp. of cooking oil (I used an olive-canola oil blend). Once your oil gets hot, you can add your garlic, peppers, broccoli, and any other vegetables that you chose to add along with a pinch of salt. You’ll want to cook all of this until the garlic becomes fragrant and the veggies are softer. Add in your pesto, cooked pasta, and a smidge of your cooking liquid. Gently stir together.
Cook everything for about a minute so those flavors really come together. Add salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste. Toss that into a bowl and garnish with your favorite hard Italian cheese (freshly grated) and a sprig of parsley. Viola!
You all know I love giving y’all options. You can also do this with pork products. After you drain your pasta, add chopped uncooked bacon, or pork belly to your pot. Render a bit of that fat out and get the pork a little crispy and then continue the recipe. Then you get a little porky deliciousness!
All of this food, all of this flavor, all from one pot. Wowza! Right? Plus, cleanup is a breeze!
I hope that you all have a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend, if I don’t get a post in before then. I will hopefully have a few beautiful pictures up on the Instagram this week. Make sure to give me a follow @LivingNimbly.
- 2 cups pasta (cooked)
- 1 bell pepper
- 1 cup frozen broccoli
- ½ cup pesto
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tbsp. olive oil (or other neutral oil)
- Salt (to taste)
- Pepper (to taste)
- Red pepper flakes (to taste)
- Hard Italian cheese (to taste)
- Cook pasta to al dente perfection (according to the box)
- Cut up vegetables to desired size
- Drain pasta, reserving ½ cup of cooking liquid
- Heat oil in pasta pot over medium heat
- Cook garlic and vegetables until fragrant and softer
- Add in pesto, cooked pasta, and a smidge of your cooking liquid into pot
- Gentle stir together and cook for one minute longer
- Add salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste
- Top with freshly grated cheese