Note from Kare: Brandy from Nutmeg Nanny is back with this easy (truly) cheesy (absolutely) dinner that’s not only on your plate in 20 minutes flat, but it’s dang tasty too. Brandy’s one-pot pasta method is a bit different than mine, in that hers is way more hands-off, so it’s even easier. Gotta love it. Take it away Brandy!
Confession: When the whole “one pot” pasta thing came to be all the rage I hated it. The thought of cooking pasta in the same pan where I made sauce totally freaked me out. I was worried the sauce would taste too starchy or the pasta wouldn’t cook right and it would turn out either gummy or too soggy.
Good news! I was totally wrong. One pot pasta is the best and here is why:
- One pot people. One pot is all you have to wash after you make this dish.
- The noodles cook up totally fine – I was crazy for thinking they wouldn’t.
- It’s crazy easy and no one wants to spend hours cooking on a weeknight.
This One-Pot Cheesy Pasta Florentine is PACKED full of baby spinach, tomatoes, sharp Asiago cheese and just a touch of cream. Sometimes when you see creamy one pot dishes they are packed full of cheese and tons of cream. While I don’t mind a little (there is something to be said for deliciously creamy pasta) cream I don’t need my pasta swimming in heavy cream. Am I right?
Now, I made this version meat free BUT all you have to do is grill up some chicken and toss it in for the meat-eaters. I have also been known to buy a rotisserie chicken and pick off the meat for my pasta. It’s a total time saver.
Also, I added TONS of spinach to this pasta but feel free to balance your spinach addition based on your love (or not love) of that delicious green vegetable. I have also used baby kale in this dish before too and it was totally delicious!
Oh and don’t get hung up on what pasta to use. I honestly like to use whatever tube shaped pasta I have sitting in my pantry. No need to make special trips for special pasta unless of course you are like me and have an undying love for cavatappi. I know, can’t stop/won’t stop about my love of all cavatappi shaped pasta.
One-Pot Pasta Florentine
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion (finely diced (about 1 cup))
- 2 medium cloves garlic (minced)
- 8 ounces cavatappi pasta (uncooked (can sub another tubular pasta like penne))
- 1 cup vegetable stock + more if needed
- 1 14.5 ounce can diced Italian style tomatoes (plain diced tomatoes work too)
- 4 ounces shredded Asiago cheese (about 1 cup + a little more for topping (optional))
- 4 cups tightly packed baby spinach
- 1/4 - 1/3 cup half-and-half or whole milk
- Crushed red pepper for topping (optional)
- In a large high-sided skillet add olive oil and set over medium high heat. Once the oil is hot, add in the onion and sauté until translucent. Add in the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds more.
- Add in the pasta, vegetable stock and tomatoes. Stir to combine, cover and let simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 12 minutes or until the pasta is tender. If the pan seems to be a little dry simply add a little more vegetable stock.
- Once the pasta is fully cooked, add in the shredded cheese, baby spinach and half and half. Mix to combine and let the heat of the pasta wilt the baby spinach.
- Top servings with additional shredded cheese and crushed red pepper.
- Note: If the sauce is too thick, add a bit more half and half. If the sauce is too thin, let it simmer just a few minutes to thicken up.