One-Pot Pasta for Easy Cleanup

March 30th, 2022

Easy to make, easy to clean up, and even easier to eat

One-pot pasta: This pasta absorbs lots of flavor cooking in the same pot as the sauce. For recipe, America’s Test Kitchen brings us their tested recipe for one-pot pasta: pasta shells, sausage, peas, and cheese. One pot = easy cleanup!
America’s Test Kitchen brings us their tested recipe for one-pot pasta, made with medium pasta shells, sweet Italian sausage, peas, and cheese. The shells absorb lots of flavor cooking in the same pot as the sauce. One pot = easy cleanup!

This recipe uses just one pot to cook the pasta and the sauce together; no draining a separate pot of boiling water required! This is possible not through magic, but through the precise measurement of the liquid needed to cook your pasta.

There is just enough broth for the pasta to absorb and become tender, plus a little extra to create the sauce. And that sauce takes shape when you stir the pasta – hard! – after it finishes cooking. The pasta releases starch as it cooks, helping the liquid thicken into a creamy (creamless!) sauce.

One-Pot Pasta: Shells with Peas and Sausage

Serves 2 to 4

Recipe note: If you can’t find ground sweet Italian sausage, you can use 1 pound of sausage links; use kitchen shears to cut open the casings lengthwise and peel off and discard casings before adding to the pot in step 1.

  • 1 pound ground sweet Italian sausage
  • 1 small onion, peeled and chopped fine
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/2 cup plus 3 1/2 cups chicken broth, measured separately
  • 4 1/2 cups medium pasta shells (12 ounces)
  • 2 cups frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (1 ounce), plus extra for serving
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice, zested and squeezed from 1 lemon


  1. Add sausage, onion, salt, pepper, and pepper flakes (if using) to a Dutch oven. Use a wooden spoon to break sausage into small pieces. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally and continuing to break up sausage, until sausage is lightly browned and dark brown bits have formed on bottom of pot, 10 to 12 minutes.
  2. Carefully add 1/2 cup chicken broth and use a wooden spoon to scrape up browned bits on the bottom of the pot. Cook until liquid has mostly evaporated, about 2 minutes.
  3. Stir in pasta and remaining 3 1/2 cups broth. Bring mixture to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover pot with lid. Cook until pasta is tender, 10 to 12 minutes. (Some liquid will remain in pot.) Turn off heat.
  5. Add peas, Parmesan, lemon zest and lemon juice. Use a wooden spoon to stir vigorously for 1 minute. Let sit, uncovered, for 5 minutes to allow peas to warm through and sauce to thicken slightly. (Sauce will continue to thicken as pasta cools.)
  6. Use a ladle to divide pasta among individual bowls. Sprinkle with extra Parmesan cheese, if desired.
  7. Serve your one-pot pasta to your eager family or guests.

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© 2022 America’s Test Kitchen. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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