Comfort Food

A Creamy, Spicy Pasta Dish to Warm Your Soul

February  5, 2018

Remember when that one-pot pasta recipe came out in Martha Stewart Living a few years ago? It was so revolutionary, the idea that you could cook your pasta—no strainer necessary—and build so much flavor all at once. I developed a one-pot vegetarian version for Healthyish, and it ultimately became my go-to method for cooking pasta. That’s one of my core philosophies: Why create a bunch of dirty dishes when you don’t have to?

The story of how this recipe came about almost reads like a rom-com plot (emphasis on almost). One day, my then-boyfriend was over for dinner, and I combined all the leftover ingredients in the fridge to make this pasta. I always have poached chicken on hand, since I make my chicken stock that way, and I happened to have a good stock of fresh herbs. Cue some Aleppo pepper (my favorite way to add heat to any recipe) and a touch of cream and bam—best date-night meal I’d ever made. I’d heard about engagement chicken (Glamour’s legendary recipe for roast chicken so good that it supposedly got a guy to propose), and that night, there was a moment where I thought this pasta might do the same for me.

But, alas. The recipe stuck, the relationship didn’t.

What’s so great about cooking pasta this way is that you’re actually cooking the noodles in the sauce, so they get infused with flavor much sooner and more thoroughly than with a traditional pasta recipe (where you would make a sauce and mix the pasta in right before serving). I recommend using a high-quality brand of pasta—this ensures that each piece stays chewy and intact.

If you like penne alla vodka (and like, who doesn’t?), think of this as its slightly spicier, smokier, chicken-and-herb-inflected cousin. Give it a spin and let me know how it turns out!

But, alas. The recipe stuck, the relationship didn’t.

What hearty one-pot wonders are you leaning on this winter? Let us know in the comments below.

Order Now

The Dynamite Chicken cookbook is here! Get ready for 60 brand-new ways to love your favorite bird. Inside this clever collection by Food52 and chef Tyler Kord, you'll find everything from lightning-quick weeknight dinners to the coziest of comfort foods.

Order Now

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Fen Cia
    Fen Cia
  • FS
  • FrugalCat
  • Sharon Rybak
    Sharon Rybak
Food Writer and Recipe Developer


Fen C. April 26, 2018
you are boiling fresh herbs? and the pasta with the aauce? whole wheat pasta? i can't. for all that is holy, this is not pasta its noodles. my nonna is crying in her grave right now.
FS February 8, 2018
This recipe is seriously delicious!!
FrugalCat February 6, 2018
Amen to not messing up extra pots that have to be washed. And I am a huge fan of short pasta shapes- twirling is an inefficient mess.
Sharon R. February 6, 2018
I've been using pasta this way for years, in fact, I don't pre cook lasagna noodles either!! Wtg!