Now I thought my normal method of cooking a basic tomato and basil pasta was quick and easy but, boy, was I wrong. This one-pan pasta is even easier, does not (necessarily) need a single drop of oil and is incredibly tasty. You could add parmesan to this basically vegan dish but I really don’t think it needs it.
When I first saw this recipe on the Martha Stewart website, I thought it was a bit of a gimmick. A bit like a chocolate cake nuked in a mug in the microwave (which may well be delicious, I haven’t tried it). But it was one those recipes that just had to be tried, and I was pleasantly surprised (well, stunned) when it turned out to be a winner. To make a quick yet tasty pasta dish, I would normally fry an onion and some cherry tomatoes in olive oil, boil spaghetti in another pot and stir it all together with a few torn basil leaves and possibly some cheese. But in this case you just chuck everything in a pan with some water and cook it all in one go. The original recipe tells you to drizzle the finished dish with olive oil but I didn’t (forgot, I was peckish) and it was still delicious. So apart from this being the easiest pasta you’ve ever cooked, it could also be the healthiest. Score.
I have adapted the original recipe for two people and fiddled with the quantities, especially the amount of tomatoes (I felt it needed a lot more of them). The only flaw I can find is that my dried linguine did not fit my largest pan, so I had to break it in half. No biggy but I would rather have left it whole. It’s an aesthetic thing.
Although this dish really is incredibly easy to cook, you can’t just turn on the heat and walk away. You do have to keep the linguine moving from time to time, especially near the end of the cooking time, because otherwise it might stick to the pan. Cooking times for pasta vary, so have a bit of warm water handy to add if necessary. I started out with 400 ml of water and added a splash near the end, when it looked like it was all drying out a bit too much.
180 g linguine
350 g cherry tomatoes, halved
½ large onion, sliced into thin half rings.
2 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
½ tsp chilli flakes (or to taste)
400 ml of water
salt and pepper
15 g fresh basil leaves, half left whole, the rest torn roughly
1. Put all the ingredients except for the salt, pepper and the torn basil leaves in a large pan and bring to a boil over a medium-high heat.
2. Boil, moving the pasta around frequently until the pasta is cooked to your liking. This should take about 9-10 minutes, depending on the pasta you’re using.
3. Season to taste, scatter over the torn basil leaves and serve. It’s that easy!