As with many things, I am late to the one-pot pasta party. On some level, it seemed wrong to me – of course you cook pasta in one pot in simply salted water, and in another pot you create the sauce. Cooking everything together like a dump cake didn’t make sense.
I don’t know what it was about this recipe, originally by Sabrina Fauda-Rôle and featured in Olive Magazine, but something spoke to me. I tried it and after several iterations, have come up with my version of this tasty and easy recipe.
No food waste
The beauty of this recipe is the blending of several different cheeses – four in the recipe, as it is written. Could you do it with three cheeses? Yes. Could you do it with five cheeses? Most likely? Can you switch up the cheeses? Yes of course.
If you look at your typical cheese board, you often have a strong cheese like a blue, a hard cheese, and a soft cheese. When you look at this recipe, compare it to your leftovers and substitute them out. It’s what I did when I first made this recipe – rather than buying more cheese, I chose to use what I had instead. The result is almost a choose-your-own-adventure based on these cheese you have in your fridge.
Supplement from the garden
The beautiful thing about Hawaii is that we have an almost year-round growing season. In my area it gets a bit hot and dry so not everything grows all the time but there is always something to be had. Right now, herbs and tomatoes are available in abundance. Because the pasta is so rich, I wanted to add something that was lightly acidic to add some contrast and tomatoes were the key.
I used cherry and small plum tomatoes in this recipe. It is entirely optional and if my sister were making this recipe, she would leave them out entirely. An interesting thing that can occur is, the longer the tomatoes cook, they can add color to the sauce giving the end product an orange hue. It is reminiscent of processed mac & cheese, but the color is completely natural. If you made this dish without the tomatoes, or didn’t cook them for very long, it would be a lovely, creamy white.
A few notes
- Feel free to substitute different cheeses. In general you want to have 1) a blue cheese (or similar strong cheese), 2) a soft tangy cheese (feta could also be used to give you the tanginess like a goat cheese), 3) a drier, shreddable cheese, and 4) a cream-type cheese or mascarpone.
- The cook time will vary based on the shape and brand of pasta you use. Some pastas cook faster than others so don’t feel that you are tied to the 15 minute cook time. If the pasta is al dente and the sauce has thickened, it’s ready.
- It’s important to let the dish sit for 5 minutes before serving. When you first remove it from the heat it will look watery. After 5 minutes, the sauce will thickened and it will coat the pasta beautifully.
- While the toasted breadcrumbs are marked as optional, I think they are an essential part of the dish. The creaminess cries for something crunchy.
This rich and easy pasta cooks up in one pan and is a great way to use up leftover cheese. Serve with a crisp green salad. This recipe is modified from Sabrina Fauda-Rôle’s recipe of the same name.
1/2 bunch chives, chopped
8 ounces small pasta (e.g., shells, macaroni, etc.)
3 1/2 ounces blue cheese*
2 ounces soft goat cheese
3 1/2 ounces Gruyere, grated
5 ounces cream cheese
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
2 pinches ground nutmeg
1 sprig fresh rosemary
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 springs flat Italian parsley
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated pepper
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, optional
3 1/4 cups water
Optional: toasted breadcrumbs for garnish
In a medium sized pot, layer all the ingredients, except the toasted breadcrumbs, in the order they are listed.
Bring everything to a boil over medium heat. Cook for about 15 minutes**, stirring frequently to prevent the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Cook until the pasta is al dente and the liquid is reduced to a sauce. Note: the sauce may look too liquidy but it will thicken up. Remove the bay leaves and the herb sprigs.
Remove the pot from the heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Garnish with toasted breadcrumbs and more chopped chives, optional.
*You can substitute different cheeses. You want to have 1) a blue cheese (or similar strong cheese), 2) a soft tangy cheese (feta could also be used to give you the tanginess like a goat cheese), 3) a drier, shreddable cheese, and 4) a cream-type cheese or mascarpone.
**Cooking time will depend on the brand and shape of the pasta you are using. It may take as little as 8 minutes or as long as 15 minutes.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Inactive Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Category: Main Dishes
- Cuisine: American
- Calories: 601.11
- Sugar: 8.22 g.
- Sodium: 936.94 mg
- Fat: 31.82 g.
- Saturated Fat: 18.99 g.
- Carbohydrates: 51.5 g.
- Fiber: 3.98 g.
- Protein: 25.05 g.
- Cholesterol: 91.92 mg.
Keywords: pasta, cheese, tomatoes, fresh herbs