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No Need to Boil Pasta Separately: Al Dente “One Pot Spaghetti” with Fresh Lemon Zest, and Spinach or Kale

I’ve made this recipe twice now, and my fiancé  would probably eat the whole pan by himself if I wasn’t there.  Actually, I take that back.  He ate half the pan by himself when I put the leftovers in the fridge for the next night.

This is a “one-pot-spaghetti-recipe” from the New York Times.  Technically, it’s two pots, because you have to boil water 🙂  I get what they’re saying though, since you don’t have to wash the first pan, after only using it to boil water.  What makes this recipe really different, is that you do not boil the pasta separately!  I really like the way this comes out, because I think the flavors are more developed.  It tastes less like pasta and sauce, and more like pasta infused with sauce.  I also love the fact that the pasta tastes more al dente than when I boil it separately, and combine it with sauce.  The lemon zest really gives this a fresh and healthy flavor, and it doesn’t taste like the pasta is about to weigh you down into the couch!

First step is to boil a little water. Then you throw it into your “one pan” of ingredients. Spaghetti, halved grape/cherry tomatoes, lemon zest, and I like to add dried oregano and basil.

Here’s the primary before everything starts cooking:Throw in the spinach after you’re done cooking. Here’s the spinach all mixed in.  This is the final product! Serve and enjoy!

One-Pot Spaghetti (Recipe fully reprinted from the NYTimes)

  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 1 pound cherry tomatoes, halved (about 2 pints)
  • 2 lemons, zested
  • ¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 bunch kale or spinach, leaves only, washed and chopped
    • [Note: I am lazy and buy pre-washed/pre-chopped kale or spinach.  For the spinach, I even use the the baby spinach that pre-washed for salad–it’s excellent!
  •  Salt and pepper, to taste
  •  Parmesan, for serving


  1.  Bring just over a quart of water to a boil. Meanwhile, place spaghetti, tomatoes, lemon zest, oil and salt in a large, dry, shallow pan. (The pan should be large enough that the dry spaghetti can lie flat.)  [Note: I don’t have a pan that’s big enough for the spaghetti to lie flat, so I just break it in half!  This is also where I add dried oregano and dried basil.  You can also use fresh oregano and/or basil, but I don’t generally have it on hand.]
  2. Add the hot water to the pan with the spaghetti. Cover pan, and bring up to a boil. Remove lid and simmer for about 6 minutes, using tongs to move the spaghetti around now and then so it doesn’t stick. Add kale or spinach and continue cooking until remaining liquid has reduced to a sauce and the pasta is cooked through. Taste, season and top with cheese.

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