As warmer weather approaches, a refreshing one-pot pasta dinner prepared in a short amount of time sounds very appealing. This approach cooks the pasta in the ingredients that will reduce down into a sauce; it’s a one-pan process.

The components take on a Greek theme, with pitted Kalamata olives, feta cheese, fresh herbs, and tomatoes coming to the pasta party. For the spaghetti to cook properly, be sure to use thin spaghetti, sometimes labeled “spaghettini.” It cooks better if the stands are divided in 3 or 4 bundles and broken in half before adding to the pot, an endeavor that would be considered a culinary crime by some. Your choice.

One-Pot Thin Spaghetti with Tomatoes, Olives, and Feta

Yield: 4 servings

INGREDIENTS

1 1/4 pounds cherry tomatoes, a variety of colors if possible

12 ounces uncooked thin spaghetti (spaghettini), broken in half

2 1/2 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth

2 cups water, plus more if needed in Step 2

1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided use

1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes

3/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives, gently smashed

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

4 ounces (1 cup) crumbled feta cheese, Mediterranean style preferred

1/4 cup packed fresh mint or basil

1/4 cup loosely packed fresh oregano leaves, or 2 teaspoons dried oregano

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

PROCEDURE

1. In a large, deep skillet or Dutch oven that is about 9 1/2-inches wide, stir together tomatoes, spaghetti, broth, water, 1 teaspoon salt, and crushed red pepper. Bring to boil on medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until pasta is slightly softened, about 5 minutes.

2. Crush tomatoes in pan using the back of a spoon. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until pasta is al dente and liquid thickens and reduces slightly, about 6 minutes. (If needed, add additional water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until sauce reaches desired consistency.)

3. Stir in olives, black pepper, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. If using dry oregano, stir it in. Divide pasta mixture evenly among 4 bowls. Sprinkle with feta, mint or basil, and fresh oregano if using. Drizzle with oil.

Source: Adapted from “Food and Wine One Pot Meals” (Food and Wine Books, $34.99)

Cooking question? Contact Cathy Thomas at cathythomascooks@gmail.com

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