One Pan Pasta


12 ounces linguine
12 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes,
     halved or quartered if large
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced (1.5-2 cups)
4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 sprigs basil, plus torn leaves for
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus
     more for serving
Kosher salt & fresh ground black pepper
4½ cups water*
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese



Combine pasta, tomatoes, onion, garlic, red-pepper flakes, basil, oil, 2 teaspoons salt, ¼
teaspoon pepper, and water in a large straight-sided skillet-the linguine should lay flat. (I use a 14-inch, non-stick skillet. The wide skillet also allows the proper ratio of water to cook off versus being absorbed by the pasta, which is critical to properly cooked pasta.)

Bring to a boil, uncovered, over high heat. Boil mixture, stirring and turning pasta frequently with tongs or a fork, until the pasta is al dente and the water has nearly evaporated, about 9 minutes.

*The original recipe keeps the heat on high; I prefer reducing to medium high.

Optional Method:
Stir the pasta regularly enough to prevent sticking and promote even cooking, but not a constant stir which can make the pasta gluey.

Check the pasta for doneness a minute or two early. Also, if pasta is cooked to your liking but the mixture still seems a little soupy, the mixture will thicken as it rests. Conversely, if the mixture seems a tad dry and the noodles are not done, add an extra cup or so of water.

Season to taste with salt and pepper, divide among 4 bowls and garnish with basil. Serve with olive oil and Parmesan.

Different Variations:
  1. Short tubular or spiral pasta (like ziti or rotini) work as an alternative to linguine or spaghetti.
  2. For added protein, mix in cooked chicken (1 to 2 cups) at the end of cooking time. You can also top plated pasta with sliced grilled chicken.
  3. Replace the water with chicken or vegetable broth and reduce the salt to balance the amount of sodium in the broth.
  4. Sauté some prosciutto or bacon until crisp at the beginning, and then remove to a plate and crumble. Stir in once the pasta is fully cooked.
  5. Stir in some chopped spinach at the end, allowing a few minutes to wilt it.
  6. When the pasta is fully cooked, stir in roughly chopped, leftover grilled vegetables.