One Pan Pasta and Meat Sauce


Well, this month and next are just crazy with my youngest daughter graduating from high school and heading to college… THEN my oldest moving into a house with other college students for the next year.  So, between proms, award ceremonies, senior dinners, graduations and parties, that puts my art time at the lowest of priority, don’t you think?  Then add a full-time job to that.  All I can say is I better keep my day job to pay for all the hubbub and tuition.  So, I won’t complain about working full-time anymore… well, I can’t promise that.

Ok, am I whining?  I don’t mean to.. but honestly, once the end of the high school years get a little closer, I can’t wait for it all to be over. I know, I know.. enjoy the time when they are still young and blah blah blah.. well, I’ve enjoyed it since pre-school, folks and it’s time to move on.  There, I said it and I feel better now.

As for “empty nesting”.. well, that’s another story.  I’ll deal with that in September.  God knows, I better like my husband enough to spend all this alone time with him.  Honey, you need to get a hobby… soon.  Cuz, when I’m finally up in my studio enjoying some “bubble” time, don’t come a knockin when my art is a rockin.  Oooo …that felt good too.

So, I don’t have any mixed media art to share right now.. but I do have some culinary art…

What makes me feel better and comforted?   Pasta.  C’mon you feel the same don’t you?

Well, here is a ONE PAN meal that I make that the family loves.  Having the pasta cook in the meat sauce gives is a creamy texture and taste. .. and ONE PAN, people.. one pan.. gotta love it.



1 TB extra virgin olive oil
1 small sweet onion chopped small
1 small red pepper chopped small
1 package of ground chicken
1 box of pasta (rigatoni, shells, elbows, penne, etc)
1 can of Pastene Kitchen Ready  tomatoes (my fav is Pastene)
water – to make up for liquid to boil pasta
granulated garlic or fresh
salt and pepper to taste
basil, oregano, sugar (to taste, optional)

First, this is what I use to chop my vegetables.  I love this.. I can’t tell you how much this has saved me. It’s by Tupperware.  So fast and simple.

Swirl olive oil in large sauce pan.  Saute the onion and pepper until carmelized and soft.
Add chicken.  Stir fry it up until chicken is no longer pink.  Add your first layer of salt, pepper and garlic.

Add the can of tomatoes and the second layer of salt, pepper and garlic, plus the oregano and basil (and sugar, if desired).  Let come to simmer.


Add the box of pasta and stir until the pasta is coated.  Then add water (start with a cup) to the empty can of tomatoes to get the rest of the left over juices and add that to the pan to cover the pasta so it will simmer in the liquid.


Cover and let this simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until the pasta is cooked.  Keep it on low or the bottom will not burn.  You are not boiling this like normal pasta.   If you burn it by chance, DO NOT scrape up the bottom.. Just transfer everything into another pan WITHOUT the bottom layer that’s stuck.

The sauce will be absorbed into the pasta to give it an infused, creamy taste.  Add parmesan cheese in it and on the top if you wish.  Some nice Italian bread (make it garlic bread..mmmmm) and a salad would be a great addition and you’re done.

.. and did I say ONE PAN already?  No separate pan to boil the pasta in and no strainer.


Thanks for stopping by.



About Judy Shea

Welcome to my blog. I'm a Mixed Media/Polymer Clay Artist. I do have a full-time job (not as an artist). My art includes, textural collage works on canvas, cardboard, wood or other substrates using paints, molding pastes, inks, fabric, a variety of found objects and handmade polymer clay pieces. Life/Work balance is what I strive for.

7 responses »

  1. I need to get one of those little chopper things & that pasta looks wonderful. You’ll get through the crazies, somehow we all do but I know now that I’m glad it’s behind me. p.s. I don’t believe in empty nest or many other “syndromes” – I think that’s just stuff idiot tv people make up because they don’t have anything better to talk about so they have to come up with some idea to make people think there’s something wrong with them. I love my empty house & I love when it’s not empty. What I love most is being pretty much able to do what I want around my own schedule (or lack thereof).

  2. Great reply. I’m sure I will feel the same soon enough. Yes, get the choppa. I think Tupperware has updated them since I got mine, but they are such time savers.

  3. Hi Judy, just thought I would let you know I love making my pasta this way. I also do it this way but instead of leaving the burner on while the pasta is cooking I turn it off but make sure the cover stays tight on the pot. Let it set for however long you cook your pasta. I do mine for 11 minutes since I like my pasta not soft but Doc likes his soft so I go for in between. comes out great. Glad to know there’s someone out there that doesn’t rinse the pasta like me. I also cook my rice this way and it always comes out perfect. nice presentation. Gail

  4. Yum! This is a great recipe Judy. Perfect for when E’s schedule is crazy & we’ll need leftovers. Mixing the pasta with the sauce reminds me of the suggestion in Joy of Cooking. They use the two pot method (sauce in one pot, pasta in the other) but then suggest putting the cooked pasta into the sauce before serving. You’ve saved us that step. And maybe I’m just odd but I mostly enjoy chopping veggies, etc by hand with a knife. Maybe it brings out my inner Julia Child ;-0

  5. Thanks, Amy. I do like chopping the veggies most times and especially if I need them a certain shape. Cooking the pasta in the sauce makes it so creamy. Manga.

  6. I made a variant of this pasta tonight. Sautéed onion, asparagus, mushroom & cut up chicken breast. Added chicken broth & heavy cream for the sauce. Yum!

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