Italian Wonderpot

$6.52 recipe / $1.09 serving

Last weekend I got an email from Robyn with a link to this really cool recipe over at Apron Strings. I always love cooking pasta and rice in liquids other than water, so this idea for a one pot pasta dish (which is originally from Martha Stewart Living Magazine) was right up my alley!

This dish is incredibly easy and super flavorful. The pasta cooks in a mixture of broth, herbs, and aromatics, like onion and garlic, which really ramp up the flavor. The starch that leaches off of the pasta as it cooks helps create a thick sauce right in the pot. It’s magic! So fast, so easy, and SO flavorful. I do want to mention, though, that if you’re the type of person that can’t handle pasta any other way than al dente, you may not like this one. The pasta can get a little soft, if you let it cook even just a little too long.

I made a few changes, as usual, to fit my needs. First, instead of using fresh basil, which can cost an arm and a leg, I used frozen spinach for a pop of green and increased the dried basil to make up for the flavor. Second, I wanted more “stuff” in my pasta, so I used a larger can of diced tomatoes and reduced the amount of vegetable broth to compensate. Lastly, I added a light sprinkle of feta over top. Other great ideas for add-ins: mushrooms, parmesan, artichoke hearts, or olives.

I think next time I’ll save adding the frozen spinach until the end so that it will defrost and heat quickly from the pasta’s residual heat. That way the spinach will stay bright green and pretty, and it will not darken the pasta as it cooks. But hey, either way it tasted fantastic!

Italian Wonderpot

Italian Wonderpot - Budget Bytes

4.8 from 168 reviews
Italian Wonderpot
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Total Cost: $6.52
Cost Per Serving: $1.09
Serves: 6
  • 4 cups vegetable broth $0.52
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.32
  • 12 oz. fettuccine $1.33
  • 8 oz. frozen chopped spinach $0.79
  • 1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes $1.73
  • 1 medium onion $0.43
  • 4 cloves garlic $0.32
  • ½ Tbsp dried basil $0.07
  • ½ Tbsp dried oregano $0.07
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes $0.02
  • freshly cracked pepper to taste $0.05
  • 2 oz. feta cheese $0.87
  1. Add four cups of vegetable broth to a large pot. Break the fettuccine in half to make stirring easier later, and then add it to the pot. Also add the canned tomatoes (undrained), olive oil, frozen spinach, onion (thinly sliced), garlic (thinly sliced), basil, oregano, red pepper, and some freshly cracked black pepper.
  2. Make sure the ingredients are submerged under the liquid, place a lid on top of the pot, and then turn the heat on to high. Allow the pot to come up to a full, rolling boil over high heat then remove the lid and turn the heat down to medium.
  3. Allow the pot to continue to boil over medium heat, without a lid, for 10-15 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Stir the pot every few minutes as it cooks to prevent the pasta from sticking to the bottom, but avoid over stirring which can cause the pasta to become sticky and mushy. The pot must be boiling the entire time.
  4. After the pasta is cooked, crumble the feta cheese over top and serve.


Italian Wonderpot

Step by Step Photos

vegetable bouillonStart with four cups of vegetable broth. I use Better Than Bouillon soup base for all of my broths because it is much less expensive than boxed or canned broths and I can make any amount needed. These little jars last forever in the refrigerator, too, so it’s there whenever you need it. And no, I am not being paid to endorse it. :)

pasta vegetablesThen add this to the pot. I used half a bag, or 8 oz., of frozen spinach. I like to use the kind that is frozen loose in a bag because I don’t even have to bother thawing it, as opposed to the kind that is frozen in a block. Thinly slice the onion and garlic cloves. Add the entire can of tomatoes, juice included. I broke the fettuccine in half before adding it, so that it would be easier to stir later on.

herbsAlso add your herbs and spices. A half tablespoon each of basil and oregano, just a dash (about 1/4 tsp) of crushed red pepper flakes, and as much freshly ground pepper as you’d like. If you haven’t started to use a pepper grinder yet, you need to. The flavor is worlds away from pre-ground black pepper. These little disposable McCormmick pepper grinders are only about $3 and it lasts quite a while.

Italian Wonderpot - Budget BytesOkay, now that everything is in your pot, you’re ready to start cooking. Push everything down so that it’s submerged, place a lid on top, and then bring it up to a rolling boil over high heat.

boilingOnce it reaches a full, rolling boil, you can remove the lid, turn the heat down to medium, and give it a stir. Make sure it’s still bubbling away when you turn the heat down. It needs to continue boiling for this to work. Let it boil for 10-15 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked and most of the liquid has been absorbed or evaporated. Only stir once every few minutes to keep the pasta from sticking. Over stirring it can make the pasta overly mushy and sticky.

cooked wonder potAnd then it’s done and it tastes amazing! Cool, huh?

fetaWhenever I buy a block of feta, I go ahead and cut it into four equal pieces so that I already have 2 oz. portions ready to go. I keep the rest in a resealable plastic container in my fridge. Because feta is so potent, you really only need a little to add a lot of flavor!

Italian WonderpotIt deserves a cape for being so amazing. That bowl was gone in 60 seconds.




  1. Lynnette S. says:

    Once again, you didn’t fail me =) I did read some reviews first (as always). and did adjust the recipe (something else I pretty much always do). However, one should NEVER complain about a recipe if they alter it!! Okay, here goes…I diced up a couple of chicken breasts, and browned in pot first. Then I add all the other stuff…I used fresh spinach and basil, I only had beef stock (I also love the Better Than Bouillon) so that is what I used. I read a bland statement, and new that would never work for me…so, I used fire roasted tomatoes (the salsa ready kind). I also cubed up 3 small zucchini and tossed in. I went with parmesan cheese. Other than those alterations, I followed the recipe ;-) It was YUMMY!

  2. calvin says:

    AWESOME dish that’s easy to make, easy on the wallet, and perfect for a college student!

  3. Stacy says:

    I made this tonight and it was fabulous! Made a few adjustments to what I had on hand. Chicken broth instead of veggie broth, used a 10oz package of spinach instead of 8 oz. I also added in a can of drained mushrooms. At the end the “sauce” was a little loose so I threw in 4 oz of cream cheese I had in the fridge. It tightened it up and made it creamy. My husband went crazy! :)

  4. Rebecca says:

    Normally I love everything on this website but I found this pasta to be rely bland and tasteless… will try adding meat next time

  5. Margo says:

    This looks delicious and I really want to try it, but have a question first. My husband simply will not touch feta or blue cheese -and I was wondering what might be a good substitute. Maybe fresh grated parmesan? He loves monterey jack, maybe a sprinkle of that? Any suggestions?

    • I think Parmesan would be best. :) The only reason I didn’t use Parmesan to begin with is because I wanted this recipe to be vegetarian (Parmesan uses enzymes from the stomachs of cattle).

      • Margo says:

        Thank You Beth! We aren’t vegans or even vegetarians, but trying to eat healthier and this looked so good I went ahead and made it last night. I used parmesan and he used an italian blend. Both were delicious! I didn’t have any veggie broth so I used low sodium chicken broth, and I also subbed whole wheat linguine for the fettucine. I went ahead and used the whole box which I think was 13.5 oz.
        I believe your measurements are spot on because I ended up pouring in some v8 toward the end to keep the right consistency. We sprinkled on some green onions and devoured it.
        I made chicken with it last night and a salad. We ate way too much!! Next time I think it will be the main dish with some added italian sausage added in. Small salad and a roll – Yumm
        Really appreciate the recipe! Hubby says put it in the regular rotation. He cooks for a big bunch of guys at the firehouse and he knows food pretty well. We were thinking it would be good to cook for the guys at the station, but he would have to triple the batch and I don’t think it would work with that big of a pot…lol.
        Anyway thanks again. It’s a keeper!

  6. Ashley says:

    Quick and delicious! We added shrimp and it was loved by everyone!! Next time… Trying chicken!

  7. Wonderful receive. Easy and within my budget!!! Thank you for making Tuesday dinner delicious!

  8. Michelle says:

    I just made this dish. Once finished boiling, I still had a lot of liquid in the pout, so I ended up just taking the pasta, spinach and tomatoes (along with a little liquid) out and serving it in a bowl. Not sure what I did wrong. Maybe not enough pasta? It tastes good, so I’ll try it again with more pasta.

  9. Lori says:

    I don’t often write reviews, but this recipe is amazing! I used fresh tomatoes, spinach, onions, mushrooms, basil, and whole wheat spaghetti. I forgot the garlic, but we didn’t even miss it. I also added turkey meatballs. I love that this all cooks in one pot, and you can toss in whatever you have! I’m not a feta fan, but it really added to this meal. Thank you!

  10. I think I would add kale for the greens. My family would love this.

  11. Delicious! I added chicken, which I sauted with onion and garlic w evoo before adding the rest of the ingredients..Full of flavor ..very easy :)

  12. I have made this several times and have had great results each time. The last time I made it I had some left over Italian meat balls and added them to the bowl for a bit of a change and found the next level for this great dish. My daughter has added spotted prawns and loves it.

  13. I made this last night and it was awesome! I’m not the greatest cook and it was delicious (and reheated well). Definitely going to add to the rotation and customize with whatever is in the fridge.

  14. Brit says:

    Delicious and easy! I made this with spaghetti and just cooked it for 7 minutes instead. I used one can of Italian diced tomatoes and one of hot diced tomatoes.

    So delicious! My one year old loved it too!

  15. This is really good. I can see adding your own twist with other veg or pastas. I used whole weat spaghetti because I didn’t have any fettuccine, chicken broth because I didn’t have vegetable, and it was quite amazing. No feta because I am lactose intolerant, and it was still quite good!! I think I will definitely be making this again.

  16. Konrad says:

    This turned out really good! Only cost around $9 AUD in total (including $2 for tried basil packet that I can use in future). I got 4 portions out of it, had it for dinner two nights in a row, still good! You yanks are getting stung for diced tomatoes! At coles they’re 90 cents (less than $0.80 USD), might be worth buying in bulk?

  17. Sophie says:

    hi there, thanks for this recipe. I love that it can cook everything all at once. What would you recommend if I want to put something unvegetarian in it like chicken, beef or seafood? Can I just chuck it in

    • I think I’d sauté the meat in the bottom of the pot first before adding the other ingredients, as opposed to letting it boil in the broth to cook. I think you’d get a better texture that way.

  18. My name? says:

    I posted too fast, sorry about double commenting. I did a back-of-envelope cost calculation and it turned out to be more expensive for me. Diced tomatoes turned out to be 3 bucks for the 2 14-oz cans I used (not bad), but I paid a lot more for spinach (x4) and onions (x6). To be fair I shouldn’t have bought chopped onions out of laziness. I’ll be smarter next time and add less of the expensive stuff once I figure out how to navigate Wegman’s. Pasta is cheaper though so I got more and rounding spices/oil down to a total of 0.50, I got a total of ~$12 for 6 servings.

    Oh, I’m not complaining at all. I’d pay $12 for one serving of pasta at a cheaper Italian place here, and might not even like it. This was so good!

    Also I put this other comment as I forgot to give you five stars.

  19. My name? says:

    I made this today and it was so good! As easy as Ramen to make (just put everything in!) and I have like 5 servings left, looks like it’s dinner for the entire week! I haven’t cooked in a long time (actually, ever), and this is a great start to my new kitchen. xoxo

  20. Kalpana says:

    Another great recipe. Thank you. It’s so flexible so I made a few changes; fresh spinach, fire roasted tomatoes, fresh basil, penne and Parmesan cheese. It was so tasty and easy to make. Next time I might try it with whole wheat pasta so there’s no less chance of mushiness.

  21. This is a very good dish! TFS.

  22. Jason says:

    This dish was amazing and so quick/easy to make. I recommend adding some mushrooms and zucchini (towards the end). Love your site!

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