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 129 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. Cheryl says:

    I made this tonight. Great hit! I used chicken broth added fresh sliced mushrooms ,fresh basil & I had some leftover meat sauce as an after thought. Everything else was as recipe called for. It was wonderful & so easy. Leftovers for lunches, this a winner!!!! Served with garlic toast.

  2. Deborah M says:

    We don’t like the texture of whole tomatoes, and tend towards sauce or juice in most recipes instead. Would you sub 2.5 cups of juice for the 28 ounce can of diced? I’d think about a 14 ounce can of sauce, and maybe a can of water, if going that route?

    • Hmmm, it’s hard to say because I’m not sure how much of the can of diced tomatoes is solid and how much is actually liquid. But I guess I’d estimate half and half? In that case I’d do two cups (or slightly less) of tomato juice or sauce as a replacement.

      • Deborah M says:

        The “how much is tomato, and how much is liquid” question is one I cannot find addressed on the web. I was really hoping you’d know! sigh. back to playing around with them.

        I ended up using 1 can of sauce, because that was all I had, and it was an 8 ounce can, not a 16. I rinsed the can and dumped in an additional 8 ounces of water. The result was it worked… there wasn’t too much water, at the end of the recipe. But it was a bit light on tomato. Next time, I think I’d like to do 2 cans of sauce. Or think ahead enough to get some juice out of the freezer, as that would also be very good.

    • Cheryl says:

      I used diced tomatoes 28 oz can & it worked fine. This recipe really is very flexible

  3. Melody says:

    First off, let me say this turned out amazing! I modified it a touch due to using Beef Broth instead of Vegetable Broth being that is all I had. Also on a whim I added Shrimp just before things were done cooking. This was hands down one of the best meals I have made to date! I will absolutely be making this again, my husband and son have already asked when I plan to make this again!

  4. bn macpherson says:

    I just had my version of this for lunch…I’m allergic to the spices so I used “Indian” spices…also delicious!!

  5. Cindy says:

    I’m planning on making this but with whole wheat spaghetti. Will the specified amounts of liquid from the broth, canned tomatoes, and frozen spinach be enough?

  6. G. Murphy says:

    Love the idea of the Italian Wonderpot. Was thinking of using my electric pressure cooker. I do believe it would only take about 5 minutes cooking time. That’s the time I use for pasta. Also think I just might add some cooked chicken to the end product & let it sit for about 5 minutes. I seems this is one of those recipes with limitless imagination. Thanks I do love the site.

  7. This was the first recipe of yours that I made since discovering your site. It was easy to make and my family of three loved it. I added artichokes as a bonus and since I only had thin spaghetti, I used it instead of linguine. My son didn’t know it called for linguine and suggested that the only change he would make was to use thicker noodles. Go figure. lol I had a bag of fresh spinach that was on its last legs that went into this recipe. I’m so glad it didn’t go to waste. The feta really rounded out this flavorful dish. Thank you so very much for all of the great recipes you offer on your blog. I had been in a serious cooking rut but you’ve brought me out of it, and you are saving me money too! Thank you Beth!!

  8. Heather Womack says:

    Absolutely amazing!!! I made this for dinner tonight and everyone in my family scarfed it down in less than 5 minutes. I made it just as described on here and this will definitely become a staple in my dinner rotation. Can’t wait to take this to lunch tomorrow. Smells delicious while cooking too, and soooo easy!

  9. Britany says:

    When would you add frozen meatballs?

    • If they’re pre-cooked frozen, you can add them in the beginning. If they’re raw frozen, I’d cook them separately then pop them in at the end.

  10. Stacy says:

    1 word…
    Ok, 2 words…
    Made this for dinner, cannot believe how scrumptious it is, everybody loved it, said that it officially made the list for must make again :)
    I used thick spaghetti sauce instead of tomatoes (Mezzetta Napa Valley Bistro Roasted Garlic Sauce, super flavorful!), and did not add the spinach. Next time I’m going to add a few mushrooms into my bowl. Love it! :)

  11. Tara says:

    Great recipe! The only ingredient we don’t always have is spinach…I really ought to get frozen to keep, but usually just use a bag of fresh (I like the texture better). We’re adding frozen meatballs to it tonight….yum!
    The first time we made it we were very pleasantly surprised with the taste, we were expecting it to be watery and flavorless (but cheap and easy)…I will doubt you no more!

  12. Perry says:

    Just a quick one regarding dried herbs and spices. Where McCormick spices tend to be ubiquitous but can be a bit pricey at times. If your area and supermarket has a sizable Hispanic population, seek out Bahia products — sometimes found in the Latino aisles. Same herbs but much cheaper. Likewise, seek out ethnic grocers. I have an Indian/Mid-Eastern shop where a 200g bag of cumin has tons more spice for less than the cost of a McCormick jar. Just sayin’.

  13. Brittany says:

    So for the last week & a half, my family and I have been in the middle of a big move, I decided to start homeschooling and I got stuck unpacking everything due to my husband’s new job. We’re still swimming in boxes. It’s not fun! :) Since things have been so busy, we’ve had way too many meals out so I decided to find an easy, quick meal for us. This was the perfect one! I did have to substitute for a few things since my pantry is upside down. I couldn’t find ANY broth so I stole some ramen seasoning packets from a couple of my husband’s ramen packs. (shhh…) I didn’t have fettucini noodles so I used regular spaghetti noodles & I had fresh spinach instead of frozen. I also added some meatballs with it because my husband is a huge meat lover but I’m not. It all came together and tasted amazing. I’ll be doing this again really soon & will probably add more veggies along with it. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful recipe!

  14. Rain says:

    My family LOVES this recipe. In fact, I have an 18 oz container of it thawing in the fridge for tonight! I boil several chicken breasts and use that broth for the pasta, then shred the chicken and add it to the pot near the end of cooking. It freezes so well that I usually make a double pot for future meals. I’m SO glad someone linked me this site last year. Beth, you have practically single-handedly saved our diet!

  15. Kerista says:

    I don’t eat tomatoes. Do you think I could substitute a jar of roasted red bell peppers and it would still turn out well?

  16. Savannah C says:

    Made this tonight, it was amazing. The whole family loved it! I also cooked and added in some sliced chicken breast and olives. Yummy! Thanks so much, we’ll definitely make this again!

  17. Absolutely wonderful recipe, simple and delicious :) every recipe from this site turns out great, I keep on coming back to your blog every time I don’t know what to cook :)

  18. Regina says:

    Cooked this tonight for myself, my husband and my 90-year-old mom, we all loved it. Thanks for sharing it.

  19. Have been making this for months. Love the versatility.

  20. Alicia says:

    This was wonderful! So quick to make and tasty! I didn’t have fettuccine, I use Garden Delight for the extra serving of vegetables ;) and I thought I had diced tomatoes, but they were crushed and it turned out just fine. I will make it again for sure!

  21. Cristy says:

    This looks so good! If using 16 oz of fettuccine how much more liquid would you add? Thanks for the recipe I’m going to try it soon!

  22. Tabitha says:

    Made this tonight and it was amazing! I made the recipe exactly as listed except used fresh spinach instead of frozen. So many flavors, will definitely make it again.

  23. I am SO impressed with your site and grateful for the amount of time and effort you’ve put into this. I’ve bookmarked many of your recipes and plan to many of them over the next few weeks. I’m also grateful that you have vegetarian and vegan tags on several of your recipes.

    I made this one tonight and I think this will be a regular go-to dish for me. It was so delicious and so easy. I did tweak it by adding some mushrooms and salt. I was surprised to see no salt included in the recipe. To me, everything needs just a little bit of salt to bring out the flavor.

    Can’t wait to try More of your recipes. Thank you again and keep up the good work.

  24. love your site! had this dish last night and it was very popular. i didnt put feta or any cheese on it. instead of buying boullion i used this recipe for basically free vegetable broth. i made the broth in my crockpot and it was ready in plenty of time for this easy dinner.

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