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 113 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. Jaqi says:

    I made this today, and used spaghetti squash instead of pasta. I added chicken at the beginning (fried chicken breast pieces), and added the spinach and squash last. Baked bread in the bread machine. Delicious!

  2. Shannon says:

    Oh baby. This is an amazing recipe. I LOVE one-pot meals (who doesn’t?) and lots of garlic, so I was excited to try it. I used gluten-free brown rice pasta, which is much starchier than regular pasta so I think next time I will add more water as it cooks (and also stir more, because it likes to stick together). I’ve also made this with regular pasta for a friend, and found that I needed to add a few spoonfuls of flour to get the sauce to thicken up.

    All in all, I think GF pasta is actually better in this recipe because of the extra starch, but it was definitely a hit both times. Thanks!

  3. Sarah says:

    This may be further down in the comments, but could you use whole wheat pasta with this? Would you need to change the ratio of broth to pasta? Thank you!

  4. Bess says:

    This recipe was fantastic! It will become a staple in my house. I used mushroom broth instead of vegetable and loved it. I also used some sausage that I had in my fridge. I started out by sauteing garlic, herbs, and sausage etc and then adding the broth. I adding everything else, including the spinach as a frozen block and followed your instructions. Turned out fantastic. Thanks again!

  5. Karen Y says:

    I am so glad I found your site! My husband lost his job a couple of weeks ago so I’ve been looking for recipes that are inexpensive but not full of junk. I made this last night and it was delicious. And our house smelled amazing! Even my husband (who only likes about 4-5 types of veggies, including potatoes) ate it up – tomatoes, spinach, onions and all. This will be in our regular rotation. Easy and delicious! Thanks for your great recipes!!

  6. Iris S says:

    I made this last night for my family and this was a hit. It was tasty and we had leftovers too. I wonder how many calories per serving?

  7. Megan says:

    I have made this half a dozen times in the past month. This is our “go to” on weeknights when we want a hearty meal but are too tired to go all out. So delicious. Highly recommend this dish to anyone!

  8. Just made this for lunch. Didn’t have fettuccine so I used ditalini. Didn’t have spinach, so I added a can of red beans. Then I added about two teaspoons of chili powder, a little salt and about half a tablespoon of sugar. Delicious and SUPER fast and easy! Thank you!

  9. I tried this today and it really is as simple as it looks and it taste great! i added some sausage and used fresh broccoli instead. However, I added the broccoli too early and it was a bit discolored by the time the pot was done. Made a little too much to finish and was wondering if it will keep well in the freezer? Thanks for the great recipe!

    • I don’t think this one would hold up too well in the freezer. I don’t think it would be terrible, but just not great.

  10. Alisha says:

    Wow!!! Cooked this tonight, easiest dish and delish! I cooked it as a side with chicken parmesan (which is very easy to cook also) my boyfriend told me 3 different times how this is the best meal I’ve cooked yet! I threw all the ingredients together as instructed, covered the pot, brought to a boil, but I forgot to lower the heat and boiled for 10 minutes. My noodles turned out perfect! MUST TRY THIS RECIPE !!!!

  11. Marie G says:

    Made this tonight and it was sooo good! Sooo easy! I will definitely be making this again.

    This was so fast to make, I don’t think it would be necessary to make in the crockpot. Just put everything except the pasta in a pot in the frig, and when you get home from work, add the pasta and turn on the stove.

  12. Brianna says:

    I really LOVE this pasta! It has become a staple at my house. However, no matter how many times I cook it, some of my pasta always ends up sticking together and becomes hard and inedible. I follow your recipe exactly. Any suggestions as to what I’m doing wrong? Thanks!

    • Hmm, maybe stir more often to break up those clumps? I’ve never really had that problem. I’m stumped!

    • Erin E says:

      This happens to me with gluten free pasta! You basically have to constantly stir it, but don’t just stir it in a lazy way moving it around in a circle, it has to be done in a way that you touch all pieces of pasta. I wouldn’t stop stirring for more than 15-20 seconds :P Also, I make sure my water is boiling before I put the pasta in. I use to just dump it in there with cold water and let it heat up and it always stuck together then :(

  13. Eliza says:

    Hi! Looking forward to trying this recipe tonight! Would I need to make any adjustments to the water amount if I was using 1pound of pasta vs 12 oz? Thanks!

  14. Carrie S. says:

    I came across this recipe today and realized that I had everything on hand. I did tweak it a bit but was amazed at the flavor. Even my picky teen liked it.
    I used gluten free brown rice pasta, 4 cups chicken broth, as well as 1 can (14.5oz) diced tomatoes with onions and 1 can of Italian style diced tomatoes. I topped it with sauted chicken, grated parmesan and grated mozzarella. Next time I will cut the recipe in half since there is only 2 of us

  15. Truly a “wonder pot!” Everyone in my family loved this–even the kids!! That does not always happen. It was easy and yummy! Thanks!

  16. David S says:

    This brought me back to my Italian grandmother’s kitchen! So perfect for the start of Autumn. I didn’t have any fettuccine so I used spicy sausage tortellini instead and I added a splash of balsamic vinegar and a pinch of brown sugar during the boil. I also substituted maras pepper for the crushed red pepper!

  17. Maureen says:

    Tried this last night and I was super impressed with the results! I used whole wheat pasta, and it was delicious! Thanks for posting!

  18. Fabulous! I subbed chicken broth (only thing on hand) and fresh chopped spinach and it worked out great. My partner wanted seconds and thirds! Amazing meatless meal!

  19. will says:

    I wanted to share the joy of this meatless meal… I had been wanting to make this for a week now getting the feta cheese was the last thing…. everything was already in the pantry or freezer…W O W ! !…Such a wonderful meal…I was wondering ,however, if it will taste the same with gluetin free pasta…?

    I shared the pot with neighbor she called back to rave as well..really a wonder pot meal… I bet this would be great on a game day as well…just add bread sticks…

    I get more great food ideas from this site thank you for this keeper..already printed it three times….

  20. Beautiful. I wonder if this works with gluten free pasta as well?

    • Wendy says:

      I just tried this with gluten free multigrain pasta with quinoa tonight. Let me say this “Don’t do it.” It smells wonderful but that pasta, which seems to always hold up in a spaghetti sauce, turned to a glutinous glob of paste in the pot. I was so disappointed. Will try this again with the regular old full gluten nasty GMO stuff to see if the noodles hold up the next time. I need a beer.

      • will says:

        Thanks for the gluten free pasta note…I have a cousin who goes gluten free…guess she misses out on this dish…

  21. Viviana says:

    Made it tonight and loved it! I added peas and used a different pasta since I didn’t have fettuccini. Will do it again soon! Thanks!

  22. Tasha says:

    I made this tonight for dinner and it was absolutely delicious. I love that I didn’t even need to add sauce! Great recipe, definitely one I will making more often. Thanks!

  23. Wendy says:

    If you just turn the heat off after it comes to a boil, you won’t have to worry about the pasta overcooking. This is how I always cook my pasta and it is always perfect. It takes about 20 minutes to cook but if you leave it longer (up to an hour or so) it won’t go mushy.

  24. Emily A says:

    How would you go about making this in the crockpot? Anyone tried that yet?

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