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 96 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. Heidi H says:

    I started reading your blog when I noticed so many dairy and egg free meals (we have allergies). I tried this pasta tonight and it was fantastic! I made some changes: I used tomato sauce, not diced tomatoes, chicken base instead of vegetable, 1lb of pasta shells and I used fresh basil from my garden. My three-year-old had three servings! This is a keeper!

  2. Tracy says:

    Ok so I made this tonight and I must say I was a little skeptical of it. I was afraid it would turn to mush.

    I was out of basil which I didn’t know. So I ended up using an Italian spice blend. I also used an entire pound of fettuccine added 2 cups of broth.

    As a side since there are meat eaters in this house I grilled some italian sausage to pair with it.

    I absolutely loved it. Not mushy at all.

    I can’t wait to try the other wonder pot recipes you have posted. I have already bought the ingredients. So tomorrow we’ll be having the spinach and artichoke

  3. umm Helloooo!

    You guys…. this recipe was absolutely fantastic!! I made it last night… I was starved but was already getting home late. hm? what to do. I’d had this one “Pin’d” for sometime now. Why didn’t I make this sooner? This is quick easy and soo good people. I’m telling you what! Even my two year old ate it! there was enough for 3 of us and some for lunch the next day… on to the next. This will be a remake and remake again. THANK YOU!

  4. I am never making pasta any other way again. I always used to boil it in a separate pot. So many fewer dishes to wash! Thank you!

  5. katie says:

    making this for a second time and it is quickly becoming a family favorite. I did add turkey meatballs last time and am adding Italian sausage this time. Great base recipe to make your own with little changes.

  6. Grow your own basil Keep it going in the winter on the windowsill…hard to keep healthy but just get seeds and keep more going. Plant several plants outside in the summer, clip blossom spikes to keep strength going to plant instead of blossoms. This recipe looks great

  7. Looks delicious – can’t wait to try it. I picked this post as one of My Friday Favorites this week – you can check it out here:

  8. Christine says:

    Guys I just made this and it is delicious. I used Rotel tomatoes instead of regular diced tomatoes and — BOOM. Yum. Kick in the teeth.

  9. Tammie says:

    I made this last night and it was devoured! Even my picky 5 yr old gobbled it up! Thank you for this tasty and budget friendly recipe, Im headed over to your other recipes to choose dinner for tonight :)

  10. Meg R. says:

    I discovered this recipe about a year ago and my family loves it. We eat this at least once or twice a month. It’s super easy, super cheap and super healthy. I don’t add the spinach because one out of my four kids is very picky and wouldn’t eat it if I did. I choose to serve a veggie on the side instead. Usually steamed broccoli in the winter and sauteed zucchini in the summer. During the summer I use lots of fresh basil which is nice for color and it’s especially affordable when my tomatoes from the garden are going crazy because I can just sub the diced tomatoes for my own that I blanch and dice beforehand. Makes a fantastic meatless meal and this is definitely my favorite one pot meal. It feeds my family of 6 and we almost always have leftovers for lunch the following day. We sub parmesan for the feta.

  11. Jennifer says:

    I had my doubts about this one… The liquid didn’t totally absorb and it looked like goop, still it tastes really good. I used Parmesan in lieu of feta and fresh basil. This is a great college student dish; wish I had had the recipe 30 years ago!

  12. Great article! We are linking to this great article
    on our site. Keep up the good writing.

  13. Laura says:

    I also added baby portobella’s and drizzled with olive oil when serving. Huge hit with the family!!

  14. Willie says:

    I’ve made this dish several times and it always turned out great. It’s very easy to make and easy on the budget.

  15. Patti says:

    I followed the directions to the letter…it was just nasty! The spinach turned a skimy green and it was less than flavorful!!! We had to put ALOT of feta cheese one it to make it palatable! I will not make this again!

  16. Valerie says:

    Love love love this recipe!! I make it on the regular, and cooked it one night for my parents, and they wanted the recipe. I can’t get enough of this blog, and pass it on to friends.

  17. Ashley says:

    Oh goodness, I just realized there’s about 8 pages of comments with plenty of meat add-on ideas. Definitely going to try adding some Italian sausage. Sorry about that! Thanks again! :)

  18. Ashley says:

    Hey Beth! First off I want to thank you for making this website. As a broke college student I really appreciate all the wonderful ways to make cheap food taste good! :)

    Just a quick question: if you were going to add meat to this, what would you suggest, and at what step would you add it in at? I’ve been cooking for my family this summer and they are very much protein lovers. I appreciate any suggestions/help!

  19. Ed Caudwell says:

    I cooked this for first time because I was broke…now I have cooked it multiple times after that because it’s so delicious and simple to make. Highly recommended.

  20. Dawnmarie says:

    Loved this I added some muscles and baked the vegetable tian

  21. I loved this and so did my family! (which can be hard with a picky 3 yo). I substituted for what I had on hand and used chicken broth, zucchini instead of spinach and sheep gouda instead of feta. Yum yum, looking forward to experimenting. :)

  22. Libby says:

    I love this recipe! I discovered it in April and have made it several times since. I have diabets and cooking for just me, so halved the recipe and only used 4oz of pasta. I used linguini and everything turned out perfectly. My advice if you’re halving the recipe is to use a smaller pot, one that will be almost full when all the ingredients are added. This was my first Budget Bytes recipe. I learned about the site from the NPR Pop Culture Happy Hour. I love everything I’ve tried so far!

  23. Rainbow says:

    Found this recipe on Pinterest, and I love it, love it, love it. So easy and so fast! That feta cheese is a real must, and I added about 4 tablespoons of my favorite pesto for extra zing!

Speak Your Mind


Rate this recipe: