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 180 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. kristin says:

    I have used several of your recipes that show up when googling but am just now really exploring you blog and I find it so useful! I tried the easy sesame chicken last night and enjoyed it. I wanted to comment on your basil comment in this recipe and say that you can grow fresh basil in your window sill very easily. You can buy the “live” kind (that comes with roots and dirt) in the produce section and plant it, start it from seed or I have even put some fresh basil with stems in water to get roots started and then plant it. It is really easy to grow. Then you can have a little fresh basil for free whenever you need it.

  2. Evie says:

    Amazing! This is the eighth recipe I’ve made from your website and every single one has been a hit in our home. Can I just tell you, no one ever taught me how to cook, and most of my meals involved peanut butter or ramen. But a few months ago, when I moved in with my recently widowed grandfather who expects three solid meals a day, I found myself drowning in cookbooks. You have been such a life-saver. Your instructions and pictures make it so easy, and I don’t have to go shopping every single time I try a new recipe. Thank you so much!!!

  3. Kari says:

    I’ve made this 3 times and the water never boils off so it ends up more as a soup (but still delicious)! I’m going to cut back on the amount of water next time. Maybe I am measuring the pasta wrong?

  4. gselle says:

    This was awesome! Added some red sweet peppers to the mix and it all came together fabulously. My 6 year old helped and she was anxious to sample her dish. Let’s just say she’s added it to our lunch roster :).

  5. Carmen says:

    I had a long, long day at the end of a long, long week and I’m very, very tired and I don’t feel well. I had JUST enough energy to drag myself downstairs and make this … and it’s giving me LIFE !!! It’s so delicious and warm and comforting …. even my 13yr old stopped and peeked in, remarking how good it looks. I didn’t have feta so I used my microplane and grated some pecorino Romano over the top of my bowl and stirred it in. My soul is singing your praises right now.

  6. Keila says:

    ok, I’m going to make this for the first time and I’m excited! Should I wait til the broth boils to throw in the pasta? I don’t want it to stick together …

    • You can, but I didn’t. I found that the occasional stirring kept it from sticking together, but other people seem to have had more of a problem with that.

  7. Mitchell says:

    Thanks, I just made this and it’s incredible. I browned the spices and garlic first by adding the olive oil and the spices, and heating until sizzling, and topped with pecorino romano. Definitely will make again.

  8. Nina says:

    This was great! Loved how everything cooked down and flavored the pasta. We added sauteed zucchini and carrots. Thanks!

  9. Christina says:

    I love this recipe! It was easy to make and it turned out very flavorful. I imagine this would be a nice meal to make when it’s cold outside since it warmed me up like a nice hearty stew would. I let it cook for about 15 minutes since I prefer a softer pasta noodle. I also used fresh spinach and put that in about 5 minutes after it started boiling (although had I known I would cook it for so long, I would have waited a few more minutes before adding the spinach.) I also topped it with some grated parmesan and it added a nice creaminess to the pasta. I wasn’t sure how it would taste, but as soon as it started cooking and smelled amazing, I knew I’d enjoy it.

  10. Charleen says:

    I don’t think you understand how much you are saving my life with these recipes! This is another hit. Only changes I made were, I used a fresh tomato instead of canned tomatoes and I only had stir-in-paste garlic which worked just fine. Even my 5 year old thought it was good & he’s soooo picky.

  11. My last comment should say 3 cups veggie stock and 1 cup veggie broth. Also, I didn’t add cheese because I served this with a zucchini gratin, and I didn’t want the meal to be cheese overload.

  12. I made this last night. It was so good! I used whole wheat pasta, and think it might have held up better than regular pasta would have. It was a little on the soft side, but it was fine. I sauteed the onions first with a little green pepper and tomato paste. I HATE crunching into raw onions, especially in hot dishes. Seasoned with smoked paprika, pepper, a little salt and italian seasoning. Three cups veggie stock and one cup veggie stock was what I used instead of chicken stock. I was going to make it with basil since I had some, but it had gone bad! :(. Fortunately something TOLD me to grab a bag of spinach , thank goodness!

  13. Dustu says:

    I replaced the onions and diced tomatoes with a mild, chunky salsa…..just as good as the original! I was out of diced tomatoes. I love this meal!

  14. Nicole says:

    Sooooooo good! I have made this several times now the smell while it is cooking is amazing!! I like to cook this when family comes over show off my cooking skills. They dont know its a one pot wonder!! There are never any leftovers!

  15. Michelle says:

    My girls and I just love this. I did change some things though but nothing really huge. Instead of the can or boxed broth I used two cubes of vegetable bouillon and dissolved them in warm water. I just use regular oil and I use 8 ounces of fresh spinach and add it towards the end. I also quarter the onion slices so they cook tender. We cook this probably at least twice to three times a month. It’s that good. Add a slice of toasted sourdough bread and you have dinner within 30 minutes.

  16. Terence says:

    Made this recipe yesterday and it was awesome! My gf and I loved it. This site is awesome! Thanks!

  17. Ashley says:

    I made this last night and it was so good and easy. Two of my favorite things! I was a little hesitant at first (feta and Italian??), but this was so good. I never would’ve thought to mix feta cheese with this recipe, but it was delicious. Thank you for sharing such a great weeknight recipe!

  18. could you wait until the last 10 minutes of cooking time to add the pasta? To keep it al dente.

    • Well, you only need to cook it as long as the pasta needs to become tender, so if its only ten minutes for you, you can stop it at ten minutes or whenever the pasta is the texture that you like. :)

  19. Jennifer says:

    Hey! I just made this again, and I didn’t have feta, but I did have asiago, so I stirred about 1 c. of shredded asiago into the finished hot pasta, and it was SOOO good. Thanks for posting the recipe! :O)

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