Need a quick and easy meal for those hectic weekday nights? This family friendly One Skillet Spaghetti (or one pan pasta) is not only quick and easy, but also cheesy good!
We’ve all been there. The kids are hungry and you are frazzled and then the dreaded question: “Mom, what’s for dinner???” And with my family of five, trying to find a quick and easy meal that EVERYONE enjoys is a huge challenge.
My go-to-recipe when I don’t have much time to think or to prepare a meal is this one: One Pan Pasta. It’s a one pot spaghetti dish that has evolved into many forms over the years and it’s a staple in our dinner rotation.
Why is this recipe so great?
This skillet spaghetti dish is so easy to throw together and is so easy to customize for your own family. You can use any ground meat you have on hand. You can use an assortment of pasta, as well.
If you want to add more vegetables, you can! You can make the sauce chunk or smooth. And that creamy tomato sauce and melty cheese is crazy good! And the best part? It’s all made in one pan, making clean up easy as well.
It is so beloved and easy, I share a camp friendly version of this dish and prepare it in a cast iron Dutch oven. The recipe for that is in my camping cookbook, The Camp & Cabin Cookbook.
Ingredients you need
- Olive Oil: I use extra virgin olive oil to brown the onions and ground meat. You can also use canola, vegetable or avocado oil.
- Onion: Browned onions are the base for many dishes. You can add some bell peppers, mushrooms or chopped spinach or kale.
- Ground Meat: Any ground meat or combination of can be used: beef, turkey, chicken, pork, Italian sausage.
- Canned Diced Tomatoes: You can use 28oz of diced tomatoes. My kids prefer the petite diced, as the cut is smaller. For really picky eaters, use tomato sauce or marinara.
- Water: Water is added with the sauce for the pasta to absorb and cook.
- Pasta: Spaghetti is broken down into 2-inch pieces. You can also do this with fettuccini or linguini. Sometimes I use penne, rigatoni or spiral rotini pasta, too.
- Heavy Cream: A little heavy cream gives this dish some smooth and creaminess. You can use whole milk, but it won’t be exactly the same. The milk also helps cut down the acidity in the tomato sauce.
- Grated Parmesan Cheese: You can use parmesan or asiago or a combination of these hard Italian cheeses.
- Shredded Mozzarella: Mozzarella melts smoothly and is the preferred cheese to melt with pasta.
- Seasonings: garlic, dried basil, salt
1. In a large oven safe skillet over medium heat, add olive oil, onions and ground meat. Break up meat and as it cooks, season with basil, garlic and salt.
2. When meat is cooked, stir in tomatoes, water and more salt. Stir often until spaghetti starts to soften, about 7 minutes.
3. Bring the sauce to a low boil and stir in pasta. Stir often until spaghetti starts to soften, about 7 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover skillet and simmer for another 7 minutes.
4. Turn off heat and stir in cream, parmesan and mozzarella. Top with additional parmesan and mozzarella and place under the broiler until the top browns, about 3 minutes.
Expert Tips and Recipe FAQS
Sometimes you need a quick meal for those busy weeknights and this one pan pasta fits the bill. It’s fast, delicious and very family friendly. You can easily customize it to your family’s needs.
- You can use any ground meat or combination of: beef, turkey, pork, sausage
- This dish works with pasta or any noodle shape. Try penne or rotini.
- Sometimes I sneak in some greens like frozen spinach or chopped kale. Just mix it in right before you add the pasta. You can also sauté some bell peppers or mushrooms, too.
- Be sure to use a pan that is safe to bake in the oven, like cast iron.
- 1 TBS extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup chopped onion
- 1 lb ground turkey or beef
- 1 TBS dried basil
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 28 oz canned diced tomatoes
- 2 cup water
- 8 oz spaghetti, broken into 1-inch pieces
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- Preheat broiler to 500ºF and adjust rack to upper-middle position.
- In an oven-safe large non-stick skillet or cast iron, over medium-high heat and add olive oil, onions and ground turkey.
- Break up meat and as it cooks, season with basil, garlic and ½ teaspoon salt.
- Once meat is cooked, stir in tomatoes, water and ½ teaspoon salt.
- Stir in spaghetti pieces.
- Stir often until spaghetti starts to soften, about 7 minutes.
- Reduce heat to medium-low, cover skillet and simmer for another 7 minutes.
- Turn off heat and stir in cream, ¼ cup grated Parmesan and ¼ cup shredded mozzarella.
- Sprinkle top with ¼ cup grated Parmesan and ¼ cup shredded mozzarella.
- Place skillet in the broiler until the top browns, about 3 minutes.
- Let spaghetti cool for 5 minutes and serve.
Serving Suggestions: Great with ground sirloin or ground chicken, too. Mix it up with different kinds of pasta, too!
Cooking Tips: If your picky eater doesn't like tomato chunks, use your hand blender and puree your tomatoes until smooth. Then add to the pan. You can also substitute the canned tomatoes with 2 ½ cups of marinara sauce.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 432Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 116mgSodium: 821mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 3gSugar: 5gProtein: 30g
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