Need a quick and easy meal for those hectic weekday nights? This family friendly One Skillet Spaghetti (or one pot spaghetti) 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 Skillet Spaghetti. It’s a one pot spaghetti dish that has evolved into many forms over the years. But what I love most of is that cleanup is simple, since everything is cooked in, you guessed it, ONE PAN!
Best meat for skillet spaghetti
Another great reason to make one skillet spaghetti is that it is so versatile. You can customize it to your family’s personal taste. I have made this dish with ground beef, ground turkey and Italian sausage — you name it.
I personally like to use Italian turkey sausage because of the flavor. Just remove the meat from the casings and brown it with the onions and garlic. Once the meat is browned, add a couple cans of diced tomatoes.
I have even substituted the cans of diced tomatoes for jars of pre-made marinara because I know what it’s like to have picky kids who do not want to see chunks of tomatoes in their sauce.
Can I use a different pasta instead of spaghetti?
The recipe I share below uses spaghetti for this one pot dish. If you are using spaghetti, fettuccini or linguini noodles, you will want to break them up into two-inch long pieces. I usually break the noodles in half over the pan, and then break them in half again. You can also break them in a resealable bag then dump it all in when ready.
If you are using elbow macaroni, penne, bow tie or any of the shaped pasta, you will just pour it into the pot without breaking them up. As the pasta cooks, you can add more water, as needed, if you run out of liquid and the pasta has some more cooking left. Like I said, super versatile.
Other ways to customize your one pot spaghetti
I am notorious in sneaking in vegetables in our favorite meals, and this dish no different. Although I don’t have it listed in the recipe below, many times I have added other ingredients into my skillet spaghetti. You can brown bell peppers and mushrooms, for example, to add extra flavor.
Often times I stir in some frozen chopped spinach into the pot while the pasta is cooking. If I have fresh spinach, I use that too, along with chopped kale or Swiss chard. In fact, 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.
Serving up skillet spaghetti
Once the noodles are mostly ready, remove from heat and stir in cream, grated parmesan and shredded mozzarella cheese. My family likes this dish very creamy and especially cheesy, so I never skimp on this step!
Pop it under the broiler to brown the top cheese layer and dinner is ready when the cheese is bubbly and browned! The most important thing is that you are using an oven safe pan for this dish. Cast iron pans work beautifully for this recipe for this very reason.
Serve with a salad, plop yourself down with a good movie, maybe some vino and everyone is happy. And did I mention how clean up is done in a snap?! This one skillet spaghetti dish brings peace to the dinner table!
- 1 TBS extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- 1 lb ground turkey or beef
- 1 TBS dried basil
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 tsp salt
- 28 oz canned diced tomatoes
- 2 cup water
- 8 oz spaghetti, broken into 1-inch pieces
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 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 1/2 tsp salt.
- Once meat is cooked, stir in tomatoes, water and 1/2 tsp 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, 1/4 cup grated Parmesan and 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella.
- Sprinkle top with 1/4 cup grated Parmesan and 1/4 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 1/2 cups of marinara sauce.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 432 Total Fat: 26g Saturated Fat: 9g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 14g Cholesterol: 116mg Sodium: 821mg Carbohydrates: 20g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 3g Sugar: 5g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 30g