Kid-friendly Chef's Choice Magical One-Pot Pasta Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Recipe: Chef's Choice Magical One-Pot Pasta

Recipe: Chef's Choice Magical One-Pot Pasta

Chef's Choice Magical One-Pot Pasta

by Erin Fletter
Photo by margouillat photo/
prep time
15 minutes
cook time
10 minutes
4-6 servings

Fun Food Story

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Chef's Choice Magical One-Pot Pasta

Kids in the Kitchen! Recipe Ketch-up! It’s been almost 10 years since Martha Stewart’s One-Pot Pasta recipe took the Internet by storm and got families all over the country out of their weeknight cooking ruts. The recipe editor who came up with this ingenious method had traveled to a small fishing village in Puglia, Italy, and was given the tip by the owner of the small local restaurant she’d decided upon for dinner one night. Most of the recipes we cook were initially developed hundreds of years ago overseas and brought across borders by travelers, presidents, or diplomats. They were then tweaked and prodded to resemble something of the beloved original. One-Pot Pasta is unique in that although it may not be anything new to the country of Italy, it’s still very new to the rest of the world. Once you try it, you may never boil pasta the same way again! Kids can vary the basic recipe with various ingredient combinations, making it all the more creative, playful, and fun.

Happy & Healthy Cooking,

Chef Erin, Food-Geek-in-Chief

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • boil :

    to cook a food in liquid heated to the point of gas bubbles and steam forming (boiling point is 212 F at sea level).

  • chop :

    to cut something into small, rough pieces using a blade.

  • knife skills :

    Bear Claw (growl), Pinch, Plank, and Bridge (look out for trolls)

  • mince :

    to chop into teeny tiny pieces.

  • peel :

    to remove the skin or rind from something using your hands or a metal tool.

  • simmer :

    to cook a food gently, usually in a liquid, until softened.

  • stir :

    to mix together two or more ingredients with a spoon or spatula, usually in a circle pattern, or figure eight, or in whatever direction you like!

Equipment Checklist

  • Large pot + lid
  • Cutting board
  • Kid-safe knife
  • Can opener
  • Measuring spoons
  • Dry measuring cups
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Wooden spoon


Chef's Choice Magical One-Pot Pasta

  • 1 lb dried pasta noodles, kid chef’s choice: spaghetti, fettuccine, spirals, penne, rotini, farfalle (bowtie), rigatoni, or macaroni—all work great! **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY sub gluten-free pasta noodles)**
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 C mixed vegetables (kid chef’s choice: broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, bell peppers, corn, sun-dried tomatoes, baby carrots, mushrooms, arugula, fresh tomatoes, or black olives are all great)
  • 2 14-oz cans diced tomatoes (plain or with Italian herbs)
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 4 C or 1 quart vegetable broth
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper
  • fresh grated Parmesan or shredded mozzarella cheese, optional **(omit for DAIRY ALLERGY or sub Daiya brand dairy-free mozzarella shreds)**

Food Allergen Substitutions

Chef's Choice Magical One-Pot Pasta

  • Gluten/Wheat: Substitute gluten-free pasta noodles.
  • Dairy: Substitute Daiya brand dairy-free mozzarella shreds for optional shredded Parmesan or mozzarella.


Chef's Choice Magical One-Pot Pasta

peel + mince + chop + add + stir

Peel and mince 3 garlic cloves. Chop 2 cups of mixed vegetables into bite-sized pieces. To a large pot, add 1 pound dried pasta noodles, minced garlic, mixed vegetables, 2 cans diced tomatoes, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 4 cups vegetable broth, 1 pinch of salt, and 1 pinch of black pepper. Stir all the ingredients together!

boil + simmer + stir

Adults place the pot on the stove and turn on the heat. Bring the contents of the pot to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and let cook for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until most of the liquid in the pot has evaporated and the pasta has softened. Adults should stir pasta often as it cooks!

recipe tip

The heat will cook the pasta and other ingredients, the pasta will release its starch into the water, and the liquid will evaporate and concentrate the flavors.

stir + serve

To finish, stir in the optional shredded cheese and serve the pasta and veggies in bowls. Serve extra cheese at the table!

Surprise Ingredient: Pasta!

back to recipe
Photo by Poznyakov/

Hi! I'm Pasta!

"Did you know that there are about 350 kinds of pasta that come in various lengths, widths, and shapes?! Most have Italian names, and the dishes they're part of often take on the same name. Some types are small and used in soups, like "alphabet pasta" and "orzo." Some are long and skinny or long and wide, like "spaghetti," "fettuccine," and "lasagna." Others are filled, like "ravioli," "cannelloni," and ring-shaped "tortellini." There are short pastas with funny shapes, like the corkscrew tubes of "cavatappi," the straight, diagonal tubes of "penne," or the shells of "conchiglie." Finally, there are pasta dumplings, or "gnocchi."

  • Pasta is certainly an Italian food, but even before it became part of the cuisine of Italy in the 4th century BCE, pasta or noodles had been eaten in China for at least 1,000 years. 
  • "Lagana," a rolled-out sheet of fried dough and an ancestor of lasagna, is mentioned in the writings of Horace, a 1st-century Roman poet. 
  • Pasta is made from unleavened dough, typically consisting of durum wheat flour and water or eggs, that is cut and formed into various shapes. It is generally cooked in boiling water or soup until tender or "al dente" (Italian for "to the tooth"), which is almost tender but still a bit firm to the bite. It can also be parboiled (partly boiled) and then added to a baked dish, where it becomes tender in the oven. 
  • Gluten-free alternatives to pasta made from wheat flour include those made from rice flour and legumes, like beans and lentils. 
  • Fresh pasta (in Italian, "pasta fresca") can be purchased at the store or made at home. Packaged dried pasta ("pasta secca") is found more abundantly in grocery stores and is less expensive. Fresh pasta cooks faster than dried pasta.
  • Cooked pasta consists of 62 percent water, 31 percent carbohydrates, 26 percent of which is starch, 6 percent protein, and 1 percent fat. 
  • A 100-gram serving of pasta contains 15 percent of the daily value of manganese, a mineral element that may contribute to bone health, blood sugar regulation, and blood clotting factors. 
  • Pasta has a lower glycemic index than white bread, potatoes, and rice, meaning it has less of a contributing factor to weight gain, developing type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

History of One-Pot Pasta!

Photo by Azra H/
  • The idea behind one-pot pasta is to add all the raw ingredients to one big pot or skillet at once: pasta, vegetables, herbs, spices, and water or broth. The liquid cooks the pasta and veggies until they are tender, and the pasta releases its starch, evaporating and concentrating the flavors, creating its own sauce.
  • Martha Stewart is credited with the One-Pot Pasta recipe that started it all about 10 years ago. It became popular because it is delicious and makes cooking and cleanup a cinch.
  • Try changing the recipe by using different types of pasta, veggies, and seasonings each time you make one-pot pasta.

Let's Learn About Italy!

Photo by Marina Andrejchenko/
  • Italy became a unified country in 1861, only 150 years ago. It is sometimes called "bel paese" or "beautiful country."  
  • Italians invented the piano and the thermometer! 
  • In ancient Roman mythology, two twin brothers named Romulus and Remus founded Rome, Italy's capital city. The myth says the twins were abandoned and then discovered by a she-wolf before being found and raised by a shepherd and his wife. Eventually (and after many exciting adventures), they found themselves at the location of Palatine Hill, where Romulus built "Roma." The Italian wolf became Italy's unofficial national animal. 
  • In the 1930s and 40s, Mussolini, Italy's prime minister, and dictator tried to eliminate all foreign words from the Italian language. How did he do that? He just changed them! For example, in soccer, "goal" became "meta." Disney character names changed, too: Donald Duck became "Paperino;" Mickey Mouse became "Topolino;" and Goofy became "Pippo." Although they're not banned anymore, these words and names have stuck. So now if you go to the Italian Disneyland, called Gardaland Park, you will see Topolino and Pippo! 
  • About 60 million people call Italy home, and it is 116,350 square miles, slightly larger than the US state of Arizona. If you compare that to the United Kingdom, 67 million people live there, and it is about 94,350 square miles. So, the UK is smaller than Italy but has a bigger population! 
  • The Italian flag is green, white, and red. These colors represent hope, faith, and charity.
  • The average Italian eats close to 55 pounds of pasta annually. If you think about how light pasta is, that is a considerable amount! There are more than 500 different types of pasta eaten in Italy today. 

What's It Like to Be a Kid in Italy?

  • Kids begin school at 6 years old. They grow up speaking Italian, but they learn English in school, so many become bilingual in Italian and English.
  • The most popular sport for kids is football (soccer). The Italian word for soccer is "calcio," the same word they use for "kick." A favorite of younger kids is "Rody, the bouncing horse," a plastic horse that a small child can hop onto and bounce around the room. Rody was invented in Italy in 1984.  
  • The family ("la famiglia") is a central characteristic of Italian life. Children have great respect for their older relatives. It is traditional to name the first male child after the grandfather and the first female child after the grandmother.
  • If kids live close to school, they can go home and have lunch with their families! Lunch at school might be pasta, meat with vegetables, a sandwich, or a salad with lots of ingredients. Families typically eat dinner later (7 to 8 pm), so kids end up staying up later, too!
  • Between lunch and dinner, kids often enjoy "merenda," which is an afternoon snack that translates to "something that is deserved." It is really a mini-meal that can include both savory and sweet foods. Examples of savory foods are a salami or mortadella sandwich, a slice of rustic bread rubbed with a cut, raw tomato, or "pizza bianca" (white pizza without tomato sauce). Types of sweet foods eaten during merenda are "gelato" (a lower-fat type of ice cream), any kind of cake, or biscotti dipped in warm milk.

Lettuce Joke Around

Why did the tomato blush? 

Because he saw the salad dressing!

That's Berry Funny

What kind of vegetable likes to look at animals? 

A zoo-chini!

The Yolk's On You

What does a vegetable wear to the beach? 

A zoo-kini!

THYME for a Laugh

How do you fix a broken tomato? 

Tomato paste!

The Yolk's On You

What do you call a fake noodle? 

An impasta!

The Yolk's On You

What do you call a pasta that is sick? 

Mac and Sneeze.

THYME for a Laugh

What is the dress code at a pasta convention?


Lettuce Joke Around

What would you get if you crossed pasta with a snake?

Spaghetti that wraps itself around a fork!

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