You may be wondering what exactly a “wonderpot” is.
(A) A sneaky trick I’m playing on marijauna users who are busy googling their drug of choice?
(B) A fabulous one-pot recipe in which the pasta, sides, and sauce are all cooked together in one giant pot, meriting the cheers of the dishwasherless nationwide?
You’re totally right. The answer is C.
Since the hospital bills for Elsa’s birth have started rolling in, Eric and I have been sticking to a pretty tight budget. I’ve been challenging myself to keep our grocery bills to a minimum. So I’ve turned again and again to the Budget Bytes site. Much like one of my other favorite blogs for finding cheap recipes, Budget Bytes has tons of recipes to choose from in a really user-friendly format, and each recipe is broken down by cost per serving.
My discovery of Budget Bytes is pretty recent, and so I was really intrigued when I came across her wonderpot recipes. We are one of the dishwasherless mentioned above, so I was pretty pumped to find this recipe in which the pasta cooks within a broth, along with spinach and artichokes and herbs, and creates its own thick sauce in the process. Winning.
I changed the recipe up a bit, and let’s be honest, probably added to the cost. I swapped out the mushrooms (not a fan) for half a pound of Italian sausage, and I, of course, added some cheese to top my pasta. And the result was really, really tasty after what was a really, really easy process that left me with one dish.
The other reason I was really drawn to this recipe is that it included spinach, and I have been craving fresh produce because really, it should be spring and we should be eating all the green things. But it’s not. And so this recipe serves as my bridge; I’ll use frozen spinach for now and fresh in like six years when it finally warms up. Plus, it has artichokes, and I’d probably eat mud if you mixed it up with some artichokes. So there’s that.
So consider this your formal invitiation to jump on the Wonderpot Bandwagon.
(recipe adapted from Budget Bytes )
(yields 6 servings)
This easy recipe cooks the pasta, sides, and sauce in one-pot, with very little hands-on work. I adapted the recipe by using Italian sausage instead of mushrooms, and adding basil and cheese to the mix.
9 ounces Italian sausage links, casings removed (this is about 1/2 a standard sized package)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
5 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 (14 oz.) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
12 ounces fettucine (or pasta of choice)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
freshly cracked pepper, to taste
4 ounces frozen cut spinach or 2 large handfuls fresh spinach
1-2 cups shredded mozzarella or parmesan cheese (to taste)
(optional: fresh Italian parsley for garnish; it will also add just a bit of flavor complexity)
Cook the Sausage:
Brown sausage in a large pot over medium heat until fully cooked, stirring to break it up as it cooks. Remove sausage with a spoon to a plate and set aside, leaving behind any drippings the sausage left as it cooked.
Cook the Pasta Dish:
Still over medium heat, stir the onions and garlic into the sausage drippings for 2 minutes, to just soften them slightly. Then stir in the broth and artichoke hearts. Break the fettuccine in half and add it to the pot along with the oregano, thyme, basil, and some freshly cracked pepper. Push the ingredients down under the broth as much as possible. Place a lid on the pot and bring it up to a rolling boil over high heat.
As soon as it reaches a boil, stir the pot to evenly distribute the ingredients and prevent the pasta from sticking. Turn the heat down to low so that the pot is just simmering.
Add the sausage back in to the pot. Allow the pot to simmer, with the lid on, for 10-15 minutes, or until the pasta is tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Give the pot a stir every few minutes to prevent the pasta from sticking.
Once the pasta is cooked through, add the frozen spinach. Allow the heat from the pasta to thaw the spinach. Stir the pot to help break up the clumps of spinach as they melt. (If using fresh spinach, stir in for just a minute or two before the end to let it just wilt).
Serve hot, topped with cheese of choice and Italian parsley if desired.