This one pan pasta is quick, easy and packed full of green veg. The preserved lemon provides an unexpected tart-salty kick and the white wine amps up the flavour. It’s the perfect Springtime weeknight meal.
“Those places I don’t understand, just doing bad food. It takes some doing. Making good pasta is so much easier than making bad stuff. It actually takes quite an effort to make poor linguine pomodora.” – Anthony Bourdain
Pasta Pasta Pasta. My favourite thing in all the world, and as the food god Mr. Anthony Bourdain says, It’s pretty hard to mess up. You throw some pasta in a pot, add some kind of sauce after it’s cooked – olive oil and garlic can even constitute a ‘sauce’ as in the famous spaghetti aglio e olio , how does one even begin to mess up an olive oil and garlic sauce?! – and perhaps throw in whatever else you may have lying around (peas? YEP, tomatoes? for sure, some withering herbs or greens? um…okay why not!) and you have a meal on your hands. It’s the perfect vessel for seasonal vegetables; you can buy whatever looks best at the farmer’s market, throw it all in a pan together on a busy weeknight, add pasta et voilà! Dinner! Which is essentially what happened here…
I grabbed ALL OF THE SPRING THINGS at the market, then just worked out how I could possibly stuff it all into one singular meal. Salad was an option for about 0.000000005 of a second, then pasta popped into my head, as it does on most weeknights when I have no frigging idea what to cook and there’s a sad heap of seemingly unmeshable (fairly sure this isn’t even word, but just go with it k?) ingredients staring back at me from the depths of the fridge.
So I grabbed everything that looked vaguely green, started chopping some things, decided i’d use up the last of that opened bottle of verdelho from Krinklewood Biodynamic Vineyard (where i’m a member – yay!) and then spotted the jar of preserved winter lemons sitting merrily in a checkered lidded jar in the back of the fridge. With all of these ingredients out and heaped into their own little bowls, I was pretty confident about the deliciousness of the pasta to come (and I was right to be confident, it’s some a+ pasta).
Now, the method! Ever since giving Anna Jones’s recipe ‘kale, tomato and lemon magic one-pot spaghetti’ from her cookbook ‘A Modern Way to Cook’ a go, i’ve been making different variations of one-pan pasta every other week. It’s genius. For one, there are barely any dishes – a pan, some tongs, a chopping board, a knife and not much else: an obvious plus on a busy weeknight. It’s sooo much faster than regular pasta since you don’t need to make the sauce AND wait for the water to come to the boil (yawn) and then wait for the pasta to cook – It all cooks together, like one big happy, carby pasta family.
Also, one-pan pasta is even more impossible to mess up than regular hard-to-mess-up-pasta: you pretty much can’t overcook the pasta because the water cooks down until you’re only left with sauce and somehow the pasta is always magically cooked to perfection at the exact same time (provided you watch the pan and don’t let it bubble away to nothing, simultaneously burning the bottom of the pasta – just don’t leave the house to go for a random mid-pasta-cooking-jog and you will be a-okay).
By cooking everything in one pan, the starchy pasta cooking water has the chance to cook down with the rest of the sauce ingredients (olive oil, garlic, salt etc.) to create the silkiest and most perfectly seasoned sauce that clings to the pasta in all the right ways. Like I said, genius.
In this version, I added some nutritional yeast and preserved lemon rind along with the other sauce ingredients to infuse the pasta with a cheesy and intensely lemony flavour – preserved lemon adds this depth that I just fail to describe, it’s tart and salty and perfect. I also cooked some leeks and garlic at the beginning until they were sweet and creamy for an extra layer of flavour.
The wine is sizzled until most of the alcohol has bubbled away and just the flavour remains, so choose a good quality white wine. Verjus would also be a good choice. If you’d rather leave the wine out, just add a little extra boiled water when it comes time to add it to the pan.
The white beans were added for a little extra bulk and protein, and they tie in well with the other spring vegetables – any kind of white bean will do, or flageolet. I used canned for the sake of ease (i.e. because i’m lazy and CAN NOT PLAN AHEAD), however feel free to use your own soaked and cooked beans.
I’ve tried one pan pasta with gluten free spaghetti on multiple occasions and it works just as well, provided that the pasta can hold it’s own during the cooking process (so avoid gluten free pastas that tend to turn to mush upon boiling – wholegrain types are probably out of the question). The nuts on top add the perfect amount of crunch, but i can imagine some toasty golden breadcrumbs would be just as welcome (if not more welcome to be honest – who doesn’t love carbs on carbs?!).
The sugar snap peas and freshly podded baby peas were my favourite thing about this pasta , their sweetness melds with the leeks, white wine and preserved lemon to create a seriously well balanced sweet-tart-salty spring pasta. Oh the meals that can come from a seemingly empty fridge and a few in-season vegetables!
All you need is veg, a packet of pasta, some olive oil, a few seasonings, a tiny bit of know-how – and the world of weeknight dinners is your proverbial oyster. Hooray for pasta! Especially the one-pan kind!
One Pan White Wine + Preserved Lemon Spring Pasta
Yield 4-6 serves
vegan, egg-free, dairy-free, soy-free, sugar-free, gluten-free option, nut-free option
This one pan pasta is quick, easy and packed full of green veg. The preserved lemon provides an unexpected tart-salty kick and the white wine amps up the flavour. It's the perfect Springtime weeknight meal.
- 2 medium leeks, trimmed, washed & thinly sliced
- 4 medium sized garlic cloves, peeled & minced
- 1 400 g tin canned white beans, drained & rinsed well (optional)
- 1/2 preserved lemon, rind only, rinsed well & finely chopped (roughly 2 tbsp. once chopped)
- 250 g / 2 heaped cups sugar snap peas, ends trimmed & cut in half lengthwise
- 250 g / 1 big bunch thin asparagus, end trimmed & chopped into roughly 5-6cm pieces (if you have thick asparagus stalks, slice them in half lengthwise before chopping into pieces)
- 150 g / 1 cup shelled fresh or frozen baby peas (about 400 g unshelled)
- 400 g spaghetti or linguine
- 250 mL / 1 cup good quality dry white wine (I used verdelho)
- 100 mL / 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp. olive oil (+ extra for cooking the leeks / garlic)
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 3 tbsp. nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp. fine sea salt
- cracked black pepper
- a handful of mint, finely sliced (about 1/4 cup once sliced)
- 85 g / 1/2 cup raw or toasted almonds, roughly chopped
- Prepare the vegetables as instructed in the ingredients list (leeks, garlic, white beans, preserved lemon, snap peas, asparagus, peas) & set everything aside in separate bowls (or side-by-side on a big chopping board / serving platter).
- Bring a kettle of water to the boil & set a large shallow pan (preferably enamel or non-stick to stop the pasta from sticking to the bottom) over a low-medium heat. Once hot, drizzle in a little olive oil & add the leeks & garlic. Cook until soft & creamy (but not browned), stirring often. Once soft, add the wine, scraping up any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan & allow to bubble away for a few minutes to cook off some of the alcohol.
- Now add the pasta, white beans (if using), preserved lemon rind, 100ml olive oil, juice of 1/2 lemon, nutritional yeast, 2 tsp sea salt & a few good cracks of black pepper. Pour over 1 litre of boiling water from the kettle and turn the heat up to high to get the water simmering. Once the water is bubbling away happily, reduce the heat a little to medium - high (you don't want it bubbling too fiercely) and allow to simmer for about 6 minutes, making sure to toss the pasta around often & scraping the bottom of the pan. If during this cooking time the water evaporates too quickly, add a little splash of extra boiling water to help the pasta to cook through.
- After 6 minutes (the pasta should be nearing al dente, and there should not be a great deal of water left) add the sugar snap peas & asparagus, tossing them together with the pasta. Simmer another 2 minutes, until the water & olive oil has turned into a sauce & the vegetables are just tender but still crunchy (tossing very often now as the water should have mostly cooked down meaning it will be more likely to stick), then add the baby peas & cook for a further 30 seconds for fresh peas or 1 minute for frozen peas. Remove from the heat & stir through the mint.
- Allow to sit for a couple of minutes, taste for seasoning, add a little extra water or olive oil if the pasta is at all dry (you want it to have a super silky sauce) then serve in big tangles, topped with the almonds & perhaps an extra drizzle of olive oil and a few fresh mint leaves.
*For a nut free option, simply omit the almonds (perhaps try some crunchy fried breadcrumbs?).
*For a gluten free option, use a gluten free spaghetti that holds up well during cooking (nothing too soft or mushy).
*If you can't get a hold of preserved lemon, just use the zest of 1 - 2 lemons instead, it will be different but still delicious.