Pasta for one, in just ten minutes time! This “recipe” requires NO MEASURING, just 5 ingredients, and can easily be scaled to make more servings.
Guys, I’ve had this recipe up my sleeve for what feels like ages. I’m home by myself for lunch just about every day, and I’ve nailed down a few recipes for one that I can make really quickly and with pantry staples I already have on hand.
I’ve made a few different versions of this recipe over the years, but I picked up a few tips and tricks while I was in Italy last month, and now I’m *finally* ready to share it with you.
This is my quick and easy pasta recipe with few ingredients for one serving of pasta in just 10 minutes!
My very favorite part of this simple pasta recipe is that it requires NO MEASURING. This is one of those wonderfully forgiving recipes that doesn’t require that you be particularly specific about anything you’re doing. I’ve included approximate measurements in the explanation below, for those of you that want a little more direction the first time you make it.
What’s the Best Pasta?
This pasta is rich, cheesy, silky, and perfectly al dente. You can make it with just about any dried pasta you have lying around, but I prefer long noodles (for maximum twirling); my favorite is bucatini. I’d never tried this type of pasta before my recent visit to Rome, and now I’ve noticed that they sell it at my local Fred Meyer/Kroger! You can also grab it through Amazon if you’re a Prime junkie like me.
If you can, try to buy the highest quality pasta you can find. Those that are imported from Italy are usually a good bet! The pasta itself really shines in this recipe, so you might as well use the good stuff if you have it.
Here’s How To Make This Easy Pasta Recipe
Alright, here’s how to make this easy pasta for one (with my notes and explanations in italics!):
Bring a few inches of water, and a generous pinch of salt, to a boil in a saucepan. I like to use just enough water to cover the noodles, so the pasta water has a high starch concentration. You’ll utilize the cooking water to finish the pasta, and the starch adds lots of creaminess to the dish.
Once the water is boiling, add a single serving of pasta to the pot. How much pasta for one person, you ask? For long noodles, like spaghetti, fettucine, or bucatini, a handful about the diameter of a quarter (about 1-inch) is just enough pasta for a hearty serving!
Cook the pasta until it is flexible, but not all the way to al dente. Err on the side of under-done; you can always cook it a bit longer in the next step, but it’s awful hard to un-cook pasta.
Place a 10″ saute pan on the stove next to the pot of pasta and set the burner to medium. Add two pats of butter (2 tablespoons) and use a pasta fork to transfer the flexible (but not al dente!) pasta to the saute pan. Pour enough of the pasta cooking water into the saute pan to come about halfway up the noodles (about ¼ cup). Add a generous pinch of salt and cook the pasta, tossing occasionally, until al dente (or to your liking).
Turn off the heat and toss with enough grated Parmesan cheese (or other hard cheese, like Asiago) to absorb the remaining liquid in the pan and form a creamy sauce. I’ve made this with pre-shredded store-brand cheese (but not the grated kind in the cylinder!) as well as with parmigiano reggiano and even grana padano. Pick your poison! If you over-do it and the sauce gets too thick, just drizzle in a bit more of the pasta water and give it a good tossing.
Use a pepper grinder to effectively saturate the pasta in freshly ground black peppercorns. When you feel like you’ve added enough, give it a stir and then add even more.
Taste and add more salt if needed. Transfer to a plate, garnish with more cheese, and start twirling away.
That seemed like a really long explanation for a really basic recipe, so let me sum it up for you: boil pasta, then transfer it to a pan with some of the cooking water, some butter, and some salt. Cook until tender, then toss with cheese and black pepper. DONE.
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Here’s the Recipe!
Pasta for One Recipe
- Dried pasta
- Grated Parmesan - or other aged hard cheese
- Black pepper
- Bring a few inches of water, and a generous pinch of salt, to a boil in a saucepan.
- Once the water is boiling, grab a handful of long noodles about the diameter of a quarter (about 1-inch) and add it to the pot. Cook the pasta until it is flexible, but not all the way to al dente.
- Place a 10" saute pan on the stove next to the pot of pasta and set the burner to medium. Add two pats of butter (2 tablespoons) and use a pasta fork to transfer the pasta to the saute pan.
- Pour enough of the pasta cooking water into the saute pan to come about halfway up the noodles (about ¼ cup). Add a generous pinch of salt and cook the pasta, tossing occasionally, until al dente (or to your liking).
- Turn off the heat and toss with enough grated cheese to absorb the remaining liquid in the pan and form a creamy sauce.
- Grind plenty of black pepper onto the top of the pasta.
- Taste and add more salt if needed. Transfer to a plate, garnish with more cheese, and enjoy!