Pasta for One in 10 Minutes

Indulge in a swift and simple culinary delight with Pasta for One, ready in just ten minutes! This recipe demands no measuring, uses only five ingredients, and scales up effortlessly for more servings.

Plate of pasta with parmesan cheese block and grater on the side.

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 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 some tips and tricks while I was in Italy last month, and now I’m finally ready to share it with you.

If you’re a fan of pasta, then you must also try my Chicken Pesto Pasta, Autumn Mushroom Pasta, Sun-Dried Bucatini, or my Linguine Squarcierella! And to those who love marinara sauce, as I do, I recommend my Spring Asparagus Marinara Pasta.

Plate of pasta.

What’s the Best Pasta?

This pasta dish is rich, cheesy, silky, and perfectly al dente. You can make it with just about any dried pasta you have lying around. You can use shorter pasta such as penne, rotini, farfalle, rigatoni, or any other pasta shape you like. I prefer long noodles for twirling, from spaghetti to fettuccine, but my personal favorite is bucatini. I’d never tried this type of pasta before my recent visit to Rome, and now I’ve noticed 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 imported from Italy are usually a good bet! This one-pot pasta recipe itself really shines, so you might as well use the good stuff if you have it.

Plate of pasta on a table.

Reasons to Love This Pasta

  • Pasta for One is quick and convenient. Ready in just ten minutes, it’s perfect for a fast, satisfying one-pot meal without much effort or time commitment.
  • Utilizes common pantry staples, making it an easy go-to without needing special shopping.
  • Its forgiving nature means less fuss and more fun in cooking. Ideal for beginners or those in a hurry, this requires no measuring.
  • Designed for solo diners, it eliminates waste and the hassle of calculating servings.
  • The basic recipe is easily customizable that suit individual tastes, making it versatile for different preferences or dietary needs.

Recipe Ingredients

  • Dried Pasta: The foundation of the dish provides a satisfying, chewy texture and a mild, slightly earthy flavor that pairs well with other ingredients.
  • Butter: It adds a rich, creamy texture and a smooth, luxurious flavor to the dish, enhancing its overall mouthfeel and taste.
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese (or other aged hard cheese): This cheese contributes a nutty, salty depth and a slightly tangy edge.

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

Variations

  • Gluten-Free Pasta: Replace regular pasta with gluten-free pasta for those with gluten sensitivities. This alternative offers a similar texture and taste.
  • Olive Oil: Replace butter with olive oil for a lighter, slightly fruity undertone, while keeping the richness.
  • Vegan Cheese: Use a vegan hard cheese alternative to cater to dairy-free diets without compromising the savory, cheesy element.
  • Crushed Red Pepper: Add a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes for a subtle heat, enhancing the black pepper’s spiciness.
  • Freshly Grated Nutmeg: A small amount of nutmeg can add a warm, nutty complexity, complementing the cheese and butter flavors subtly.

How to Make Pasta for One

Step #1: Bring a saucepan with a few inches of water and a generous pinch of salt to a boil. Use just enough water to cover the noodles, ensuring a high starch concentration in the pasta water. Utilize this cooking water to finish the pasta, as the starch adds creaminess to the dish.

Water boiling in a large pot.

Step #2: Once the water is boiling, grab a handful of long noodles about the diameter of a quarter (about 1 inch) and add them to the pot. Cook the pasta until it is flexible, but not all the way to al dente.

Step #3: Place a 10-inch sauté pan on the stove next to the pot of pasta and set the burner to medium-high heat. Add two pats of butter (2 tablespoons) and use a pasta fork to transfer the pasta to the sauté pan.

Step #4: Pour enough of the pasta cooking water into the sauté 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).

Butter and pasta cooking in a skillet.

Step #5: Turn off the heat and toss with enough grated cheese to absorb the remaining liquid in the pan and form a creamy sauce.

Parmesan cheese added to the pasta.

Step #6: Grind plenty of black pepper onto the top of the pasta. Use a pepper grinder to thoroughly coat the pasta with freshly ground black peppercorns. When you think you’ve added enough, give it a stir, and then add even more.

Step #7: Taste and add more salt if needed. Transfer to a plate, garnish with more cheese, and enjoy!

Pasta plated on a white plate.

Expert Tips

  • Use Ample Water: Boil the pasta in a large pot of water to prevent sticking and ensure even cooking.
  • Stir Occasionally: Stir the pasta a few times while cooking to prevent clumping.
  • Reserve Pasta Water: Save some pasta water before draining; its starchiness is key for creating a silky sauce.
Pasta with parmesan cheese and black pepper on top.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I add protein to this recipe?

Of course! If you want to add in protein you absolutely can! This recipe is yours to make your own! If you are adding in a protein I would recommend Italian Sausage, Grilled Chicken, Ground Beef, Ground Turkey, Crispy Tofu, or even Grilled Shrimp.

How can I make this dish more flavorful?

Experiment with adding fresh herbs like fresh basil or fresh parsley, or a sprinkle of garlic powder or garlic cloves for enhanced flavor.

Can I add vegetables to this recipe?

Absolutely! Adding vegetables like broccoli and bell pepper. Adding broccoli enhances the dish with a delightful crunch and fresh taste, while bell peppers offer a sweet, slightly tangy flavor and crisp texture. You can steam or sauté the broccoli and lightly sauté the bell peppers until they’re just softened.

Can I use pre-grated cheese?

Freshly grated cheese melts better, but pre-grated is convenient and works in a pinch.

Can I use chicken broth or heavy cream in the Pasta for One recipe?

Yes, you can. Adding chicken broth can enhance the flavor of the pasta, giving it a savory depth. Incorporating heavy cream will create a richer, creamier sauce. Simply substitute a portion of the cooking water with chicken broth or add a splash of heavy cream towards the end of cooking.

Storage Info

Store leftover Pasta for One in an airtight container in the refrigerator, where it will stay good for up to 3 days. Freezing is not recommended as it may alter the texture of the pasta and sauce. To reheat, gently warm it in a skillet over low heat, adding a small amount of water or milk to loosen the sauce if needed. Alternatively, you can microwave it, covered, stirring occasionally, until heated through.

Did you try this recipe? Leave a ⭐️ rating below and share it on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest!

Pasta for one served on a plate.

Pasta for One Recipe

Indulge in a swift and simple culinary delight with Pasta for One, ready in just ten minutes! This recipe demands no measuring, uses only five ingredients, and scales up effortlessly for more servings.
4.5 from 279 votes
Pin Rate
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Diet: Vegetarian
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 1
Calories: 325kcal
Author: Linda
Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • Salt
  • Dried pasta
  • Butter
  • Grated Parmesan - or other aged hard cheese
  • Black pepper

Instructions

  • Bring a saucepan with a few inches of water and a generous pinch of salt to a boil. Use just enough water to cover the noodles, ensuring a high starch concentration in the pasta water. Utilize this cooking water to finish the pasta, as the starch adds creaminess to the dish.
  • Once the water is boiling, grab a handful of long noodles about the diameter of a quarter (about 1 inch) and add them to the pot. Cook the pasta until it is flexible, but not all the way to al dente.
  • Place a 10-inch sauté 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 sauté pan.
  • Pour enough of the pasta cooking water into the sauté 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. Use a pepper grinder to thoroughly coat the pasta with freshly ground black peppercorns. When you think 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 enjoy!

VIDEO

NOTES

Storage Info:
Store leftover Pasta for One in an airtight container in the refrigerator, where it will stay good for up to 3 days. Freezing is not recommended as it may alter the texture of the pasta and sauce. To reheat, gently warm it in a skillet over low heat, adding a small amount of water or milk to loosen the sauce if needed. Alternatively, you can microwave it, covered, stirring occasionally, until heated through. Avoid high heat to prevent the pasta from becoming too soft.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 325kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 35mg | Sodium: 765mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 1g

Want more inspiration?

More Recipes You'll Love

About the Author

Linda

Hi, I'm Linda! Welcome to The Wanderlust Kitchen, where I share recipes and travel adventures from all around the world. Here you'll find a world of recipes you can have confidence in. These recipes celebrate authentic food heritage as well as modern techniques and ingredients. Be adventurous and try a new recipe and travel somewhere you have never been before.  Bon Appétit! Bon Voyage!  

Join the Conversation

Rate and Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please click on the Stars below to share your Rating of this Recipe




Comments:

  1. 4 stars
    Loved this! Easy to prepare pure deliciousness! Added garlic powder and dried parsley. This recipe satisfies my taste for “macaroni and cheese” recipes. Less fat and calories! 😊
    A favorite!!

  2. 4 stars
    Good. Had to use a lot more water than a quarter cup. I thought It was missing something and added some garlic and that took it up a notch. Next time I may Try using garlic olive oil instead of butter. Thanks for sharing a great recipe.