One Pot Pasta with Ricotta Clouds

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Do you remember the 2013 trend of One Pot Pasta? I was mind-blown when I first tried it, loving the simplicity. Boiling pasta in water, with onions, garlic, and tomatoes, was an easy dinner! I wondered if I could create something similar, but with a heartier, richer flavor. I also had a vision of cool ricotta clouds sitting on a pile of steamy pasta. After a few failed attempts of edible, but boring pasta, I came up with this dish that was a hit with our whole family!

One Pot Pasta Side View

15 Minutes from Start to Finish

The best part about this one pot pasta is that it is so easy. It is literally 15 minutes from start to finish. But it tastes like you spent a lot longer on it! The secret is the layers of flavor. To start out, grab your favorite big pot and cook up some Italian sausage. Once it is cooked, pour it into a bowl and set it aside. This is the only extra dish that you will have and it doesn’t really count since it is a small item that can be thrown in the dishwasher.

Italian Sausage for One Pot Pasta

Just One Pot and Done

There is no need to wipe out the pan. The sausage bits will help season the rest of the dish. Add a teaspoon of oil and saute the onions and spinach, then add in your spaghetti sauce, pesto, red pepper, water, and pasta. Bring everything to a boil and cook to the al dente recipe time that is directed on your pasta package. Side note: Any shaped noodle would work for this recipe. We love cavatappi because the curly shape with ridged lines allow the pasta to hold up really well and not get mushy, which can sometimes happen with a one pot pasta. You could also use elbow noodles, farfalle, penne, or other medium-shaped noodles.

One Pot Pasta Cooking

Ricotta Clouds are Dreamy

When dishing up this pasta I like to sprinkle a little Parmesan cheese and fresh basil over the top, to add another dimension of flavor. If you have it, use it! But if you don’t, the pasta will still be delicious. What cannot be skipped is the ricotta. First, it makes it look like you were working hard in the kitchen all day. No one will guess that this was a 15-minute meal! But most importantly, the cool and creamy ricotta offers a welcomed break from the subtle spiciness of the pasta. It keeps the heat from building so that every bite can be enjoyed.

When you try this recipe, please rate and comment as that helps other people discover it as well!

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One Pot Pasta with Ricotta Clouds

Rich and hearty pasta is cooked all in one pot. So easy! And then topped with heavenly clouds of creamy ricotta. Simple gourmet!
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6
Calories 542 kcal


  • 1 lb Italian sausage
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cups spinach, roughly chopped
  • 24 oz spaghetti sauce
  • 1/4 cup pesto
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 lb shaped pasta (like Cavatappi, fusilli, or penne)
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, optional
  • 2 tbsp basil chiffonade, optional
  • 1 1/2 cups Ricotta cheese


  • In a large pot, brown sausage over medium heat until there is no pink. If there are large chunks, break into smaller nickel-sized pieces. Once cooked, pour into a bowl and set aside
  • While sausage is cooking, chop your onion and spinach. Once sausage has been removed from pan, add 1 teaspoon of oil into pan and cook onion for 1 minute. Add in spinach and cook an additional 3 minutes, or until vegetables are soft.
  • Add pasta sauce, pesto, red pepper, water, and pasta to pan. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Cook according to the package directions for your pasta, stirring occasionally. (Ours was 9 minutes for al dente.)
  • Add sausage back into the pan and stir until dispersed throughout pasta.
  • To serve, spoon into bowls or on plates. Top with Parmesan and basil, if using.
  • Using a tablespoon, scoop a heaping cloud of Ricotta and place it on top of the individual portion of the pasta. Serve immediately.


Nutrition Facts
One Pot Pasta with Ricotta Clouds
Amount per Serving
Calories from Fat 0
% Daily Value*
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Keyword 15 minute meal, 30 minute meal, one pot pasta, ricotta clouds, sausage
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