One-pot pasta means easy cleanup on busy weeknights

This recipe uses a single pan to cook the pasta and sauce together; no need to empty a separate pot of boiling water! This is not possible by magic, but by the precise measurement of the liquid necessary to cook your pasta.

There is just enough broth for the pasta to absorb and become tender, plus a little more to create the sauce. And that sauce takes shape when you stir the pasta – hard! — after the end of cooking. Pasta releases starch during cooking, helping the liquid to thicken into a creamy sauce (without cream).

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Yield: 2 to 4 servings

Recipe note: If you can’t find ground sweet Italian sausage, you can use 1 pound sausage links; use kitchen shears to open the casings lengthwise and peel off and discard the casings before adding them to the pot in step 1.

1 pound ground mild Italian sausage

1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped

3/4 tsp salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

1/2 cup plus 3 1/2 cups chicken broth, measured separately

4 1/2 cups medium pasta shells (12 ounces)

2 cups frozen peas

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (1 ounce), plus extra for serving

2 teaspoons grated lemon zest plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice, zested and squeezed from one lemon

1. Add sausage, onion, salt, pepper and chili flakes (if using) to a Dutch oven. Use a wooden spoon to break the sausage into small pieces. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally and continuing to break up the sausage, until the sausage is lightly browned and dark brown lumps have formed at the bottom of the pan, 10 to 12 minutes. .

2. Carefully add 1/2 cup chicken broth and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 2 minutes.

3. Stir in pasta and remaining 3 1/2 cups broth. Bring the mixture to a boil.

4. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover the pan with a lid. Cook until the pasta is tender, 10-12 minutes. (A little liquid will remain in the pan.) Turn off the heat.

5. Add peas, Parmesan, lemon zest and lemon juice. Use a wooden spoon to stir vigorously for 1 minute. Let stand, uncovered, for 5 minutes to allow the peas to warm through and the sauce to thicken slightly. (The sauce will continue to thicken as the pasta cools.)

6. Use a ladle to divide the pasta into individual bowls. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan, if desired. To serve.