Weeknight dinner prep is a real struggle lately. I think as the boys are getting more involved in activities and homework is more of a thing, the amount of time I have to get dinner ready is minimal. If something takes more than 20-30 minutes to make, it’s probably not going to happen! But I really try to make sitting down together at dinnertime a priority for most nights, and this One Pot Pasta With Tomato, Basil, and Mozzarella has saved the day on more than one occasion lately. It also has sausage, but honestly the title was getting a little wordy so I had to stop somewhere.
And when I say, one pot, I mean ONE POT! Which makes clean-up so fast! There’s also very minimal chopping and prep work to get this one pot party started, so that helps too. It’s super simple and I feel like it can stand on it’s own for a quick weeknight dinner, without any sides to mess with. But if you do have time, a nice crusty french loaf and a simply dressed leafy green salad are the perfect thing.
Those cute little fresh mozzarella balls (quick Italian lesson: Ciliegine – see-lay-genie meaning “small cherry” ) go in at the last minute, and the warmth of the pasta makes them soften into the most beautifully creamy little blobs (so fancy). My favorite part for sure! For having so few ingredients, this pasta packs great flavor. The fresh garlic, Italian sausage, and dried basil leaves really give it a boost, and the cooking the pasta in a chicken broth based sauce is the very best secret of all for super flavorful pasta dishes.
While this recipe calls for dried basil leaves, additional fresh basil is also a good thing too, if you have some. I had just a few little usable leaves after my basil plant was consumed by some tiny secret ninja garden pest. Literally overnight, my basil went from lush and abundant to wilted and pathetic. Any advice for what to put on herbs to keep pests from turning their leaves into lace?
At least they left enough to tear up and sprinkle over my pasta, just for a pop of freshness. Hope you get a chance to try this one pot wonder! I think I’m going back for one more bowl…
Did you make this recipe?
Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #lovelylittlekitchen
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- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/2 pound mild Italian sausage
- 2-3 cloves garlic, pressed through a garlic press
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes in sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon dried basil leaves
- 3 cups uncooked fusilli pasta
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 4 ounces Ciliegine* fresh mozzarella, halved
- 5 leaves fresh basil, torn (optional)
- In a large pan with medium high heat, crumble and brown the sausage in the olive oil until no longer pink. Add pressed garlic into the pan and stir constantly, cooking for one minute.
- Slowly add the chicken broth, scraping the browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Stir in the tomatoes, salt, sugar, basil leaves, pasta. Bring to a boil, then cover and turn heat down to medium low.
- Allow pasta to gently simmer for 10-12 minutes, stirring twice.
- When the pasta is just about done, remove the lid, stir in the heavy cream, and turn the heat up to bring the sauce to a gentle boil. Allow to boil for 2-3 minutes uncovered stirring frequently, or until sauce is slightly thickened. It will continue to thicken as it cools.
- Dot the top with fresh mozzarella (the heat of the pasta will soften it) and sprinkle with fresh basil if desired. Allow to set for 3-5 minutes before serving.
*I found these little balls of fresh mozzarella at Trader Joe’s