Need a quick and easy dinner perfect for busy weeknights? Here it is! This oh-so-simple one-pan garlic parmesan penne is made with just a few simple ingredients and comes together in just 20 minutes. The meatless pasta cooks to al dente in a light garlic parmesan sauce that is packed with flavor. You can also add your favorite vegetables or use any kind of dried pasta you have in your pantry.
One pot pasta recipes: defined
If you’ve been around J+N for a while, you probably know that I love a good one pan pasta recipe (like this super yummy one pan pasta with tomatoes and garlic). You know how easy it is to make pasta but when you can cook the pasta right in the sauce? Game. Changer!
Meet garlic parmesan pasta. It, too, is made in one skillet and is so easy that you are going to add it to your weekly menu rotation.
And that makes you one smart cook.
Why make dinner in one pan?
The question really is why not? Like I said…you’re really smart so you’ve probably deduced that cooking pasta right in the sauce:
Is quick and easy. Sauteeing veggies, adding pasta, some liquid and putting the lid on until it’s all cooked and happy is simple and fast!
Serve in same pan. Add a little garnish and a pretty serving spoon and you’re set!
Easy clean up. One pan means washing only 1 dish. 💃🏻
No tubes or jars. You’ll use a bunch of cloves from a head of garlic and give them all a good chop. There are so few ingredients and fresh is best in this pasta. You can even use roasted garlic for more rich flavor.
Best types of pasta to use in a one skillet recipe
Most any shape pasta will work in a one skillet recipe but these pasta shapes are some of my favorites:
- Penne (like we use here)
- Bow tie pasta (you don’t want to miss out on this chicken and spinach skillet pasta)
Wedge of parmesan cheese
TIP: use a sharp vegetable peeler to make big shards of parmesan. I love this Rikon straight edge vegetable peeler and it’s only $5! Grate some parmesan as well for a double dose of cheesy flavor!
No matter what pasta shape you use, follow the cooking time on the package directions but always taste it first!-Josie + Nina
The recipe uses garlic and onions but some other vegetables that would work in this one pan pasta are:
- a handful or two of baby spinach
- sauteed mushrooms (cook with onions and remove while the pasta cooks and add back in at the end)
- red peppers
- sweet potatoes
Dinner in 3 easy steps
Grab your wide deep skillet and assemble all your ingredients because things are going to move quickly!
- Chop up onions and garlic and saute the onions for 3 minutes. Then add the garlic, cooking until you smell it -only about 30 seconds (left)!
- Add all the herbs and seasoning along with the broth and pasta.
- Give it a big stir and put on the lid. Try not to peek because that’s how the pasta cooks!
I highly recommend the All Clad deep wide skillet and lid. It’s 12 1/2″ in diameter and holds a lot of pasta in it.
p.s. It’s also great for simmering a big pan of homemade Italian meatballs and sauce.
What to serve with garlic parmesan pasta
Tips for Success
Package up leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Place the pasta in a microwave safe bowl and add a little more broth. Cover with plastic wrap and heat in 30 second increments until heated to your preference.
Because this one pan pasta cooks up so quickly, it’s not a make ahead recipe. BONUS: it’s a great recipe to make when guests pop over unexpectedly!
Made this recipe?
I’d love it if you’d share your review and leave a star rating and comment!
Easy One Pan Penne Garlic Pasta with Parmesan
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- ¼ onion chopped
- ¼ teaspoon each of thyme and oregano
- 2 cloves sliced garlic
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 cups chicken broth, or more as needed; *see notes below
- ½ lb penne pasta
- fresh parmesan cheese, grated or use a vegetable peeler to make shards
- ½ lemon, squeezed over pasta
- Heat olive oil in a large wide skillet fitted with a lid over medium heat. Add chopped onion to the pan l for about 3 minutes Add in garlic and saute for about 30 seconds. stir in herbs and salt1 Tablespoon olive oil, ¼ onion chopped, ¼ teaspoon each of thyme and oregano, 2 cloves sliced garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Pour in chicken broth and pasta and lower heat to a simmer. Cover and cook according to package directions checking about 2 minutes before it should be done. Dress with parmesan shards and lemon if desired.2 cups chicken broth, 1/2 lb penne pasta, fresh parmesan cheese, 1/2 lemon
- Use a large wide skillet. My favorite is the All-Clad 12 1/2″ Deep Skillet with a lid
- Adjust the cook time for the pasta based on the pasta of choice and package directions.
- Resist the urge to lift the skillet lid. You want the pasta to absorb all the liquid in order to cook evenly.
- Taste the pasta about 2 minutes before it should be done. You want it firm but not undercooked. Add a little more broth and cover to cook for a few more minutes.
- Cooked chicken breast strips or bites for when protein is needed. My foolproof method for cooking chicken breasts is the perfect recipe plus you can use the broth that is made for the recipe to save a little bit of money!
- Baby spinach leaves added during the last two minutes of cooking
- Saute some mushrooms in the skillet and remove them before adding the broth and pasta. This keeps them firm and slightly crispy. Add them in during the last two minutes of cooking.
- Crushed red pepper for a little heat