A white enamel pot with a blue rim with spaghetti, chili flakes, and oil in the bottom. A set of wooden tongs sits inside.
Deirdre Rooney
1 of 6

Spaghetti with Garlic and Chile Flakes

This simple spaghetti with garlic and chile flakes couldn’t be more simple. Just spaghetti, garlic, oil, and red pepper flakes. Great for lunch, snack, or a fast weeknight dinner.
Pot filled with pastina with butter and milk and a wooden spoon all on a towel.
Christopher Hirsheimer
2 of 6

Pastina with Butter and Milk

This simple pasta dish is an easy Italian comfort food made with star-shaped pasta and pantry staples. Soothing to kids of all ages.
A white bowl filled with pasta soup with potatoes and pancetta on a linen cloth with a spoon resting on the edge of the bowl.
Kate Whitaker
3 of 6

Pasta Soup with Potatoes and Pancetta

This pasta soup with potatoes and pancetta is a traditional Italian soup made with potatoes, carrots, and leeks, tender pasta and diced pancetta. Hearty cold-weather comfort food.
3-ingredient macaroni and cheese--elbow macaroni, cream, Cheddar cheese--in a yellow casserole with a wooden spoon.
Suech & Beck
4 of 6

3 Ingredient Macaroni and Cheese

Mac and cheese doesn’t get any easier than this 3 ingredient macaroni and cheese. The 3 ingredients? Elbow macaroni, heavy cream, and Cheddar cheese. And it takes just 20 minutes.
Quick cacio e pepe in a large black serving bowl beside a bowl of shredded cheese and a bowl of black pepper.
5 of 6

Quick Cacio e Pepe

For this cacio e pepe recipe, pasta is tossed with butter, olive oil, Parmesan and Pecorino Romano cheeses, all dusted with lots of black pepper.
A cooked leftover pasta frittata on a round metal pan.
Ed Anderson
6 of 6

Leftover Pasta Frittata

This mashup of pasta and frittata combines some of my favorite comfort foods for a rich, cheesy, inexpensive pantry meal. And the variations are endless, too.

About David Leite

David Leite has received three James Beard Awards for his writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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  1. One of the best examples of a single-pot pasta meal right here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXxW5cbDC2Y

    The cheeseburger casserole from Recipe Tin Eats is also a great one.

    There’s something about these one-pot dishes, especially ones that mix through pasta. Heck, recently I simply mixed butter with banana ketchup and some garlic granules as a stir-through dish for some spaghetti – plus a small pinch of curry powder. Throw some reserved succotash, and you have a solid meal (I also might have cooked some chicken nuggets to plump it out further). It is funny how you get more frugal and inventive with cooking after the experience, what you should have had from earlier days.