Jennifer Causey
Hands-on Time
29 Mins
Total Time
29 Mins
Serves 4 (serving size: about 2 cups pasta mixture and 1 tablespoon cheese)

This pasta dinner is a game changer: You use just enough liquid to cook the pasta--no colander needed. Recipe adapted from our sister publication Southern Living. Cost for 4: $8.43

How to Make It

Step 1

Heat a Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add oil; swirl to coat.

Step 2

Add onion and garlic to pan; sauté 3 minutes or until onion starts to brown.

Step 3

Add tomatoes, stock, oregano, and pasta, in that order. Bring to a boil.

Step 4

Stir to submerge noodles in liquid.

Step 5

Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 7 minutes or until pasta is almost done.

Step 6

Uncover; stir in salt.

Step 7

Add spinach in batches, stirring until spinach wilts. Remove from heat; let stand 5 minutes.

Step 8

Sprinkle with cheese.

Step 9

Riff: Use fresh grape tomatoes instead, and add fresh herbs.

Step 10

Riff: Swap out spaghetti for any short pasta shape, such as elbow macaroni, rotini, or shells.

Step 11

Riff: Try adding chopped skinless, boneless chicken thighs, ground beef, or ground turkey for a heartier dish.

Chef's Notes

MyRecipes is working with Let's Move!, the Partnership for a Healthier America, and USDA's MyPlate to give anyone looking for healthier options access to a trove of recipes that will help them create healthy, tasty plates. For more information about creating a healthy plate, visit

Also appeared in: Cooking Light, March, 2015 ; All You, April, 2015

Ratings & Reviews

rebelfan's Review

March 08, 2015
I made based on recipe and really enjoyed this. So easy and in one pot! I used a can of diced tomatoes and a few chopped Roma tomatoes. I'm going to add some grilled chicken next time. I'll definitely make again! Good for family and friends for dinner.

lali13's Review

February 21, 2015
Good comfort food. I did not have problems with the pasta sticking or breaking, but I used an extra can of tomatoes when I discovered I only had 5 ounces of spinach to use.

GeeLisa's Review

February 24, 2015
We thought this recipe was amazing. It was so quick and easy, perfect for a busy night. Unlike the other reviews, I thought the amount of liquid and the amount of spinach were perfect. Most of the liquid was absorbed and what wasn't kind of worked with the starch from the pasta to make an almost creamy like texture on the noodles. I used regular diced tomatoes and not petite. One important note: During step 5, it doesn't say to stir the noodles periodically, but you'll need to as they want to stick to the bottom of the pan.

Simple ingredients, simple to make = will make again

March 17, 2015
We live on an out island in the Bahamas and it is rare that a Cooking Light recipe features ingredients we can actually obtain. But here we are with fresh tomatoes and fresh spinach and fresh garlic and onions...oooh, this recipe will work! And work it did. Really a very tasty dish--the strands of spaghetti were coated with a silky goodness, the spinach stood up to the pasta, and the fresh cherry tomatoes held it all together. We ate it with a side of grilled andouille sausage and we would cook the same dish again!


October 21, 2015
This was delicious and extremely simple to make.  We all loved it and will definitely be making it again.  I added freshly cooked Italian sausage but is great alone or with chicken, meatballs etc.

Weeknight good

October 30, 2015
Cooking the noodles in the sauce really infuses flavor in the noodles. I followed the recipe and after the noodles softened, I felt it need more sauce; had a 1/2 cup of tomato juice in the refrigerator, added that & it was perfect for my taste. Good, quick weeknight meal.

Great weeknight recipe, quick and good!!

February 11, 2016
This dish was so simple to make and so delicious. I followed directions exactly and was very, very pleased with the result.  I will try adding a protein next time. The surprise was my husband, who usually balks at new things, asked how I did that as he really enjoyed it.  I think using the whole wheat pasta (I used a corkscrew pasta) and cooking it in the broth and tomatoes is such a great idea, really pumps up the flavor.  I could have eaten several helping!!  Thanks for a great recipe and one which can be modified to fit what you have on hand.

One of my favorites

October 12, 2017
This recipe is SO easy to make, it tastes wonderful, and it's easy on your wallet!  It's one of my go-to weeknight meals.  I use 'barilla plus' pasta and low sodium vegetable stock.  This is also a great recipe to add your favorite veggies to.  I like to add sliced cremini mushrooms and extra fresh halved cherry tomatoes sometimes.  If you have a smaller pot or dutch oven, break the spaghetti in half so it's all submerged at once.

Very tasty and easy to make

October 23, 2017
I followed the recipe exactly EXCEPT I added cooked, crumbled up bacon.  We thought it was delicious and both had seconds.  I think the leftovers aren't long for this world!! 

Family Favorite

March 12, 2019
I've made this now four or five times and realized I should probably leave a review for it. This dish is great - simple and delicious - and it's become a common request in my house!It does barely serve 4, at least in my experience, so I'd recommend doubling the recipe if you're serving more people than that.