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A one-hour, one-pot recipe to welcome fall

With kids back in school (in some form or another) and many parents still working from home, it’s a perfect time to add a great-tasting, quick-cooking meal to your recipe rotation. In this one-pot recipe, lively lemon zest, bright peas and summery basil combine with pasta, meat and vegetables for a satisfying, light and lively fall dish.

In the Test Kitchen, we’ve found that the best way to pull off a one-pot pasta dinner is to forgo the standard approach of boiling, draining and saucing the pasta. Instead, we cook the pasta in a carefully controlled amount of liquid that reduces into a flavorful sauce. (Not only does it make for a more cohesive dish, it also dirties fewer dishes.) For this recipe, that optimal amount of liquid was 4 cups for 12 ounces of pasta.

Before we cooked the pasta, we made a flavorful base by taking a few links of sweet Italian sausage out of their casings and browning the crumbles in a Dutch oven with sliced cremini mushrooms. We then deglazed the pot with dry white wine and added the pasta and water. Once the pasta was al dente, we turned off the heat and stirred in frozen peas (no need to thaw), basil, Parmesan, and some lemon zest for brightness.

One final step remained: stirring it all vigorously for a minute. Agitating the components this way knocked starch from the pasta into the small amount of cooking liquid, transforming it into a sauce that lightly cloaked each shell.

In just about an hour, we had a substantial, tasty meal that would please the whole family after a busy day.

One-Pot Pasta with Sausage, Mushrooms and Peas

Recipe by America’s Test Kitchen



In this one-pot recipe, lively lemon zest, bright peas and summery basil combine with pasta, meat and vegetables for a satisfying, light and lively fall dish.


  • 1 pound cremini mushrooms, trimmed and sliced thin

  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed

  • 2 shallots, chopped

  • 1 1/4 teaspoons table salt

  • 1 teaspoon pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

  • 1/2 cup dry white wine

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

  • 4 cups water

  • 2 cups frozen peas

  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped

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

  • 2 teaspoon grated lemon zest, plus lemon wedges for serving


  • In a large Dutch oven set over high heat, cook the mushrooms, sausage, shallots, salt, pepper and pepper flakes, stirring mixture frequently and breaking up meat with wooden spoon, until liquid has evaporated and browned bits have formed on bottom of pot, about 15 minutes.
  • Add wine and cook, scraping up any browned bits, until the liquid has evaporated, about 2 minutes.
  • Stir in pasta and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until pasta is al dente, about 10 minutes (some liquid will remain in the bottom of the pot).
  • Off heat, add the peas, basil, Parmesan and lemon zest. Stir vigorously for 1 minute, until sauce has thickened. Serve, passing lemon wedges and extra Parmesan separately.


  • You can substitute white mushrooms for the cremini mushrooms and 12 ounces (3 1/3 cups) of orecchiette for the medium pasta shells, if desired. The pasta will not absorb all the cooking liquid in Step 2; stirring vigorously in Step 3 helps thicken the sauce so it will coat the pasta.
  • For a nonalcoholic version, substitute 1/2 cup of water for the wine in Step 2 and stir in 1 tablespoon of lemon juice with the lemon zest in Step 3. There is no need to thaw the peas.
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