Our friends at Fresh off the Grid love one pot camping meals and this simple One Pot Pesto Pasta just might be their favorite yet. All you need is a skillet and a single burner camp stove to get started.
This is a great summertime camping meal that features a ton of bright, fresh flavors: cherry tomatoes, zucchini, pesto, pine nuts, and bacon. It’s like the greatest hits of summer!
The real creativity of one-pot meals comes from the sequencing. It’s all about figuring out the right order to cook your ingredients. If done properly, you can layer flavors one on top of the others (all while reducing the number of pans you’ll need to clean later!) It’s a win-win for everyone. Read on to learn our one-pot pasta technique!
For this recipe, the first step is to fry the bacon. This will render out fat into the skillet, which is pretty much straight bacon flavor. So once the bacon is done, remove it from the skillet, and use all that delicious bacon grease to cook your vegetables. (It’s a scientific fact that vegetables cooked in bacon grease taste 100% more like bacon).
When the zucchini starts to brown and the tomatoes start to blister, it’s time to add in the pasta. You can pour the dry pasta right into the skillet, followed by a few cups of water. The water will start to boil almost instantly from the hot skillet, so watch out for steam. The goal is to just almost cover the pasta and veggies with water. As the water simmers, you’ll stir frequently to keep the pasta cooking evenly.
As the pasta cooks the water will evaporate from the skillet via steam. Additionally, the pasta will absorb some of the water while releasing starch. So once the pasta is finished cooking, you should be left with just a little bit of really really starchy water at the bottom. This starchy water is perfect for making your pesto sauce.
Using either homemade or store-bought pesto, take a few dollops and stir it into the cooked pasta. Stir somewhat vigorously as this will help to create an emulsion between the starchy water and the oils in the pesto. This emulsion results in a thick sauce that clings to your pasta instead of running off.
Crumble the bacon back in, sprinkle on some pine nuts, and you’re done! A fresh and delicious one-pot pasta dish that is sure to become a new camping favorite.
- 2 slices bacon
- 2 zucchinis, sliced
- Handful of cherry tomatoes
- 2 cups pasta
- ¼ cup pesto
- ¼ cup parmesan
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts
- Salt + pepper