Pasta, rice and a rich tomato sauce, the base of my One Pan Italian South African Recipe. To that add butter, parmesan cheese and an additional homemade sauce to finish. The sauce to finish was my last minute "hack" which quite literally took this dish from a regular pasta bake to wow that was amazing!
This one pan Italian South African recipe is the inspiration from my Saucy Meatball Pasta - Italian South African Recipe
We all know and love one pan meals for the sheer convenience of adding everything to the pan, into the oven to bake and done! The best part of this recipe is that you don't even have to cook the rice and pasta before hand. You simply add everyting into dish to bake. However, there are a few things that will take your one pan bake to next level deliciouness, that I am sharing with you.
Tomato sauce and marinara sauce, fresh pasta, aubergine and artichoke are some of the first Italian foods that I fell in love with. As a family we are huge cultural food enthusiasts, but making meals like this one pan pasta dish feels like home.
What You Will Need
Oven gloves: A good pair of oven gloves, don't have to be new but thick enough to hold the dish because it's quite heavy when it's full.
Oven safe dish: Obviously it would depend on how big your family is but regardless, it still needs to be bigger than you would normally use. Remember you have rice, pasta and sauce in here. My dish is your regular roasting dish that you make roast potatoes in probably? Let's say roughly a 32 cm.
Ingredients For One Pan Italian South African Recipe
This is a very easy recipe and it goes quick, so make sure that you have everything ready. My routine here is to add as I go which allows me to experiment with the ingredients. For the purpose of this recipe I have photographed some ingredients for you.
Okay, ingredients that have been pictured are in the images below. We know by now that the recipe includes pasta and rice.
Tomatoes: Even though this a lot of tomato, remember that pasta absorbs liquid and when you add rice to that, even more liquid is being absorbed. The oven is another culprit for drying out food if you dont add enough moisture. Wait for my last minute hack that took it all the way over delicous!
Canned tomato, passata, stock and water. The water is about a cup full and it's water that was poured into the empty tomato cans. You know how Italian are about not wasting anything? That includes any leftover tomato juices in the can or traces of it😀
How To Make One Pan Italian South African Recipe
Start with the chicken: I used chicken breast that I cut into cubes but you can use any chicken. In this recipe with rice and sauce I used chicken drumsticks.
Add olive oil, spices, salt and pepper, garllic and parmesan cheese. Use your hands to combine everything together. Add chopped parsely and set aside. Nothing gets the spices and seasoning into meat when cooking like using your hands.
Make the Sauce: In an oven dish add the rice, spices and seasoning, stock, tomatoes, tomato passata, chopped parsley and onions.
Pasta and Chicken: Add the pasta and chicken and any remaining liquid you have. There is no need to add all the liquid at one time, God forbid it's too much. Halfway through, check your pasta and add the remaining stock or tomato passata.
You can add all the ingredients to the dish and bake but this blog is all about building flavor layers. We add, stir, add part thereof and then the remaining.
Butter for extra measure: Once the ingredients are in and you are ready to bake, add a few pieces of butter, remaining parmesan cheese and parsely.
Bake: Bake in a preheated oven at 200°C/400°F (Fan) for 30 to 40 minutes.
On 20 minutes take it out and check that it's not going dry, if it is, add some of the tomato water or whichever liquid you have left. Find the full recipe card below.
FAQ's One Pan Italian South African Recipe
Should you pan sear the chicken before oven baking?
No. This is not at all necessary especially since we are making a one pot dish. You are more than welcome to pan sear first but the reason we pan sear is to build flavor and this recipe lacks no flavor!
How long does a one pan chicken dish take to oven bake?
Chicken breast one pan dishes take about 20 to 30 minutes to cook. Chicken thighs or drumsticks can take 30 to 40 minutes. It also depends on quantity, this recipe feeds a family of 6 to eight it did bake for 35 minutes.
A little about oven types that might help.
What Is A Fan Assisted Oven?
I know this as I use a fan assisted oven which is also known as an electric oven or a convection oven. It has a heating element on the top and at the bottom with a fan in the back which helps with even cooking.
What Is A Conventional Oven?
Conventional ovens have to generate a lot of heat to keep consistencey and they have a heating element top and bottom. The bottom is primaly used to generate heat for cooking foods like roast meats etc. and the top is for grilling. They also don't have a fan so you have to keep rotating your food to get even cooking.
This one pan Italian South African recipe of mine is baked on 200°C which would be 392°F and gas mark 6. On conventional add 20 so you would set your oven to 220°C. These are close approximates.
Pasta: You can use any pasta for this recipe but if you're using different types as we did, then make sure that they are more or less the same size for even cooking.
Extra crispy rice: This is a quick & easy pan fried/sauteed rice for over the top which is entirely optional because it's not needed but very delicious!
Sauce: Another last minute hack to add an extra saucy layer of texture and flavor.
Refrigerates in a sealed container in the fridge for 2 to 3 days thereafter you can freese this family meal. It's always a good idea to use freezer friendly meal prep containers if you may be needing it in smaller quantities.
Suggested Extra Toppings For Pasta Bakes
I love experimenting in the kitchen on what food flavors work but more than that is how those flavors can awaken the taste buds.
Crispy fried rice: When this one pan dish comes out the oven, it's ready to be served. Please note that adding crispy rice sautéed in butter for over the top is optional.
Curried sauce: This is also another 'extra' but it adds a whole new layer of saucy, tasty and delicious tomato gravy type of flavor. This is how you make it: See below the images for a short method and the full recipe card is below.
Melt the remaining butter and add a tablespoon of olive oil. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of harissa paste, curry leaves and a pinch of salt. It will heat up in a minute and start simmering, remove it from the stove and pour over your bake just before serving.Don't leave it on the stove too long, it will simmer all the sauce up!
Pour this sauce over the pasta for incredible flavor! You can also use it sauce for chicken, fish, veggies and sandwiches.
Fuss Free Family Meals
- Pasta e Fagioli (Italian Pasta & Beans)
- Creamy Chicken Pasta Soup
- Creamy Bacon Pasta
- Mushroom Pasta
- Macaroni Pasta Bake
One Pan Italian South African Recipe
- Oven casserole dish
- oven gloves
- 4 chicken breasts
- olive oil
- 1 tablespoon vegetable spice
- 2 Tbsps garlic and herb spice
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- salt and pepper
- 4 garlic cloves, minced (3 to 4 cloves)
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 cup parmesan, divided
- 1 cup basmati rice, uncooked
- 2 cans chopped tomatoes (800 grams)
- 1 cup tomato passata
- 1 cup tomato water (water swirled in the tomato cans)
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 2 cups pasta, any uncooked
- 73 grams unsalted butter
- 2 Tbsps fresh parsley, chopped
- Preheat the oven to 200C/390F or 180C/350F (fan/convection).
- Add the spices and seasoning into a small bowl.
- Chicken: Start by slicing the chicken breast into half lenthways and then into cubes. Place the chicken cubes on a plate and add about a tablespoon of olive oil, half the combined spices, all the salt and pepper, all the minced garlic and half the parmesan cheese. Add about a teaspoon of the chopped fresh parsley and set the chicken aside.4 chicken breasts, 1 tablespoon vegetable spice, 2 Tbsps garlic and herb spice, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, salt and pepper, 4 garlic cloves, minced (3 to 4 cloves), 1 medium onion, diced, 1 cup parmesan, divided, olive oil
- Add The Ingredients: Using an oven safe baking dish 30cm add the basmati rice, some of the spices and seasonings, half the stock, give the dish a gentle shake to disperse the stock and spice into the rice, add half the chopped tomatoes and with a spoon, gently mix together. Pour in half the passata, a teaspoon or two of chopped parsley, mix. Pour in the remaining stock and onions. Use a wooden spoon to gently mix.Add the remaining chopped tomatoes and give it another gently mix. Now add the pasta (here, we are using two different types of pasta, see more in the notes below). These ingredients are not 'dumped' into the dish. They go in one at a time, in parts, mix inbetween and contine adding until all the ingredients are used. Building the layers is as important as not over cooking, it's all in the taste.1 cup basmati rice, uncooked, 2 cans chopped tomatoes (800 grams), 1 cup tomato passata, 2 cups chicken stock, 2 cups pasta, any uncooked, 73 grams unsalted butter
- Prep To Bake: Add the chicken, remaining parmesan cheese, add the cubed butter across the top and finish of with chopped parsley and a little of the mixed spices. Leave a little parsley to garnish.2 Tbsps fresh parsley, chopped
- Bake for 20 to 35 minutes checking halfway. If it's getting a bit dry, add any of the liquids that you have left, stock, tomato water from the cans or plain water. Pour less than a quarter cup in from the sides of the dish making sure you don't add it all in one side. Pour the liquid in different parts of the dish and only where it needs it.1 cup tomato water (water swirled in the tomato cans)
Fried rice for 'extra measure' (Optional)
- You can reserve a half cup of rice when you cook it. Melt butter in a non-stick pan, add spices and seasonings, add the rice and let it fry for a minute or two. Add this on top of the bake when it comes out the oven.
Extra sauce for incredible flavor! (optional but strongly suggested)
- Same pan (if you made the above step), melt the remaining butter and add a tablespoon of olive oil. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of harissa paste, curry leaves and a pinch of salt. It will heat up in a minute and start simmering, remove it from the stove and pour over your bake just before serving. Don't leave it on the stove too long, it will simmer all the sauce up!