If there’s a thing or two I know about cooking, it’s how to make one-pot meals. Yes, I built my credibility using an Instant Pot, but as wonderful as it is, some folks who stumble across my blog just don’t want to deal with a pressure cooker and often ask me to do a stovetop version. And so it’s high time I show you how to make a one-pot pasta dish in the most amazing and simple way, with zero draining of the pasta water because it becomes the sauce! Here, we’re taking a variation of my Bean & Escarole Soup and giving it the pasta treatment with ground Italian sausage and adorable orecchiette. I call it One Pot Sausage, Bean, & Escarole Pasta and it’s a very summery dish; light in some ways, but so rich in flavor at the same time, and done with basically no effort at all.
Watch The Video!
Putting It Together
Cooking The Pasta
The Finishing Touches
A Little Rest Is Best
The Taste Test
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1-2 pounds Italian sausage (sweet, hot, or a mix), casing removed
- 1 bunch escarole, tougher white bottoms discarded, roughly chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
- 3 ½ - 4 1/2 cups chicken broth (3 1/2 cups for Instant Pot and 4 1/2 cups for stovetop)
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 pound orecchiette
- 2 (15.5-ounce) cans cannellini, navy or great northern beans(either with their juices or drained – see Jeff’s Tips)
- ½-1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
- Add the oil to a 6-8-quart Dutch oven or a nonstick 8-quart pot and bring to medium-high heat (or hit Sauté and Adjust to the High or More setting on the Instant Pot). Once shimmering, add the sausage (I use 2 pounds, but you can use 1 if you want it less meaty) and sauté for 2-3 minutes until crumbled and browned. Leave the juices in the pot as they’ll add rich flavor to the sauce!
- Add the escarole and garlic and sauté until the escarole is wilted, about another 1-2 minutes. The escarole will cook down significantly and quickly.
- Add some of the broth and deglaze (scrape) the bottom of the pan to get up anything that may have been browned onto it and then add the rest of the broth, pepper, and stir well.
- Cook The Pasta: For Stovetop: Add the pasta to the pot and stir. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium-to-medium-high so the boil is a bit more contained. Cover the pot and allow the pasta to cook for 10-15 minutes total, stirring every 5 minutes to make sure the pasta cooks evenly and doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot. When most of the broth has been absorbed by the pasta and it’s fully cooked, turn the stove to low. There should still be some liquid left and that’s what we want! For Instant Pot: Add the pasta to the pot but do not stir. Simply smooth it out so it’s mostly submerged. Secure the lid, move the valve to the sealing position and hit Cancel followed by Pressure Cook or Manual for 6minutes at High Pressure. Quick release when done. There will still be some liquid left and that’s what we want!
- Add the beans (see Jeff Tips) and Parmesan and stir until combined into the pasta. Let rest for 5 minutes to come together. Serve topped with additional Parmesan, if desired.
Adding the beans with their juices will add additional flavor and creaminess to the dish. I’d suggest starting with the juices from one can. See how you like the consistency, and then decide from there if you’d like to add the juices from the second can or have the beans from that one drained and rinsed.
To keep this vegetarian, omit the meat or use a plant-based version and use a vegetarian-friendly broth.
To keep this dairy-free, omit the Parmesan. The sauce will still come together nicely, but allow it a few extra minutes to rest in Step 5 so it comes together.