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Polish the One-Pot Pasta.

Like I said before, I hate scrolling through someone's life-story before getting to the recipe so first things first...

Our go-to camping recipe: Polish the Pot Pasta


Box of Spaghetti

Can of tomatoes* (cherry or diced), preferably with the tab lid

1 cooking onion

2 cloves garlic

Red wine


Oil or butter

Salt & Pepper

Fresh herbs**

I know cans are not ideal in back country, if I ever find a pouch of tomatoes I'm willing to try but it's just a matter of "what you bring in, you take out". Don't litter campsites and/or try to burn cans, both bad ideas. The tab lid saves me from struggling with my swiss army knife can opener - remember this is an amateur blog haha.

I've found fresh herbs keep reasonably well in our cooler bag if wrapped tight in a wet paper towel, and with our patio bursting - why not.

  1. Put camping pot on burner - low. Once heated add tbsp of oil of choice.

  2. Dice onion and mince garlic. Add onion into the pot and sauté, once softened add garlic.

  3. Chop fresh herbs and add to pot (I used a mixture of basil, oregano, and thyme - saving some extra basil leaves for garnish).

  4. Empty can of tomatoes into pot. Fill and "rinse" can with filtered water, pouring the mixture into the pot.

  5. Fill can with red wine and pour into the pot.

  6. Season with salt and pepper, allow sauce to come to a simmer.

  7. Once everyone is "happy in the pot" as I put it - break spaghetti into half and throw into the simmering sauce (usually end up using 3/4 of the spaghetti box and burning the rest).

  8. Cook pasta in the sauce until it's al dente, ~13 minutes. Be sure to stir frequently - one-pot pasta has a tendency of sticking to the bottom, especially on a camping stove. You may also have to stir in a little more water if things start looking too thick and the pasta is still hard.

  9. I personally like to finish my pastas off with 2 pats of butter to "gloss the sauce" and garnish with fresh basil.

  10. Enjoy!

Now that you have the recipe, please excuse me for some additional commentary. Since we're getting to know each other, while I may be an amateur backcountry I am a food and health professional - a Registered Dietitian in fact.

I fricken love food, but I also care about food safety and the science behind it.

So let's address a few things here... firstly, the one pot pasta method does not result in your usual tasting pasta. Why? When you cook pasta in a big ol' pot of water, it releases starches into the water - that water is #goals in terms of thickening a sauce which is why recipes often call for you to reserve some starchy cooking water. BUT when pasta is cooked into a reducing sauce, you're not draining that starchy water out - the result is a "gummier" texture. Personally, I don't mind because it cuts one step out of the process and there's less pots and pans to clean at the end of the day but wanted to give full disclosure.

On the topic of butter, I've had many a debate over the years on whether it should be left out in a butter dish at room temp or in the fridge. When I'm at home, I leave it in the fridge because it maintains the quality of the butter for longer and I really have no reason not to. When it comes to backcountry camping, I always bring a frozen stick or two of unsalted butter in my cooler because's delicious, could use the extra calories after a day of paddling, and I NEED it for scrambled eggs and sauce glossing. Packing it frozen in the cooler helps it keep shape and consistency for the 3 day trips and as for food safety? Butter is more than 80% fat so before there's any microbes growing on it you're more likely to get a rancid funky smell/taste and let's be honest in the backcountry... melted butter.

So that's that - this is my "Polish the Pot Pasta", I've made it successfully on more than one backcountry trip so don't @ me if you don't polish the pot, remember this is amateur hour.


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