A friendly reminder: When it comes to feeding family or friends, ease does exist. Case in point, this one-pot pasta. I first made it when friends came for afternoon grazing and stayed, unexpectedly, for dinner. While we chatted, I dashed about the kitchen throwing noodles, a sliced onion, zucchini, and a glug of olive oil into a pot. Twenty minutes and a few stirs later (thats the catch: stir, or the pasta will stick), we had a gorgeous meal. Everyone, the adults and the kids, returned for seconds.
1. Combine the pasta, onion, 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper, basil, and chopped vegetables in a large pot with a tight-fitting lid. Add about 4 1/2 cups water (enough to just cover the pasta) and the oil. Cover and bring to a roaring boil. Stir, return the lid, and lower the heat to a simmer. Keep the pot covered and cook for 10 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes, until most of the liquid has been absorbed and evaporated.
2. Taste and add more salt and pepper as needed. Sprinkle generously with cheese and toss to coat. Serve warm, garnished with radish, if desired.