So I tried the one-pot pasta dish and it worked! Although both I and CPP had our doubts, the pasta turned out al dente and not broken (I used the small penne from Trader Joe’s). I had to resist (heroically) the urge to throw in more liquid while it was cooking, but to my surprise, it all came out tasty. I was fairly precise about the amount of pasta I used (weighed out 12 oz with a scale) and that may have helped — as compared to my usual eyeballing everything. The amount of liquid was exactly right; nothing was burnt nor was anything soggy.
I didn’t take pictures. Next time I make it I’ll make a few different flavoring choices than the ones I used, but that’s a feature, not a bug. All the liquid absorbed and made a light sauce that was neither runny nor heavy, and not too much of it, either. I used chicken stock in place of plain water. The fresh basil is om nom nom. I think next time I’ll put in some wodges of fresh mozzarella. The sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil were just right.
Saving water and still eating pasta == WINNING.
(I’m still surprised, but I also just polished off the leftovers, and there’s no arguing with that!)