When winter strikes, we want food that’s rich and hearty. A big plate of pasta is a satisfying way to warm up on a cold day. From meaty ragùs to decadent cream sauces to all sorts of uses for cold-weather vegetables, we’ve rounded up our favorite winter pasta recipes.
In winter, we love rich cream sauces. It doesn’t get much more classic than fettuccine alfredo, an indulgent mix of cream and parmesan cheese. Another old-school cream sauce dish is penne alla vodka, with its peppery, vodka-laced cream and tomato sauce. For something a little different than takes advantage of a classic winter ingredient, try our gluten-free sweet potato gnocchi with gorgonzola cream sauce and walnuts.
Hearty ragùs are perfect for cold winter days. We have two gnocchi dishes with ragù sauces—earthy farro gnocchi with a fennel-laced pork ragù and Dominican-inspired plantain gnocchi with a creamy short rib ragù. Also check out our Umbrian tagliatelle with a ragù made with goose breast and liver. While ragù is typically meat-based, try our mushroom version fortified with veal stock.
Winter is a tough time for fresh produce, but certain cold-weather crops make it at least some of the way into the season. Cauliflower is one such vegetable—try our pappardelle with charred cauliflower and mustard brown butter. Squash is available throughout the winter—acorn squash is highlighted in our open-faced lasagna with smoked caciocavallo cheese.
Stay warm all winter long with our favorite winter pasta recipes.
A mix of sautéed mushrooms, toasted walnuts, ricotta, thyme, honey, and pappardelle, this pasta dish needs only a green salad on the side.
Get the recipe for Pappardelle with Mixed Mushrooms, Ricotta, and Walnuts »
Earthy sweet cauliflower adds body to this comforting pasta baked in a comforting, spicy tomato-cream sauce.
Get the recipe for Pasta with Cauliflower in a Spicy Pink Sauce »
In this Umbrian ragù, fennel pollen adds a sweet aroma and a flavor similar to that of the fennel-laced sausages found in Italian butcher shops.
Get the recipe for Farro Gnocchi with Pork Ragù »
Unlike the heavy red-sauced lasagnas served in America, this Abruzzo-style version relies on an ethereal egg and tomato sauce that puffs when the lasagna is cooked, giving it a soufflé-like appearance.
These vibrant, mildly sweet gnocchi were developed by stylist Judy Haubert as a gluten-free option to accompany Portland chef Jenn Louis’ rich Gorgonzola cream sauce.
Get the recipe for Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Gorgonzola Cream Sauce »
Ripe plantains and yucca stand in for potatoes in this version of gnocchi from the Dominican Republic, which is served with short rib ragù. A long, slow braise with red wine, cayenne, and paprika results in tender, fall-off-the-bone morsels of meat; bolstered with cream, the rich sauce is then ladled over the slightly sweet, fluffy dumplings.
Get the recipe for Plantain Gnocchi with Short Rib Ragù »
Simmering orzo slowly with butter, shallots, and chicken stock and enriched it with cream yields a silky, risotto-like texture.
The recipe for this classic Russian Jewish dish of sauteed onions tossed with pasta and buckwheat groats comes from Philip Lopate
This extra-rich version of fettuccine Alfredo is impossible to resist. Boiling the pasta until it’s just al dente allows it to soak up plenty of the creamy sauce.
Toasted sesame oil and hot chile oil spice up this porky ramen.
The secret to this simple and satisfying pasta dish is boiling the linguine until it’s just al dente, so that it will absorb plenty of the briny, winey sauce when the two are cooked together.
Get the recipe for Linguine with Clam Sauce »
Cauliflower roasted until sweet with garlic and cumin gets tossed with toothsome gemelli pasta, golden raisins, and slivered almonds for crunch.
Get the recipe for Gemelli with Roasted Garlic and Cauliflower »
A reduction of sagrantino wine, along with guanciale, flavors the sauce for this creamy gnocchi dish.
Get the recipe for Gnocchi in Sagrantino Cream Sauce (Gnocchi al Sagrantino) »
Chef Gabrielle Hamilton of New York City’s Prune restaurant gave us her recipe for this delicious pasta, which is tossed in brown butter and pine nuts, then topped with sunny-side-up eggs.
In the spirit of a classic carbonara, artist Wayne Thiebaud’s recipe from the
(Abbeville Press, 1982) combines smoky bacon and prosciutto with egg yolks and mizithra, an aged sheep’s milk cheese from Greece, for a gloriously rich dish. California Artists Cookbook Get the recipe for Wayne Thiebaud’s Spaghetti with Mizithra Cheese »
Chicken Noodle Soup
Whether or not this dish of tube-shaped penne pasta lavished with a peppery, vodka-laced cream and tomato sauce was created in Italy is a matter of heated debate in some quarters; some say it was the result of aggressive marketing on the part of vodka importers. Whatever the case, it has become firmly entrenched as an Italian American classic.
This is a pasta dish of strong flavors: Dark, earthy kale is offset by bright lemon cream and a warm, aromatic heat from crushed red chiles and garlic.
Tagliatelle with Black Truffle Cream Sauce
Crisp-tender brussels sprouts and sweet-sour cranberries balance perfectly with a tangy vermouth-based broth in this pasta dish.
Pappardelle with Cauliflower and Mustard Brown Butter
The silver-dollar-size rounds of corzetti (sometimes called croxetti) are elevated with a mushroom sauce bolstered by a savory veal stock.
Get the recipe for Corzetti Pasta with Dried Mushroom Ragù »
This layerless lasagna recipe from Philadelphia chef Marc Vetri uses an egg-rich dough, but store-bought fresh pasta sheets can be substituted.
Porcini mushrooms, white wine, and fresh herbs flavor this satisfying pasta dish, which was adapted from Lidia Bastianich’s cookbook
Lidia’s Italy (Knopf, 2007).
Traditional Roman spaghetti carbonara contains pasta, whole eggs, pancetta or guanciale (cured pork jowl), and pecorino romano cheese—never cream.
Get the recipe for Spaghetti Carbonara »
The recipe for this classic pork-enriched pasta dish comes from Salvatore Denaro, the chef at Montefalco’s Arnaldo Caprai winery.
Get the recipe for Rigatoni with Pancetta Tomato Sauce (Rigatoni all’Amatriciana) »
Nothing says love like homemade pasta. Lidia Bastianich’s recipe mixes tender, sweet Bartlett pears with sharp pecorino and creamy mascarpone to make a rich filling for ravioli.
This hearty goose ragù from Scacciadiavoli winery is flavored with fresh rosemary, sage, and a touch of dried chile.