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. Landon Nordeman
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.
Pappardelle with Mixed Mushrooms, Ricotta, and Walnuts
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 »
Veal and Spinach Lasagna
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.
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.
Brown Butter Pasta
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.
Penne alla Vodka
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.
Pappardelle with Duck Sugo
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).
Pear and Cheese Ravioli (Cacio e Pere)
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.