40 Essential Pasta Recipes for Olive-Oiled, Red-Sauced Happiness

Twirl your way to greatness with our best pasta recipes—from linguini to tortellini and lasagna

Pasta—the most comforting carb with limitless varieties—is a staple the world over. A cousin of Asian noodles, pasta was brought to Italy where it became the starchy staple for a cuisine synonymous with simple, hearty, home cooking.

In most cases, pasta perfection is simple: boil your noodles to the firmness of your liking, add a lovely pasta sauce, add some toppings, and voila! You have yourself the ultimate meal. And as any Italian will tell you, labor-intensive homemade pasta is a nice touch, but though there's no shame in using dried pasta. While some pastas, like lasagna, rank among our most time-consuming recipes, pasta at home can also be lightning quick when needed: easy, quick pasta recipes come together in less than 30 minutes. Pasta is so versatile, you can shape the dough in pretty much any shape you want, and the versatility of pasta makes it perfect for both winter and summer.

From fettuccine to tortellini, here are the 45 essential pasta recipes in our arsenal.

Spaghetti With Garlic and Olive Oil
Nick Pasta Recipe
Classically Roman, this garlicky pasta dish—as interpreted by Nick Anderer of Maialino and Marta in New York City—is brightened with pepperoncino and a handful of vibrant parsley. It gets a hit of salt from grated Grana Padano and roundness from extra-virgin olive oil. Get the recipe for Spaghetti With Garlic and Olive Oil »Michelle Heimerman
Drunken Spaghetti
Drunken Spaghetti
Spaghetti gets cooked in red wine in this quick pasta dish that comes together in under half an hour. Get the recipe for Drunken Spaghetti »Michelle Heimerman
Tortellini in Broth
Tortellini in Broth
Adapted from Trattoria Sostanza, a Florentine institution, this prosciutto-and-cheese-stuffed pasta is served in a simple chicken broth. Get the recipe for Tortellini in Broth »Michelle Heimerman
Chestnut Tortellini with Shallots and Sage Sauce
chestnut tortellini
These fresh tortellini are made from a mixture of all-purpose flour and subtly sweet chestnut flour, then stuffed with pungent, savory chestnut purée and fluffy ricotta. Resting the dough overnight gives the tortellini a saturated brown color and deep, complex flavor. Get the recipe for Chestnut Tortellini with Shallots and Sage Sauce »Heami Lee
Pasta Cacio e Pepe (Cheese and Pepper Pasta)
Cacio e Pepe
Less is more in an elemental Roman pasta dish which takes its spiciness from cracked black pepper toasted in oil. Get the recipe for Pasta Cacio e Pepe (Cheese and Pepper Pasta) »Helen Rosner
Spring Pea Ravioli with Prosciutto & Pea Shoots
Dinner Party, Spring Pea Ravioli
Homemade ravioli is a great weekend project recipe. Make them on a Sunday and freeze them for the week ahead; you can pop them directly in the boiling water from the freezer—they'll just need an extra minute or so to cook. Get the recipe for Spring Pea Ravioli with Prosciutto & Pea Shoots »Farideh Sadeghin
Summer Bolognese
Simple Weeknight Meal, Summer bolognese
This recipe for summer bolognese has the classic comfort of bolognese, but without the heaviness of a red sauce, instead embracing the summer's bounty of gorgeous tomatoes and fresh basil. Get the recipe for Summer Bolognese »Farideh Sadeghin
Pasta Primavera
Pasta Primavera
Hearty roasted vegetables and cheesy Parmigiano-Reggiano adorn this welcoming pasta. Get the recipe for Pasta Primavera »Matt Taylor-Gross
Penne alla Vodka
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. Get the recipe for Penne alla Vodka »Landon Nordeman
Fettucine with Corn Crema and Charred Green Onions
Fettucine with Corn Crema and Charred Green Onions
For a creamy texture—without the cream—purée fresh, starchy corn into a thick sauce and toss with smoky scallions for a succulent summer pasta. Get the recipe for Fettucine with Corn Crema and Charred Green Onions »Matt Taylor-Gross
Linguine with Clam Sauce
Linguine with Clam Sauce
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 »Landon Nordeman
Lobster Linguine with Chiles
Lobster Linguine with Chiles
This summery pasta, from award-winning chef Fulvio Pierangelini at his restaurant, Irene, in Florence, Italy, is enriched with the lobsters' coral, or roe sac. It adds a pop of briny flavor to the pasta, but can be omitted if the lobsters you buy don't contain it. Get the recipe for Lobster Linguine with Chiles »Christina Holmes
Spaghetti With Lamb and Sweet Pepper Ragù
Spaghetti Alla Chitarra
Lighter than the rich beef and pork ragùs of other Italian regions, this Abruzzo specialty features bell peppers mixed into the sauce and cooked briefly so they retain their shape and lend a pop of sweetness. It is typically served over spaghetti alla chitarra. Get the recipe for Spaghetti With Lamb and Sweet Pepper Ragù »Marcus Nilsson
Pasta with Sweetbread and Tripe Ragù (Rigatoni Pajata alla Finta)
Pasta with Sweetbread and Tripe Ragù (Rigatoni Pajata alla Finta)
Braised in a spicy tomato sauce, sweetbreads and tripe become tender and succulent, while ricotta adds rich creaminess and mint a refreshing, springlike accent to this Italian pasta. Get the recipe for Pasta with Sweetbread and Tripe Ragù (Rigatoni Pajata alla Finta) »Matt Taylor-Gross
Fusilli With Scampi, Cranberry Beans, and Peas
Fusilli with scampi, cranberry, beans and peas, Maine picnic
We whipped up this tasty dish during a trip to Venice, using fresh ingredients we found at the local markets. Substitute good-quality baby shrimp for Venetian scampi. Get the recipe for Fusilli With Scampi, Cranberry Beans, and Peas »Farideh Sadeghin
Spaghettini with Carrots, Olives, and Red Endive
Spaghettini with Carrots, Olives, and Red Endive
Carrot ribbons cooked al dente and lightly braised red endive add color to this simple vegetable-packed pasta dish, brightened with lots of lemon zest. Get the recipe for Spaghettini with Carrots, Olives, and Red Endive »Matt Taylor-Gross
Sausage and Arugula Pasta Salad
Sausage and Arugula Pasta Salad
Pasta salads are essential summer food: they travel well; they're easy to adapt to whatever produce you have on-hand; and they're simple to make in large portions, making them perfect dishes to carry to parties, picnics, and barbecues. Get the recipe for Sausage and Arugula Pasta Salad »Farideh Sadeghin
Homemade Pasta With Spicy Cabbage and Bacon
Homemade Pasta with Spicy Cabbage and Bacon (Krpice)
Cabbage is a staple vegetable in Slovenia; here it is wilted in bacon fat and spiced with cayenne before being tossed with homemade noodle dough for this traditional pasta dish. Get the recipe for Homemade Pasta With Spicy Cabbage and Bacon »Chris Court
Pappardelle with Mixed Mushrooms, Ricotta, and Walnuts
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 »Farideh Sadeghin
Corzetti Pasta with Dried Mushroom Ragù
Corzetti Pasta with Dried Mushroom Ragù
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 »Ingalls Photography
Noodles with Peas (Pasta e Piselli)
Noodles with Peas (Pasta e Piselli)
The always-comforting combination of peas, bacon, and cheese comes together in less than half an hour. Get the recipe for Noodles with Peas (Pasta e Piselli) »Matt Taylor-Gross
Classic Easy Lasagna
Lasagna
Lasagna gets a bad rap for being a labor-intensive dish, but with a few shortcuts, like starting with store-bought lasagna sheets, you can make a great version any night of the week. Get the recipe for Classic Easy Lasagna »Farideh Sadeghin
Spaghetti with Garlic, Olive Oil, and Peperoncino Chiles
Spaghetti with Garlic, Olive Oil, and Peperoncino Chiles
Once served at the end of a meal—post dessert—this simple, classic Roman pasta dish has become a staple first-course across the city. Get the recipe for Spaghetti with Garlic, Olive Oil, and Peperoncino Chiles »Andrea Wyner
Pasta e Fagioli
Pasta e Fagioli
This version of the soup bean and pasta dish reverses the order of its stars turning it into a pasta dish laden with creamy beans and a creamy sauce. Get the recipe for Pasta e Fagioli »Simon Pearce
Corkscrew Pasta With Eggplant and Tomato-Basil Pesto
Corkscrew Pasta with Eggplant and Tomato-Basil Pesto (Busiate con Pesto alla Trapanese)
The North African tradition of serving almonds in savory dishes is reflected in the pesto for this dish, in which the nuts are mixed with tomatoes and basil and tossed with busiate, the traditional corkscrew-shaped pasta from Trapani. Get the recipe for Corkscrew Pasta With Eggplant and Tomato-Basil Pesto »William Hereford
Turkey Tetrazzini
Simple Week Night Meal Tetrazzini
This version of the American classic has a smattering of colorful vegetables and a sauce enriched by sherry and parmesan. Get the recipe for Turkey Tetrazzini »Matt Taylor-Gross
Chickpea and Pasta Soup
Chickpea and Pasta Soup
This soup is a meal in and of itself, full of lots of vegetables, chickpeas, and pasta. Get the recipe for Chickpea and Pasta Soup »Farideh Sadeghin
James Beard's Beef Stroganoff
Beef Stroganoff
One of many timeless recipes featured in American Food Writing is James Beard's take on this comforting noodle dish. Get the recipe for James Beard's Beef Stroganoff »Farideh Sadeghin
Spaghetti alla Primavera
Primavera
Invented in 1975 by Sirio Maccioni of Le Cirque restaurant in New York City, this classic is a colorful combination of pasta, cream, parmesan, and lightly sautéed spring and summer vegetables. Get the recipe for Spaghetti alla Primavera »Todd Coleman
Apple & Sausage Macaroni and Cheese
Mac and Cheese with Sausage and Apple Casserole
Fresh apples plus hard cider give this easy mac and cheese a double dose of fall flavor. Get the recipe for Apple & Sausage Macaroni and Cheese »Farideh Sadeghin
Spaghetti Carbonara
Spaghetti Carbonara
Real Roman spaghetti carbonara is pasta, whole eggs, pancetta or guanciale (cured pork jowl), and pecorino romano cheese—never cream. The sauce should gild, not asphyxiate, the noodles. Get the recipe for Spaghetti Carbonara »Matt Taylor-Gross
Pappardelle with Cauliflower and Mustard Brown Butter
Pappardelle with Cauliflower and Mustard Brown Butter
Simple ingredients—chewy, charred cauliflower, fried capers and bread crumbs, and browned butter, bolstered by whole grain mustard—combine for the ultimate late-winter pasta. Get the recipe for Pappardelle with Cauliflower and Mustard Brown Butter »Joseph De Leo
Seafood Pasta (Bucatini ai Frutti di Mare)
Seafood Pasta (Bucatini ai Frutti di Mare)
This pasta is filled with all kinds of seafood—clams, squid, shrimp, and lobster. Get the recipe for Seafood Pasta (Bucatini ai Frutti di Mare) »Michael Kraus
Busiate Sicilian Pesto
Busiate Sicilian Pesto
This flavorful pesto from Sicily is traditionally served with homemade busiate, a spiral-shaped pasta; you can substitute dried fusilli in a pinch. Get the recipe for Busiate Sicilian Pesto »Todd Coleman
Morel and Asparagus Spaghetti
Morel and Asparagus Spaghetti
In this bright spring pasta dish of morels, asparagus, and cream, dried morels are rehydrated in boiling water that is then used to cook spaghetti, infusing the pasta with an earthy, mushroomy flavor. Get the recipe for Morel and Asparagus Spaghetti »Yossy Arefi
Garlic Scape and Cherry Tomato Pasta
Garlic Scape and Cherry Tomato Pasta
Roasting garlic scapes with tomatoes and red onion sweetens them and enriches their flavor; toss them with pasta, lemon juice, and arugula for a simple meal. Get the recipe for Garlic Scape and Cherry Tomato Pasta »Farideh Sadeghin
Shrimp Scampi
Shrimp Scampi
An Italian-American classic, shrimp scampi is a simple dish of sauteed shrimp tossed with a sauce of white wine, garlic, lemon juice, and butter, then served with pasta. Get the recipe for Shrimp Scampi »Farideh Sadeghin
Spaghetti with Oven-Roasted Tomatoes and Caramelized Fennel
Spaghetti with Oven-Roasted Tomatoes and Caramelized Fennel
We like to serve this pasta topped with a little shaved bottarga, the dried salted roe of tuna or gray mullet; a sprinkle adds a briny, salty note that beautifully offsets sweet, oven roasted plum tomatoes. Get the recipe for Spaghetti with Oven-Roasted Tomatoes and Caramelized Fennel »Laura Sant
Trenette with Pesto, Beans & Potatoes
Trenette with Pesto, Beans & Potatoes
In this classic Genoese dish, fettuccine pasta is combined with string beans, baby red potatoes, and tossed with basil pesto. Get the recipe for Trenette with Pesto, Beans & Potatoes »Todd Coleman
Rigatoni in Tomato Sauce
Rigatoni
Hearty, satisfying rigatoni is tossed in a simple tomato-herb sauce. Get the recipe for Rigatoni in Tomato Sauce »Todd Coleman