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 47 essential pasta recipes in our arsenal.
Cooling fresh mint tempers the heat of the spicy tomato sauce in this bountiful seafood pasta.
Get the recipe for Seafood Pasta with Tomatoes, Chiles, and Mint »
Shrimp pulls double duty here: the shells are used to make the flavorful rundown sauce, and the meat is marinated with citrus and lightly cooked with the pasta.
Get the recipe for Spaghetti with Shrimp Rundown Sauce »
Pillowy gnocchi are gently tossed with a robust meat sauce and finished with Parmigiano-Reggiano and cracked black pepper.
Get the recipe for Potato Gnocchi with Pork Ragu »
These ravioli with greens from chef JoMarie Pitino are perfect for a holiday menu.
Get the recipe for Ravioli with Ricotta and Greens »
Sometimes, olive oil is the only pasta sauce you need. For centuries, Mediterranean cooks have used olive oils to make vinaigrettes, baste and drizzle over roasts, and infuse with flavors to use as pasta sauces on their own. Mushroom trifolata—a sauce made by searing then gently confiting mushrooms in a bath of olive oil—is best when made using a robust extra virgin olive oil and a mix of wild mushrooms like oyster, crimini, and chanterelles. The mushrooms turn silky and tender while releasing their rich, umami flavor into the oily sauce.
Get the recipe for Pasta with Mushroom Trifolata »
A blend of coriander, cumin, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves adds oomph to the meat sauce for this baked pasta in puff pastry.
Get the recipe for Baked Macaroni in Pastry »
Giorgia Goggi mixes this slow-cooked tomato sauce with octopus and saffron into paccheri pasta di Gragnano, a thick, air-dried Italian macaroni. But any robust pasta shape will do.
Get the recipe for Pasta with Octopus Ragu and Stracciatella »
Cook your pasta in fragrant lemon water.
Get the recipe for Lemon-Infused Spaghetti with Oil and Provolone »
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 Nick Anderer’s Spaghetti with Garlic and Olive Oil »
Get the recipe for Drunken Spaghetti »
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 »
Chestnut Tortellini with Shallots and Sage Sauce
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) »
Spring Pea Ravioli with Prosciutto & Pea Shoots
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.
Sirio Maccioni, the well-known restaurateur of
Le Cirque fame, has been acknowledged for creating this dish. Get the recipe for Pasta Primavera »
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 »
For a creamy texture—without the cream—Philadelphia chef
Marc Vetri purées fresh, starchy corn into a thick sauce that he then tosses with smoky scallions for a succulent summer pasta. Get the recipe for Fettucine with Corn Crema and Charred Green Onions »
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 »
This classic 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 »
Spaghetti alla Chitarra with Lamb and Sweet Pepper Ragù
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) »
We whipped up this tasty dish during a trip to Venice, using fresh ingredients we found at the local markets. You won’t find Venetian scampi in this country; substitute good-quality baby shrimp.
Get the recipe for Fusilli With Scampi, Cranberry, and Peas »
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. Josita Hartanto of Berlin’s
Lucky Leek uses multicolored carrots for a beautiful presentation. Get the recipe for Spaghettini with Carrots, Olives, and Red Endive »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
Noodles with Peas (Pasta e Piselli)
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 cheesy version any night of the week.
Get the recipe Classic Easy Lasagna »
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.
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 »
Corkscrew Pasta with Eggplant and Tomato-Basil Pesto (Busiate con Pesto alla Trapanese)
This soup is a meal in and of itself, full of lots of vegetables, chickpeas, and pasta.
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 »
Mac and Cheese with Sausage and Apple Casserole
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 »
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 »
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) »
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 Corkscrew Pasta With Sicilian Tomato Pesto »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »