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.
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »