Family-Friendly Pasta Dishes

Pasta is one of our go-to meals to prepare for the whole family: satisfying and crowd-pleasing, it's easy to dress up for a special occasion or dress down for a casual weeknight dinner. From a classic mac and cheese to an elegant garganelli with peas and prosciutto, these 18 accessible pasta recipes will please kids and adults alike.

Rigatoni in Tomato Sauce

Hearty, satisfying rigatoni tossed in a simple tomato-herb sauce makes an unbelievably easy main dish. See the recipe for Rigatoni in Tomato Sauce »Todd Coleman

Pasta with Sausage and Cheese

In this dish from Epirus, pork sausage, blue cheese, and fresh oregano are a gorgeous counterpoint to pasta. See the recipe for Pasta with Sausage and Cheese »James Oseland
Tagliatelle with Poppy Seeds and Prosciutto

Tagliatelle with Poppy Seeds and Prosciutto

Poppy seeds lend their toasty aroma to a creamy pasta dish based on one served by chef Matthew Accarrino at SPQR in San Francisco.Maxime Iattoni

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Lou Di Palo shared his grandmother's recipe for the meatballs that he sells at his family's store, Di Palo's Fine Foods, in New York City; they're composed of pork, beef, and veal and flavored with four kinds of cheese. See the recipe for Spaghetti and Meatballs »Todd Coleman
Garganelli with Peas and Prosciutto

Garganelli with Peas and Prosciutto

Eye-catching sweet peas and salty prosciutto create a bright contrast of color and flavor in this creamy pasta dish.André Baranowski

Rigatoni with Eggplant, Tomatoes, and Spicy Sausage

Rigatoni with Eggplant, Tomatoes, and Spicy Sausage
For a riff on classic pasta alla norma, try adding spicy Italian sausage to pasta laden with eggplant and sweet tomatoes.Helen Rosner
Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli

Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli

These tender ravioli are filled with spinach and cheese and topped with a tangy tomato sauce bolstered with mushrooms, zucchini, and squash.Maxime Iattoni

Farfalle with Cavolo Nero Pesto

Farfalle with Cavolo Nero Pesto
In this rendition of traditional Genoese pesto, sweet and nutty cavolo nero (also known as Tuscan kale or Lacinato kale) is used in place of basil and pine nuts.Laura Sant
Kale and Sausage Penne with Lemon Cream Sauce

Kale and Sausage Penne with Lemon Cream Sauce

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.Maxime Iattoni

Four-Cheese Macaroni and Cheese

This crowd-pleasing macaroni and cheese gets some added complexity from shallots, thyme and paprika. But the secret to this ultracreamy dish? A little Velveeta (yes, really!) mixed in with the other cheeses. See the recipe for Four-Cheese Macaroni and Cheese »André Baranowski
Veal Pasta Sauce with Peppers

Veal Pasta Sauce with Red, Green, and Yellow Peppers

This sauce was given to us by author Marcella Hazan, who noted,"The veal is cooked separately and combined later with the peppers to preserve its juiciness."Christopher Hirsheimer

Fettuccine Alfredo

This crowd-pleaser is made with only 3 ingredients, and works even better with dried pasta, which doesn't break as easily during tossing as fresh pasta. See the recipe for Fettuccine Alfredo »Landon Nordeman
Macaroni with Goat Cheese, Spinach, and Tomatoes

Macaroni with Goat Cheese, Spinach, and Tomatoes

Fresh goat cheese makes a creamy, velvety sauce for pasta baked with spinach and topped with sliced tomatoes that is bright with festive colors, and deeply comforting. And as it takes only slightly longer than an hour to cook, this can be a main player in a delicious and casual last-minute Christmas dinner.Helen Rosner

Gnocchi with Pesto

Tender potato dumplings dressed in basil pesto and covered in grated parmesan is a comforting crowd-pleaser. See the recipe for Gnocchi with Pesto »Penny De Los Santos

Spaghetti all'Amatriciana

The Italian pasta classic features a slow-simmered tomato sauce infused with lots of bacon. What's not to love? See the recipe for Spaghetti all'Amatriciana »Todd Coleman

Shrimp Scampi

This simple, delicious seafood pasta, full of flavor from garlic, shallots, and red chile flakes, is a staple of Italian-American restaurants. See the recipe for Shrimp Scampi »Todd Coleman

Lasagne

This hearty lasagne from Rubirosa in New York City is made with sweet fennel sausage and tiny meatballs. See the recipe for Lasagne »Todd Coleman

Pasta with Cauliflower in a Spicy Pink Sauce

Cauliflower and pasta is baked in a spicy tomato-cream in a comforting recipe adapted from Johanne Killeen and George Germon's Cucina Simpatica (Harper Collins, 1991) by Tim Mazurek for his column Cucina Simpatica. See the recipe for Pasta with Cauliflower in a Spicy Pink Sauce »Tim Mazurek