Pasta may be our go-to comfort food in cold-weather months, but it also makes for some of our favorite easy summer recipes.
As the temperature rises, trade out heavier ingredients like braised meats or long-cooked sauces for fresh vegetables, bright herbs, and seafood. Linguine and clams with olive oil, white wine, and chiles is one of the greatest classic Italian recipes, ever. For a more extravagant seafood feast, try bucatini ai frutti di mare—pasta with clams, shrimp, squid, and lobster.
Of course, the greatest culinary gift of the season is the beautiful, abundant summer produce. Our buckwheat and ricotta gnocchi are tossed in a cream sauce lightened with fresh spinach and peas while our bright summer bolognese eschews red sauce for tomatoes and fresh basil. On especially hot days, look to cool pasta salad, like our classic Greek version tossing rotini with crisp tomato, onion, cucumber, and tangy feta cheese.
Find all these dishes and more in our gallery of summer pasta recipes.
Swiss Chard Anzelottos with Pomodoro Sauce
From the tortelli family, anzelottos are rectangles often with ridged edges. “They’re made with a thicker, bright white dough of plain semola flour and hot water, which penetrates the proteins in the rustic flour more easily,” chef Evan Funke of Felix in Los Angeles says. Get the recipe for Swiss Chard Anzelottos with Pomodoro Sauce »
Mandilli di seta—large, thin pasta sheets—with pesto at Da Laura in San Fruttuoso.
Made by looping a slender strand of dough around two fingers, then carefully twisting the pieces into what looks like a thin rope, lorighittas take time and, ideally, multiple makers. Let the pieces dry slightly before boiling to preserve their shape, resting them on a surface heavily dusted with semolina to help prevent sticking and warping when lifted. Leave the heads on the shrimp for a deeper, sweeter seafood flavor, and finish the pasta in a combination of fresh orange juice and the juices from the cooked mussels. Get the recipe for Lorighittas with Shrimp, Mussels & Orange »
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.
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 (Busiate con Pesto alla Trapanese) »
Buckwheat and Ricotta Gnocchi with Cream, Peas, and Spinach
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.
A combination of pesto, parmesan, and reduced cream makes a rich sauce for fettuccine or other long, thin pasta. Get the recipe for Fettuccine with Pesto Cream Sauce, Roasted Red Peppers, and Spinach »
Noodles with Peas (Pasta e Piselli)
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
Tangy feta and crunchy veggies get extra body from rotini in this classic Greek-inspired pasta salad. Get the recipe for Greek Pasta Salad »
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 summer meal. Get the recipe for Garlic Scape and Cherry Tomato Pasta »
In this adaptation of a popular southern Italian specialty, king crab legs are a meatier alternative to blue crabs. Get the recipe for Crabs and Spaghetti »
The flavors of a richly spiced Moroccan tagine come together in this pasta salad, savory and bright with olive, lemon, and cinnamon. Get the recipe for Moroccan Pasta Salad »
Tender gnocchi tossed with a classic pesto genovese is a popular first course in Liguria. Get the recipe for Gnocchi al Pesto »
This homemade fettuccine is simply tossed with heirloom tomatoes and basil. Get the recipe for Fettuccine with Heirloom Tomatoes »
As olive oil mingles with white wine and sweet clams in this classic pasta dish, it creates a fragrant sauce that coats the pasta. Get the recipe for Linguine with Clams and Chiles »