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Your go-to list of the best Italian pasta recipes! Make easy, delicious meals, many of them in 30 minutes or less. From creamy sauces, savory tomato sauces and rich meat ragus, you’ll find something to love.
Pasta never fails to be a crowdpleaser. We could eat it every day! I’ve gathered some of the best Italian pasta recipes, all using simple pantry staples and many can be made quickly in one skillet. Making pasta for dinner means everyone from kids to adults are going to be happy.
Growing up in an Italian family pasta was part of almost every meal. As a professional chef, I learned to show my love for pasta by creating pasta recipes that sing with flavor. And of course, pasta is the ultimate comfort food. Dress it up or down, serve it old-school meatballs, or simply eat a plate of lasagna on the couch.
Grab a large pot, put some water on to boil and cook pasta for dinner tonight!
Ingredients to pair with pasta
- Cheese: The list is almost endless, but these are the basics: Grating: Parmesan cheese, Grana Padano, Pecorino Romano cheese or Asiago, Creamy and soft: Ricotta, feta or goat cheese. Melting cheeses: Fontina, Mozzarella.
- Tomatoes: Arguably, tomatoes and tomato sauce are the perfect partner for pasta. Authentic southern Italian Neapolitan dishes are based on the red and juicy pomodoro.
- Anchovies: The key ingredient in a spaghetti alla puttanesca sauce, these little preserved fish are loaded with umami.
- Capers: A type of brined flower bud, capers add tang and zest to sauces.
- Olives: Salty, meaty olives pair so well with garlic and Mediterranean flavors.
- Chili: Italian pastas are never off the charts spicy. Rather, crushed red pepper flakes, fresh and dried chilis and peperoncini all add a layer of warmth and complexity to pasta dishes.
- Garlic: An essential for just about any pasta sauce, especially an aglio e olio sauce with olive oil.
- Fresh herbs: Fresh basil and parsley contribute color and fresh flavor as a finishing touch. Dried herbs like thyme, oregano and marjoram give pasta a wonderful aromatic flavor.
- Butter: Salted or unsalted butter adds a distinctive richness to any pasta dish, and you don’t need to use much to taste it.
- Olive oil: Use a good everyday extra-virgin oil. Even if you only have cheese and olive oil in the house, you’ll can make a satisfying pasta meal.
- Cream: Combined with cheese, creamy pasta is the perfect comfort food.
- Eggs: There would be no spaghetti carbonara without egg yolks! Eggs bind with hot pasta water to make a creamy sauce for classic pasta dishes like cacio e pepe.
- Pesto: Having store-bought or homemade pesto sauce on hand means you can pull together an easy meal anytime, on the fly. Penne with pesto is classic.
- Meat: Traditionally, meat is more of a garnish for pasta or a separate course altogether. But there’s no question that Italian sausage (made with pork) or braised beef make the best ragu. Cured and uncured products such as bacon, prosciutto and guanciale make delicious one-dish pasta dinners.
- Vegetables: Pasta and vegetables makes the best vegetarian red peppers.
Find your favorite recipe in this list of Italian pasta dishes. Buon appetito!
Italian pasta recipes with tomato sauce
Pastas with cream sauce
Italian seafood pastas
Pasta recipes with meat
Pasta with vegetables
Pasta with egg-based sauces
Pasta with pesto sauces
Italian Pasta Recipes, including Tuna Pasta with Olive Oil and Garlic
- 1 can or 6 ounce jar oil-preserved tuna
- Sea salt
- ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 or 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
- ½-1 teaspoon crushed red pepper or Aleppo pepper
- ½ cup dry-packed sundried tomatoes, cut into slivers (soak in hot water for 10 minutes if they're very dry)
- 1 pound linguine or spaghetti
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Handful chopped Italian parsley
- Lift the tuna from the jar with a fork, leaving the oil in the jar. Put the tuna into a small bowl and break into smaller pieces with the fork — don't shred too much as large chunks have a nice texture.
- Set a large pot of water on the stove to boil, adding 1 tablespoon of salt per quart of water.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium low heat for a minute. Toss in the garlic, chili and tomatoes and cook just until the garlic starts to sizzle. Remove from the heat and stir in the tuna and ¼ teaspoon salt.
- Cook the pasta until al dente. Reserve ¼ – ½ cup of pasta water before draining. Immediately add the pasta to the skillet along with the butter. Use tongs or two large forks to toss the pasta with the sauce, adding a bit of water to loosen the sauce (you might not need all the water).
- Sprinkle the herbs over the pasta, then taste and add more salt or chili if you like. Serve hot.
Karen’s Notes and Tips
- For more briny flavor toss the pasta with 1-2 tablespoons capers, chopped olives or sliced canned artichoke hearts if you like.
- Add about a cup of sweet peas, white beans or baby spinach to make this a heartier pasta dish.
- The pasta will keep up to 3 days, refrigerated. It the pasta has absorbed the sauce, reheat with a little bit more olive oil along with 1-2 tablespoons water or broth.
Hey, I’m Karen
Creator of Familystyle Food
I’m a food obsessed super-taster and professionally trained cook ALL about making cooking fun and doable, with easy to follow tested recipes and incredibly tasty food! Read more about me here.