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!
This recipe for classic Italian puttanesca pasta sauce makes an amazing thick, rich tomato sauce in about 15 minutes. With capers, anchovies, olives and garlic galore, you'll be craving this sauce on the regular!
Take a trip to Rome in your own kitchen with this quick and easy recipe for traditional Italian bucatini all’amatriciana, a robust pasta dish made with canned tomatoes, cubed pancetta, dry white wine and pecorino Romano cheese.
A quick and easy family recipe for classic Italian arrabbiata sauce — a spicy, rich-tasting tomato sauce for pasta, chicken, pizza and more! It scores a “10” on the flavor scale, with savory canned crushes tomatoes, lots of garlic and, of course, plenty of red chili pepper to kick the spice up.
The quickest burst cherry tomato sauce made under your broiler! This juicy fresh pasta sauce is ready in 15 minutes or less. Serve with creamy ricotta or mozzarella for an incredible Italian-style dinner.
You must try this delicious twist on a classic vodka pasta sauce! The secret to the incredibly tasty cream sauce is that it uses gin instead of vodka, along with tomato puree and fresh rosemary. This dish is makes a quick, plush-tasting pasta dinner you'll crave again and again.
This is a creamy lemon pasta recipe with a luscious, super-lemony sauce that doesn't require cooking. It's quick and easy to make and so good! With just a few ingredients, this pasta recipe comes together in a matter of minutes. Serve topped with plenty of Parmesan cheese.
This creamy, hearty pasta e fagioli soup is loaded with beans, vegetables and cheese. It's vegetarian and ready to enjoy in about 30 minutes (use a pressure cooker or cook it on the stovetop). Perfect for lunch or dinner!
Not all pasta salads use mayo! This light and herby chicken pasta salad recipe is simply dressed with a tangy lemon-Dijon vinaigrette, and tossed with cannellini beans, fresh arugula, a short pasta of your choice, and baked bite-size pieces of chicken. It’s ready in 30 minutes, and easy to prepare in advance. Enjoy this chicken pasta salad cold or at room temperature.
Creamy chicken pasta with veggies — the best grown-up mac and cheese. Shell pasta or other short pasta shapes are combined in a creamy lemon garlic sauce with cooked chicken, fresh basil and roasted zucchini.
Rings of calamari (squid) are oven-roasted in about ten minutes with cherry tomatoes and garlic. Serve over spaghetti or your favorite pasta shape. A super-quick Italian seafood pasta recipe for any day of the week!
This hearty homemade tomato meat sauce is rich, rustic and meaty, full of traditional red-sauce Italian-American flavors. It's perfect for a weeknight and it's ready to eat in about 30 minutes! Sauce your favorite pasta shape with this thick tomato sauce, or layer it into a cheesy lasagna.
This robust sausage and broccoli rabe pasta recipe combines a spicy garlic and olive oil sauce with crumbled, browned Italian sausage, broccoli rabe (rapini), chili pepper, and pecorino cheese. Learn how to make this easy pasta dinner at home in just 35 minutes.
This vegetable lasagna recipe will satisfy everyone at the dinner table! Layered with perfectly roasted zucchini, eggplant, greens, colorful bell peppers, and three different kinds of cheese, this baked lasagna is packed with flavor. The cherry tomatoes for the sauce roast at the same as the vegetables.
This tested and perfected classic pasta carbonara recipe is a winner! The best family-favorite dish with spaghetti, eggs, bacon and grated cheese can be served plain and simple, or jazzed-up with my suggested seasonings.
Cascatelli pasta with pesto, chickpeas and kale, topped with creamy grated ricotta salata cheese. This super-tasty pasta is a satisfying meatless meal that's ready to eat in 15 minutes.Other short pasta shapes with ridges such as penne, rigatoni or ziti will work perfectly in this recipe.
Unplug the food processor to make this rustic, super-simple pasta sauce recipe: hand-chopped pesto sauce with parsley and nuts combined with olive oil, garlic and Parmesan cheese. Make it by hand right on a cutting board for a quick and vibrant vegetarian dish!
½cupdry-packed sundried tomatoes, cut into slivers (soak in hot water for 10 minutes if they're very dry)
1poundlinguine or spaghetti
Handful chopped Italian parsley
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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.