Cozy but quick, these speedy pasta recipes are made with affordable ingredients you probably either have on hand or can easily procure with a quick trip to the grocery store. For convenience’s sake, they also all call for a full pound of pasta, but most can be easily halved.
1. Pasta Alla Vodka
Colu Henry’s take on the Italian American classic is rich and bright. If you don’t have pancetta, feel free to skip it, or use bacon for smokiness.
Recipe: Pasta Alla Vodka
2. Caramelized Cabbage and Walnut Pasta
Cabbage, that much-underappreciated vegetable, cooks down into something soft, sweet and silky in this pasta dish from Hetty McKinnon. Roasted walnuts add crunch and a hit of hearty protein.
Recipe: Caramelized Cabbage and Walnut Pasta
3. Crisp Gnocchi With Brussels Sprouts and Brown Butter
Gnocchi is delicious boiled and slathered in red sauce, but when the little store-bought potato dumplings are browned and crisped — as they are in this 20-minute recipe from Ali Slagle — their insides stay chewy and soft, so you can have the best of both worlds.
Recipe: Crisp Gnocchi With Brussels Sprouts and Brown Butter
4. Linguine and Clams With Fresh Red Sauce
Canned clams, a cheap, flavorful pantry hero, don’t get the accolades they deserve. In this recipe from Kay Chun, they’re combined with hothouse cherry tomatoes — which are fairly decent all year long — for a briny and bright pasta dish that feels classic yet fresh.
Recipe: Linguine and Clams With Fresh Red Sauce
5. Five-Ingredient Creamy Miso Pasta
This super-simple pasta from Alexa Weibel may have only five ingredients, but its miso, butter and Parmesan provide sophisticated nuance and complexity.
Recipe: Five-Ingredient Creamy Miso Pasta
6. Salami Pasta Alla Gricia
Pasta alla gricia is typically made with guanciale (cured pork jowl), but salami, that piquant stalwart of lunchboxes, gets a star turn in this clever pasta from Ali Slagle.
Recipe: Salami Pasta Alla Gricia
7. Sausage and Peppers Pasta With Broccoli
Kay Chun takes the classic Italian combination of sausage and peppers and tosses them with pasta and broccoli for a family-friendly dish that hits all of the right notes.
Recipe: Sausage and Peppers Pasta With Broccoli
8. Chile Crisp Fettuccine Alfredo With Spinach
Genevieve Ko has the admirable habit of making classic, much-loved recipes even better with her clever additions and tweaks. Case in point: Here, she adds fresh spinach and chile crisp to traditional pasta Alfredo for something modern and lively, not heavy and nap-inducing.
Recipe: Chile Crisp Fettuccine Alfredo With Spinach
9. One-Pan Shrimp Scampi With Crispy Gnocchi
Melissa Clark combines crisped gnocchi and garlicky sautéed shrimp in this delightful riff on the classic shrimp scampi. Serve with a crunchy green salad and crusty bread.
Recipe: One-Pan Shrimp Scampi With Crispy Gnocchi
10. Penne Al Baffo (Creamy Tomato-Ham Pasta)
In Italy, “Al Baffo” is said to mean “it is so good you’ll lick your whiskers.” This dish from Anna Francese Gass is made by combining pasta, puréed tomatoes, shallots, deli ham and heavy cream. The ingredients are simple, but the outcome feels extravagant.
Recipe: Penne Al Baffo (Creamy Tomato Ham Pasta)
11. Skillet Tortellini With Corn and Crispy Rosemary
In this recipe from Ali Slagle, fresh store-bought tortellini are cooked directly in the sauce instead of a big pot of water, so they’re seasoned all the way through. Bacon, sweet corn (frozen or fresh) and rosemary make it substantial enough for any night of the year.
Recipe: Skillet Tortellini With Corn and Crispy Rosemary
12. Mushroom Wafu Pasta
Wafu directly translates to “Japanese style,” and in this dish from Hana Asbrink, spaghetti is combined with Japanese mushrooms in an umami-rich soy-butter sauce.
Recipe: Mushroom Wafu Pasta
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