Pasta- it’s one of those foods that you never get tired of. Ever since its incorporation into Western fare around the 13th century, (not excluding the Chinese noodles from which they originated), pasta’s become a go-to dinner staple because of its versatility, texture, and universal appeal. In honor of #nationalpastaday, we’ve been on the lookout for tasty pasta recipes that you can make at home. Whether you’re a meat sauce lover or more of a Cacio e Pepe connoisseur, you can be sure that you’ll find something here to satisfy your carbohydrate craving. Here are our 10 tantalizing pasta dishes for your inner Italian.
1). Roasted Red Pepper Rigatoni
Rigatoni is one of those great textured noodles with tons of little ridges that soak up whatever sauce it’s in. And with this creamy red pepper sauce, you’re going to want your pasta to soak up every last drop! With shallots, garlic, half and half, fresh parmesan, and of course, roasted red peppers, this dish is a perfect mix of tangy and rich. While this dish is fantastic on its own, we recommend adding your favorite protein (we’re partial to shrimp, but chicken is awesome, too). If you follow this recipe, you’ll end up with a generous four servings, making it a great dish to share with friends or your S.O. Pro tip: A few pulses with the blender after your sauce is done with make for a smooth finish.
2). Fetuccine Alfredo
While Alfredo sauce wasn’t even invented a hundred years ago (chef Alfredo di Lelio created it in 1914), it’s gained such popularity over the decades that it’s now become a staple of Italian cuisine. Who doesn’t love the velvety, savory combination of aged parmesan, fresh cream, and real butter? While this dish isn’t probably best to eat right before a big choir concert (all that dairy isn’t great for your voice), it’s the perfect dish to make at home after a trying week at school. This recipe has all the delicious flavors of Olive Garden’s famous Fetuccine Alfredo without the price tag. We personally love crushing a clove or two of garlic before melting the butter for the sauce, and topping with lots of parsley for presentation purposes. Word to the wise: this meal is totally just as tasty the day or two after you make it, but the sauce has the best texture on the first day (when the grated parmesan perfectly melts into your cream base).
3). Meaty Bolognese
Although we absolutely love Trader Joe’s frozen turkey bolognese sauce, sometimes there just isn’t a substitute for making your own. This hearty sauce is perfect for making on a cold winter day and enjoying while watching When In Rome (or any other old Hollywood flick). The recipe we’re digging includes traditional ingredients like canned tomatoes and ground Italian sausage while putting a zesty twist on it with lemon and red onion. Want to amp up the flavor even more? Head to your local Cost Plus World Market and check out their imported pasta section. After all, your homemade sauce deserves a quality head of bugalini to go with it!
4). Cacio E Pepe
Like the world-renowned Fettuccine Alfredo (mentioned above), Cacio E Pepe is a relatively recent addition to the world of Italian fare. But that doesn’t make us want it any less! We found a recipe that only uses four ingredients (spaghetti, sea salt, Pecorino Romano, and pepper), but after one bite you’ll see exactly why this pasta doesn’t need a single thing more. While you’re cooking the spaghetti, put some of the hot water in a bowl with the pecorino and pepper, then use a strainer to quickly retrieve the pasta from the pot and put it in the bowl, adding more hot water little by little until you have a smooth, silky sauce.
5). Sun Dried Tomato Chicken & Gnocchi
Gnocchi is just further proof that potatoes added to anything is a good idea. We like this recipe here because a) it features sun dried tomatoes and Asiago cheese and b) only requires one skillet to make, which is great news for those of us who don’t have a fully stocked kitchen yet. To cut down the cooking process even more, buy one of those pre-cooked Rotisserie chickens at your local grocery store, shred it up, and mix it in with your colorful dish. Yum!
There’s something about a generous serving of lasagna that screams “home”. Maybe your grandma had a great recipe, maybe you remember going to Italian Restaurants and getting a big plate of the pasta to serve family-style (with a tiramisu following immediately after). Whatever your lasagna story, you can blow your room mates away by making your very own! This recipe boasts three cheeses and pre-made marinara sauce, so it’s the perfect blend of homemade and uncomplicated.
7). Vegan Ravioli
Whether you’re cutting back on the animal products (we admire you) or are just in the mood for something new, this vegan ravioli recipe’s got your back. With dairy-free ricotta and reduced aquafaba (an egg white substitute), you’ll still be getting a good amount of protein while indulging in a hand made pasta dish with garlic, pumpkin, and turmeric. Alicia Silverstone would be jealous.
8). Browned Butter And Mizithra Spaghetti
We seem to love those pasta recipes with only a few ingredients and an amazing cheese. This recipe, calling for browned butter and mizithra, makes for an out-of-this-world pasta! If you’ve never heard of mizithra cheese, it’s a salty Greek cheese resembling ricotta that’s made from goat’s or sheep’s milk (or both). Browned butter is so simple to make at home… simply cook your butter on low until it turns golden and has a rich, nutty flavor. You can even make a giant batch and freeze it for when you have long school days and just need something quick.
9). Shrimp Scampi Linguine
While it’s true that shrimp scampi traditionally doesn’t include a starch, adding perfectly al dente Linguine to your dish will take your tasty prawns to the next level. Cooked in a mixture of butter, olive oil, and garlic (with some white wine thrown in there), your shrimp scampi is sure to make your kitchen smell like a five-star Italian restaurant. Toss with chili flakes, salt and pepper, and parsley and you’ve got a killer dinner. Find the recipe here.
10). Spaghetti And Meatballs
Writing this article without including a spaghetti and meatballs dish would probably be a mortal sin (or at least a venial one). This recipe is a bit more involved, including homemade meatballs and marinara sauce, but we promise that the end product is very much worth it. A steaming plate of freshly made spaghetti with well-seasoned meatballs and aromatic marinara? Now that’s an offer we cannot refuse.
What’s your all-time favorite pasta dish? Are you going to try any of these out soon? Let us know in the comments below!
featured image source: https://unsplash.com/photos/Orz90t6o0e4
Anna Livia is a Junior Communications student at John Paul The Great Catholic University. Her hobbies include reading how-to guides on being an adult, exploring the many pockets around North Country (San Diego) and attempting whatever new pasta recipes appear on Pinterest. She hails form Los Angeles but aspires to live in Houston one day for a career in Magazine Editing (not to mention the low housing prices). Her perfect afternoon would include cats of any kind, hot cider, and Malcolm In The Middle.