As the weather shifts from cool to absolutely freezing, nothing sounds better than sitting down with a warm, filling meal after braving the dropping temperatures outside. There’s a reason comfort food comes to mind this time of year. Whether it’s decadent mac and cheese or classic lasagna, these soothing meals are innately associated with the season, thanks to the warmth and comfort they provide.
Chief among these comforting creations is baked pasta. From lasagna and stuffed pasta to baked rigatoni and spaghetti, when you need to warm your soul, you can turn to any of these Italian-inspired culinary feats. Beat the cold by preparing one of these seven baked pasta recipes.
The Recipe: For an elevated twist on traditional lasagna, try this butternut squash and sun-dried tomato white lasagna. Instead of marinara sauce and sausage, this vegetarian dish is made of butternut squash, ricotta cheese, and a homemade white sauce prepared with garlic, sage, basil, milk, and cheese.
The Pro Tip: “What’s great about this recipe is that it’s a dish that can be assembled completely in advance and then baked just before serving. I love making this the day before, keeping it in the fridge, and then just throwing it in the oven before dinner,” says Tieghan of Half Baked Harvest.
Pillivuyt Toulouse Square & Rectangular Baker Set ($125)
The Recipe: The perfect companion for a cozy night in, try this cheesy stuffed giant pasta shells recipe. Those giant shells are called conchiglione and they are perfect for holding the cheesy mixture of ricotta, parmesan, and egg that this recipe calls for. Serve with a green bitter salad to complete the meal.
The Pro Tip: “Cheesy goodness squashed into pasta shells and baked in a tomato passata—not much more to say really, other than it is really bloody good,” says Sarah of Stuck in the Kitchen. According to her, this vegetarian dish is a winner even among ardent meat lovers.
Leif Sunburst Sweetgrass Trivet ($30)
The Recipe: Warm up with a bowl of this baked turkey sausage and mascarpone stuffed shell pasta. Instead of a traditional ricotta cheese filling, the large shell pasta is stuffed with mascarpone (a kind of Italian cream cheese). Marinara sauce, basil, oregano, and parmesan cheese bring traditional Italian flavors together in this hearty and satisfying dish.
The Pro Tip: “Not only is this a great meal for a crowd, but it also freezes really well, which makes this dish a great one to gift to friends and family, or just to have in your own freezer to pull out at a future date or for a lazy night in,” says Jenny of Spoon Fork Bacon.
CB2 Melrose Gold Serving Bowl ($45)
The Recipe: This collection of baked pasta recipes wouldn’t be complete without a decadent baked mac and cheese. A twist on a classic, this dish calls for spinach and artichoke to mix into the cheesy layers of pasta. It’s basically spinach and artichoke dip meets mac and cheese.
The Pro Tip: “Mac and cheese is a cold-weather staple, and this is such a yummy version of the classic. You could also try our popular pumpkin mac and cheese too,” says Teri of Spoon Fork Bacon.
Hanselmann Pottery Medium Stoneware Serving Bowl ($125)
The Recipe: You’d never know just by looking at the finished product, but this lasagna bolognese is completely vegetarian. Instead of a traditional bolognese, this recipe features a chickpea tomato sauce that looks and tastes similar to the classic dish.
The Pro Tip: “I really prefer the smaller size served in stoneware pans. I feel they make the lasagna look even more comforting and each portion easy to reheat,” shares Alice of Mitzy at Home.
Imperia Pasta Machine Attachments ($30)
The Recipe: It might sound strange, but this baked spaghetti recipe is worth trying. A play on both lasagna and spaghetti bolognese, this cheesy baked pasta creation lets you enjoy all of your favorite Italian flavors. Be sure to cook the pasta a little less than usual, as the noodles will continue cooking in the oven.
The Pro Tip: “If you have leftover bolognese or meat sauce on hand, try this. You really can’t go wrong with cheese, noodles, and sauce baked to perfection,” says Stephanie of I Am a Food Blog.
Spirelli Spiral Slicer 2.0 ($30)
The Recipe: This baked sausage and cheese rigatoni dish will become a weeknight staple in your house. Think sweet Italian sausage, roasted bell peppers, and so much cheese. After baking, you’ll be left with a crusty outer layer to hold together a perfectly melty center.
The Pro Tip: As it turns out, the shape of this kind of pasta plays an important role in the dish, so you won’t want to substitute with just any pasta you have in your pantry. “Rigatoni is perfect for a chunky sausage sauce like this because the sausage sticks in all the nooks and crannies of the pasta,” explains Heidi of Foodie Crush.
Zwilling Aurora 5-Ply Stainless Steel Stockpot With Lid ($99)
What’s your go-to winter comfort food? Show us on Instagram with the hashtag #MyDomaineEats.