18 Easy Pasta Recipes That Will Save Your Weeknight

Creamy pasta pomodoro

Love & Lemons 

When dining at an Italian restaurant—whether in Rome or in Brooklyn—it may be discouraging to consider your favorite pasta dishes beyond your cooking abilities. However, pasta can be one of the simplest meals to make, and some might even call it a hero of weeknight cooking.

If you're game to prepare the Italian classic on your own, start small with a few ridiculously simple pasta recipes. In the mood for something light and fresh? You can whip up a zucchini parmesan creation in less than a half hour. Looking for something more traditional? Serve up baked penne alla vodka in an hour flat (including baking time). Although the flavors, textures, and aromas are far from simple, the work in the kitchen is exactly that. Try your hand at these 18 easy pasta recipes when you want something warm and comforting on the table—in a flash.

01 of 18

Baked Penne Alla Vodka

Baked penne alla vodka

The Modern Proper

For a seriously impressive-looking dish that doesn't actually require much effort, prepare this baked penne alla vodka from The Modern Proper. First, cook sausage, onion, garlic, pancetta (or prosciutto) on the stove. Then add a bit of vodka, and after the alcohol has burned off, add tomatoes with heavy cream and parmesan. Next add kale and dried penne pasta before transferring it all into a lined baking dish.

Pro Tip: Top with mozzarella, and don't be ashamed to be generous.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

02 of 18

Shrimp Pasta With Arugula Pesto

Shrimp pasta with arugula pesto

Root + Revel

This gluten-free shrimp pasta with arugula pesto from Root + Revel tastes deluxe but is actually incredibly easy to make. Think of it as a healthier version of your favorite shrimp scampi. Made with seafood, garlic, olive oil, and a lemon-white wine sauce, it's the perfect simple weeknight meal.

Pro Tip: As an alternative to gluten-free spaghetti, you could also opt for spiralized zucchini.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

03 of 18

Spaghetti Alla Carbonara

Spaghetti alla carbonara

Foodie Crush

With this recipe from Foodie Crush, you're only four ingredients away from a satisfying, homemade Italian meal. You'll need spaghetti, bacon, eggs, and pecorino Romano to get dinner on the table in no time. While pasta is cooking, prepare bacon and separate the eggs so you can whip egg whites and cheese. Combine everything together and top each serving with an egg yolk (don't worry, it will cook when you stir it into the piping hot pasta).

Pro Tip: For a more traditional version, use pancetta or guanciale instead of bacon.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

04 of 18

Buttery Mushroom and Clam Pasta

Buttery Mushroom and Clam Pasta

Half Baked Harvest

This buttery seafood dish from Half Baked Harvest is ready to eat in just 30 minutes flat. Toss bucatini pasta with mushrooms, fresh clams, sweet corn, and herbs. It's simple enough to pull together on a weeknight and delicious enough to prepare as a weekend special.

Pro Tip: As an option, top with grated manchego cheese.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

05 of 18

Zucchini Parmesan Pasta

Zucchini Parmesan Pasta

Half Baked Harvest

This veggie-packed pasta dish from Half Baked Harvest is easy to make and nourishing to boot. It calls for zucchini and yellow summer squash, the pasta of your liking, herbs like fresh thyme, basil, and grated parmesan or manchego cheese.

Pro Tip: Serve with fresh basil and lemon.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

06 of 18

Bacon Broccoli Pasta

Bacon Broccoli Pasta

How Sweet Eats

Easy weeknight dinners don't get any simpler than How Sweet Eats's bacon broccoli pasta. While pasta cooks, fry up bacon crumbles and broccoli on the stove with garlic, crushed red pepper, and parmesan. Toss it all together and dinner is served.

Pro Tip: You may want to skip salt seasoning as the bacon grease will likely provide lots of flavor on its own.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

07 of 18

Tomato Basil One-Pot Pasta

Tomato Basil One Pot Pasta

Salt & Wind

There may not be a simpler pasta recipe than this tomato basil one-pot pasta from Salt & Wind. To make the dish, just combine all of the ingredients together in one pot on top of the stove and stir. It calls for ingredients like olive oil, basil, red onion, cherry tomatoes, garlic, bell peppers, white wine, and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for a flavorful dish.

Pro Tip: Stir frequently so pasta doesn't stick.

Prep Time: 5 Minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

08 of 18

Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta

Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta

Minimalist Baker

For a simple vegan and gluten-free pasta, try this sun-dried tomato pesto dish from Minimalist Baker. With six straightforward ingredients, it will quickly end up in your weeknight dinner lineup. All you need is gluten-free pasta, sun-dried tomatoes, olive oil, basil, garlic, and vegan parmesan cheese. Pesto is quickly made in a food processor or blender while the pasta cooks for a seriously easy dinner.

Pro Tip: This recipe will keep for 3–4 days.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

09 of 18

Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo

Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo

Foodie Crush

Fettuccine Alfredo is a comforting go-to, and with this recipe from Foodie Crush, you'll look like a pro making it. This particular, non-traditional recipe can be prepared in an Instant Pot or on the stove, and calls for chicken breast, fettuccine, chicken stock, heavy cream, and parmesan cheese.

Pro Tip: You can also add in extras like sautéed mushrooms, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, capers, or peas.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes (three minutes if using an Instant Pot)

10 of 18

Heirloom Tomato Sauce With Burrata

Heirloom Tomato Sauce with Burrata

Salt & Wind

Known as pasta alla Checca, this Italian masterpiece features an heirloom tomato sauce topped with a hearty dollop of burrata cheese. While homemade sauce sounds tricky, this recipe from Salt & Wind is actually quite simple to make––just combine diced tomatoes, tomato juice, oil, garlic, salt, and red pepper flakes.

Pro Tip: Toss the finished sauce with cooked noodles and top with burrata cheese and a drizzle of olive oil.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

11 of 18

Kale Cacio e Pepe

Kale Cacio e Pepe

How Sweet Eats

Classic cacio e pepe gets a healthy twist from How Sweet Eats with this simple pasta recipe. It calls for whole wheat spaghetti, butter, black pepper, kale, parmesan cheese, and pecorino cheese.

Pro Tip: Serve it up with extra parmesan and a bit of pepper.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

12 of 18

One Pot Pasta With Sausage and Zucchini

One Pot Pasta with Sausage and Zucchini

Spoon Fork Bacon

An easy, no-fuss meal, this one-pot sausage and zucchini pasta from Spoon Fork Bacon, as inspired by Joy the Baker food blog, was made for busy weeknights. You'll need olive oil, Italian sausage, onion, zucchini, garlic, thyme, chicken stock, bucatini pasta, and parmesan. Prep sausage and vegetables all in one pot before adding in stock and noodles.

Pro Tip: Toss carefully to combine.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

13 of 18

Lemon Ricotta Zucchini Pasta

Lemon Ricotta Zucchini Pasta

Sugar Salted

Lemon ricotta zucchini pasta sounds like a dish straight off of the menu of a five-star trattoria, but you can make it at home with ease. With Sugar Salted's recipe, you'll effortlessly throw together a creamy sauce with ricotta, spices, and hot pasta water.

Pro Tip: Top with a bit of grated parmesan cheese and fresh basil leaves.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

14 of 18

Garlicky Chard Pasta With Lemon and Toasted Bread Crumbs

Garlicky chard pasta with lemon and toasted bread crumbs

 Feasting at Home

Feasting at Home's summery pasta recipe stars chard, lemon zest, and toasted bread crumbs (toast crumbled and torn bread in a skillet with olive oil). Then, just add linguini or spaghetti.

Pro Tip: For something a little extra, add red chili flakes.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

15 of 18

Roasted Cauliflower Pasta With Lemon and Garlic

Roasted cauliflower pasta with garlic and lemon

Feasting at Home

Another easy pasta recipe from Feasting at Home combines garlicky, lemony, roasted cauliflower studded with parsley. The addition of toasted walnuts add texture and earthiness, writes Feasting at Home.

Pro Tip: This dish can be left vegan, or finished with pecorino cheese for added flavor.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

16 of 18

Vegan Mushroom Pasta With Roasted Sunchokes

Vegan mushroom pasta with sunchokes

Feasting at Home 

Feasting at Home's vegan pasta recipe features a creamy sauce made from blended sunchokes and basil. Combine with roasted sunchokes (a root vegetable and member of the sunflower family) and sautéed mushrooms, all in 30 minutes.

Pro Tip: "Keep this vegan or dust with Parmesan," writes Feasting at Home.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

17 of 18

Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta With Kale

Sun dried tomato pasta with kale

Love & Lemons 

The beauty of this Love & Lemons pasta recipe is that you can toss all ingredients into one skillet—sun-dried tomatoes, kale, plus walnuts for crunch. Sautéed shallots, fennel, and sage add aroma and flavor.

Pro Tip: Keep some finishing olive oil on hand for drizzling.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

18 of 18

Bacon and Pumpkin Pasta

Bacon and pumpkin pasta

Pinch of Yum

Creamy pumpkin sauce, bacon crumbles, and whole wheat pasta shells make this easy recipe by Pinch of Yum filling and full of flavor. Don't forget to top with green onions or scallions for garnish.

Pro Tip: Make with caramelized onions for sweeter, more buttery flavor, writes Pinch of Yum.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

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