Sometimes, we just want to whip up a quick and easy meal that involves boiling a pot of water and not a whole lot else. For those weeknights that are just too busy to make an elaborate meal, we turned to our favorite food blogs for recipes that get dinner on the table pronto.
Spanning a lemony spinach and artichoke dish that's brimming with brie to a Crock-Pot sun-dried tomato penne alla vodka that'll make your entire kitchen smell delicious, these easy penne pasta recipes are so good that they're going to have you going back for seconds (and thirds). Keep scrolling for 17 delicious penne pasta recipes that make it easy to indulge your midweek carb cravings.
Crock-Pot Sun-Dried Tomato Penne Alla Vodka
The Recipe: Crock-Pot Sun-Dried Tomato Penne Alla Vodka
The Standout Ingredient: The crushed red pepper flakes give this sauce just the right amount of spice. The sauce also calls for whole tomatoes, garlic, heavy cream, dried oregano, sun-dried tomatoes, parmesan cheese, and fresh oregano for garnish.
The Pro Tip: "The sauce is made in the crockpot, so it's kind of perfect for those nights when all you can muster up the energy to do is boil some pasta and call it a day," says Tieghan Gerard of Half Baked Harvest.
Heirloom Tomato Pomodoro Penne Pasta
The Recipe: Heirloom Tomato Pomodoro Penne Pasta
The Standout Ingredient: Fresh tomatoes. Skip the canned tomatoes for this Half Baked Harvest recipe and get your hands on the farmers market fresh variety. Additionally, you'll need garlic, parmesan, fresh basil, butter, ricotta, and red pepper flakes.
The Pro Tip: "The secret is definitely in the tomatoes, and in all those parmesan rinds you will add to the sauce," says Gerard. "Gotta have the parmesan rinds, it's a must and really adds the flavor needed to create such an amazing sauce."
Roasted Garlic and Cauliflower Pasta With Walnuts
The Standout Ingredient: The roasted garlic adds a slightly sweet flavor to the dish that contrasts nicely with the tangy lemon juice and the nutty walnuts.
The Pro Tip: You can make "an alternative version of this pasta with broccoli and almonds as well if that catches your interest," says Laura Wright of The First Mess.
Creamy Mushroom and Asparagus Pasta
The Recipe: Creamy Mushroom and Asparagus Pasta
The Standout Ingredient: The crimini mushrooms. Trust us—you'll want to splurge on this flavorful variety for this recipe. This Minimalist Baker recipe also comes together with asparagus and a creamy yet vegan (almond milk and nutritional yeast) sauce.
The Pro Tip: "This would also be a great [recipe] for feeding a crowd, as it's undetectably vegan and gluten-free, so everyone can enjoy without missing out on flavor," says Dana Schultz of Minimalist Baker.
Lemony Spinach and Artichoke Brie Penne Pasta
The Recipe: Lemony Spinach and Artichoke Brie Penne Pasta
The Standout Ingredient: Brie adds a creaminess that pairs well with the tanginess of the lemon for a well-balanced sauce in this Half Baked Harvest recipe.
The Pro Tip: "Instead of just tossing everything together, first cook the garlic and artichokes separately in olive oil," advises Gerard. "Slow cooking the garlic in olive oil … allows the garlic to caramelize and infuse the olive oil with serious, but subtle garlic flavors."
Baked Penne Alla Vodka
The Recipe: Baked Penne Alla Vodka
The Standout Ingredient: The melted mozzarella makes this Modern Proper recipe unapologetically indulgent. After baking the dish for 45 minutes, take the pasta out of the oven and break fresh mozzarella over the top, then bake for another 15 minutes.
The Pro Tip: Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley and a pinch of red pepper chili flakes before serving, suggests recipe creator Natalie of The Modern Proper.
Easiest Tomato Basil Penne With Spicy Italian Chickpeas
The Standout Ingredient: The protein-packed chickpeas, spiced with paprika, crushed red pepper flakes, fennel, and mustard seeds take this spicy pasta dish from Half Baked Harvest to the next level.
The Pro Tip: "This tomato basil sauce literally consists of two ingredients, canned tomatoes, and basil pesto," Gerard writes. "So, so, so simple, but yet so delicious."
No-Boil Baked Penne With Meatballs
The Recipe: No-Boil Baked Penne With Meatballs
The Standout Ingredient: Meatballs add savory protein to this recipe from Pinch of Yum, which already packs a lot of flavor with a garlicky butter mixture and fire roasted tomatoes. A layer of spinach and cheese, added once the dish is finished baking, completes the recipe.
The Pro Tip: Pinch of Yum recommends subbing shredded chicken for meatballs, though if you opt out of protein altogether, know that you'll have more sauce than you'll need.
Butternut Squash Whole Wheat Penne Pasta
The Recipe: Butternut Squash Whole Wheat Penne Pasta
The Standout Ingredient: Coconut milk, which, when blended with roasted butternut squash helps create a creamy and dairy-free sauce for whole wheat pasta, radicchio, and goat cheese. For this recipe from Le Petit Eats, you'll also want nutmeg, walnuts, and basil for garnish.
The Pro Tip: Reserve 1/2 cup of starchy pasta water to help thin the pasta sauce out, if needed.
Macadamia Parmesan Pesto With Penne
The Recipe: Macadamia Parmesan Pesto With Penne
The Standout Ingredient: Buttery, slightly sweet macadamia nuts are an unexpected yet delightful substitute in I Am a Food Blog's pesto recipe, served with penne pasta and roasted tomatoes.
The Pro Tip: "To roast the tomatoes, toss tomatoes in olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in a 400°F oven for 15-20 minutes, stirring once, until softened and starting to burst," I Am a Food Blog writes.
All you need to make this pesto is a knife and cutting board, food processor not necessary. Just use a large cutting board to finely chop macadamia nuts, basil, and garlic.
Avocado Pesto Pasta (Vegan)
The Recipe: Avocado Pesto Pasta (Vegan)
The Standout Ingredient: Avocado creates a creamy, yet dairy-free pesto when combined with toasted pumpkin seeds (or pine nuts) and fresh basil in Sweet Potato Soul's recipe. A red lentil penne pasta is used in place of traditional pasta, giving this dish an added nutrition boost.
The Pro Tip: While red lentil pasta becomes al dente in seven minutes, Sweet Potato Soul boils for two more minutes for a softer pasta.
Double Rosé Pasta With Asparagus and Kale (Vegan)
The Standout Ingredient: According to The First Mess, the bright acidity of rosé helps the scratch-made red sauce come together in this recipe. Asparagus and kale add greens and color to the mix, and a cashew cream ensures the entire meal is luscious and vegan-friendly.
The Pro Tip: For something extra, follow the recipe The First Mess provides for a vegan parmesan to top each plate with.
Penne With Steak, Corn, and Arugula
The Recipe: Penne With Steak, Corn, and Arugula
The Standout Ingredient: If you can find it, fresh corn offers a nice crunch to Yes to Yolks's penne recipe, which also calls for seasoned steak, arugula, and pecorino and parmesan cheese.
The Pro Tip: Garnish with fresh parsley to finish.
Butternut Squash Pasta With Sausage & Goat Cheese
The Standout Ingredient: Goat cheese is the ideal tangy foil for Platings + Pairings penne pasta recipe, which also stars butternut squash and sausage. You'll also need spices including allspice and nutmeg, dry white wine or vermouth, fresh sage and parsley.
The Pro Tip: This dish is best served immediately, Platings + Pairings writes.
Penne Pasta With Cauliflower and Pancetta
The Recipe: Penne Pasta With Cauliflower and Pancetta
The Standout Ingredient: Crispy pancetta adds flavor and texture to Foodie Crush's penne pasta recipe. All you need is cauliflower, garlic, butter, chili flakes, sourdough bread, and parsley.
The Pro Tip: "Crumble the croutons into small pieces by pouring into a gallon bag and crushing with the bottom of a heavy bottomed pan or a rolling pin," Foodie Crush recommends.
One Pot Penne Pasta
The Recipe: One Pot Penne Pasta
The Standout Ingredient: Lemon juice and zest brighten up the entirety of Love & Lemons's penne pasta recipe, which includes leeks, toasted pine nuts, zucchini, red pepper flakes, basil and oregano.
The Pro Tip: According to Love & Lemons, this recipe makes 2 large portions, or 3 to 4 smaller servings.
The Recipe: Pasta Primavera
The Standout Ingredient: A vegetable medley of broccoli, peas, bell peppers, and zucchini make a balanced meal out of penne pasta dressed in a lemony cream sauce. Make this recipe from Two Peas & Their Pod with the addition of vegetable broth, heavy cream, a shallot, crushed red pepper flakes, grape tomatoes, and garlic.
The Pro Tip: Garnish with Italian parsley and parmesan cheese.