Including soups, stews, and more, and incorporating flavors from around the world, these dishes highlight the versatility of noodles―and none takes more than 20 minutes to cook! By: Text: Jason Horn and Cooking Light staff
The spiral shape and grooved texture of cavatappi lets it hold on to lots of sauce and toppings, ensuring every bite of this dish is full of cheesy, porky, garlicky flavor and extra-virgin-olive-oil richness. A Caesar salad makes an excellent partner to this dish; try our pesto-enhanced version.
We love the combination of ham, cheese, and chicken in this classic dish, but not so much the frying. So we turned it into a creamy cheese sauce with the chicken and ham mixed in, to be served over egg noodles. Serve with a very simple, very fresh green salad, dressed with a nice acidic vinaigrette to counteract the pasta's richness.
You can now find pasta made from all manner of whole grains―brown rice, quinoa, spelt, and more―in most supermarkets. The cheesy sauce in this dish is designed to stand up to the heartier, nuttier flavor of whole-grain pastas, especially those made from kamut, an extra-high-protein, vitamin-rich variety of wheat. This dish has loads of heart-healthy fiber―almost a fifth of what you need in a day―but definitely doesn't taste like health food.
When pairing clams with pasta, Italians almost always choose linguine―it must be something about the pleasing contrast between the long, flat noodles, and the round, fat morsels of shellfish. You'll be amazed at the difference in taste and texture between dried and fresh pasta, which you can find in the refrigerated section of most supermarkets, so definitely give it a whirl here. A chunk of nice crusty bread really makes the meal.
This pasta will come together quickly and might just become a household favorite. Parmigiano-Reggiano and mascarpone cheese make a creamy and flavorful combination.
This light and easy pasta will pull together in a flash. Fresh basil and mint give an unbelievably fresh and delicious flavor boost that will take this recipe to the next level.
Fresh pasta pairs well with a simple, barely-there sauce that will gently coat each noodle, highlighting the fresh pasta's uniquely soft, smooth texture without overwhelming it or stealing its shine. This dish makes for a satisfying meatless meal that is sure to please your taste buds.
This recipe is full of bold ingredients like peppery arugula and savory sausage. A sprinkling of shaved pecorino Romano cheese gives a salty bite.
Orecchiette (little ears pasta) is a classic shape that's ideal for this chunky sauce. You can also substitute short pasta shapes like penne or rigatoni. If you can find mild-tasting cavolo nero (black kale), try it here.
This delicious pasta is full of bright colors that mirror the bright flavors of the dish. Fresh parsley and black pepper are two simple ingredients that make all the difference in this recipe.
The name may sound exotic, but this dish is pretty much entirely made from common pantry items. If you have spaghetti, peanut butter, and teriyaki sauce on hand, you're good to go―the veggies and shrimp can be swapped out for any vegetable and protein. Want a two-course Thai meal? Add chicken, pork, or shrimp sate skewers as an appetizer.
Loaded up with sausage, pasta, kidney beans, and vegetables, this is more like a stew than a soup. And it comes together in about 15 minutes in one pot: Cooking the pasta in the broth saves time and adds flavor. The perfect pair for this soup would be a quick sandwich, especially something Italian and grilled, like Chicken Panini with Fig Jam.
If you like blue cheese, there's nothing better than this thick, creamy sauce, flavored with tons of the stuff. If you don't, try this recipe and you'll be converted anyway. There are two different types of gorgonzola available: sweet, or dolce, which is softer and milder; and aged, or naturale, which has a stronger flavor. Choose whichever most appeals to you for this dish―either works beautifully.
This spicy Italian tomato sauce is easy to adapt to create many cuisine fusions: Add some chopped canned chipotles for a smoky Southwestern version, a spoonful of sriracha and some ginger for a fiery Asian tinge, or cayenne and bell pepper for Cajun flavor. You can also replace the shrimp with chicken, pork, beef, tofu, or eggplant, and use any size or shape of pasta.
This recipe is perfect for those weeknights when you're hungry, busy, and want something tasty right now. Just pull out a package of noodles, cook whatever veggies and meat are in the fridge, toss with a five-ingredient savory sauce, and you've got something as good as Chinese takeout (and much healthier). Just about any ingredient here can be replaced with a similar pantry-staple ingredient, or simply left out, without losing much flavor.
Packaged tortellini, available with a variety of cheese, vegetable, and meat fillings, and an excellent quick meal by themselves, but a tiny bit of work to create a sauce elevates them into the taste stratosphere. The ten-minute mushroom, tomato, and spinach sauce with crunchy bits of pancetta is excellent with any kind of pasta, but the creaminess of cheese tortellini is its perfect match.
As bivalves like mussels and clams cook, they open up and release a marvelously flavorful liquid, which you should never, ever let go to waste. This dish uses pasta to soak it up, but you could even leave out the pasta and serve the dish as a stew, with plenty of good bread for sopping. Like its Mediterranean namesake, this recipe can use any combination of seafood you have on hand: The simple herbs-and-tomato sauce works with lobster, crawfish, salmon, tilapia, oysters, scallops, and more.
"Sesame noodles" sounds innocent enough, but the savory, spicy, peanutty sauce is seriously addictive. It's a good use for leftovers, as you can add chopped cooked chicken, pork, tofu, or pretty much any vegetable. If you're a real sesame lover, try substituting tahini (the sesame seed paste often used in hummus) for a quarter to half of the peanut butter.
After you taste this dish, you'll be a convert: Mayonnaise has no place in pasta salad. The flavor―from a tart mustard citrus dressing―and contrasting textures―crunchy celery, onion, and walnut, chewy pasta, tender chicken, and juicy grapes―make an easy salad that can be made ahead and travels well, either for a dinner on the go or a workday lunch. Leftover chicken, or deli ham, or turkey can take the place of the store-bought rotisserie bird.
Hearty, meaty snapper holds up well to grilling, and needs little seasoning beyond the charred flavor that method provides. The delicate pasta salad, with its citrus-mustard vinaigrette and fresh herbs, makes a nice contrast. For an extra-healthy meal, use whole-grain pasta (other short noodles like orecchiette or bowties work too).
Who says pasta is exclusively Italian? This fresh and healthy salad uses soba, chewy Japanese buckwheat noodles, along with edamame for soy protein and shrimp for color and and flavor. The orange-lime-sesame dressing is a great alternative to plain old vinaigrette on any salad. Can't find soba? Use a rice- or wheat-based Asian noodle like somen, lo mein, or udon.
True Thai varieties of basil, which have small leaves and purple stems, have an assertive licorice flavor, which pairs excellently with beef; try to find some for this dish. The rest of the flavors here―pungent fish sauce, spicy red curry, bright lime juice―are also authentically Thai, creating a delicate balance of salty, spicy, sweet, and tart. If asparagus is out of season, replace it with fresh broccoli or spinach.
This is a ridiculously easy dish that manages to incorporate a range of great flavors―crisp, salty bacon, fresh, sweet asparagus, savory Parmesan―in less than 10 minutes. The bacon and veggies take about as long to cook as the pasta, and you just toss everything together to serve. Swap in whatever vegetables are on hand to create a quick meal anytime.
Though we paired this chunky sauce with fettuccine, it would also be nice with short pasta shapes, like penne, gemelli, or farfalle. For a more dramatic presentation, use multicolored cherry tomatoes, or a combination of cherry and pear (or teardrop-shaped) tomatoes.
The procedure may be the same as for regular basil pesto, but the intensely flavored olive paste in this dish is closer to a tapenade. The briny, oily olives produce a smooth "pesto," which turns into a simple sauce with the addition of a little pasta cooking liquid. (The starch in the cooking liquid also helps the sauce stick to the noodles.)
The cuisine of Spain may not be as familiar to most Americans as Mexican, Italian, and Chinese food are. What a shame, as it yields many dishes as delightful and easy as this one. With the briny ocean flavor of mussels, the smoky cured-pork essence of chorizo (use Spanish chorizo, which is less spicy and more smoky than the Mexican version), and the unmistakable Spanish taste and color of saffron, this bowl is a warm savory meal suitable for any day of the week.
As a merchant port for all of Asia, Singapore has developed a cuisine that incorporates elements from as far away as Pakistan and Japan, and everywhere in between. This dish flavors Chinese rice noodles with Indian curry powder to create a flavorful meal that's ready in a flash: You can have it on the table in about 15 minutes, including cooking the noodles and chopping the veggies.
We love small, sweet grape tomatoes in this quick meatless pasta dish, but you can sub cherry tomatoes or larger tomatoes that have been seeded and diced. This tasty meal is filling enough to enjoy alone or could be served alongside one of our superfast side-dishes.
This nut-free pesto trades traditional pine nuts and Parmesan for broccoli and nutty-tasting pecorino Romano. Anchovy fillets add meatiness, but you can skip them if you like.
View Recipe: Broccoli and Pecorino Pesto Pasta
Dicing bacon before tossing it into a pan allows for quicker cooking and even browning. Remove crisped bits with a slotted spoon to keep all of the tasty drippings in the pan.
View Recipe: Pasta with Bacon, Shredded Brussels Sprouts, and Lemon Zest
This saucy vegetarian pasta takes on a subtle peppery bite from the arugula and watercress, so feel free to leave out the red pepper if feeding heat-sensitive palates.