Pasta is widely considered the ultimate comfort food. Even gluten-sensitive stomachs previously denied the pleasures of pasta can now enjoy gluten-free rice and quinoa-based pastas of all shapes and sizes. Aside from being delicious and easy to prepare, pasta is also shelf stable and inexpensive. Boxes of pasta that are easily four servings can cost as little as $1. These dishes highlight some favorite ways to use pasta that span many cultures and appeal to all ages.
13 Dishes That Celebrate the Many Faces of Pasta
This classic Jewish dish combines pasta bowties with tender buckwheat for a hearty and flavorful dish. It can serve as a side dish, snack, or the focus of a meal when made with egg and topped with onion and mushroom gravy. A recipe on Epicurious is simple, using a few household staples such as salt, pepper, and onion.
Most everyone from young to old celebrates the marriage of long noodles with tangy, sweet tomato sauce rich in garlic, onion, and herbs. Personalize this classic American-Italian dish by perfecting homemade sauce and fortifying it with additions of your choice, such as sausage, meatballs, roasted mushrooms, or baked fennel.
Pasta may be the star of many dishes, but sauces and dressings tend to steal the show. When a strong pasta craving is for the noodle itself, use garlic and oil to envelope fettuccini without masking the flavor of the pasta. The pungent flavors of garlic and oil make a simple and delicate seasoning.
Of all the pasta shapes, pappardelle is the one most commonly paired with ragù. The wide, flat noodles make a good companion to the hearty sauce. With a recipe from Eataly, a wine and mushroom ragù takes on impressive depth of flavor, elevating dinner parties or even a low-key night. Yet this dish is surprisingly easy and incredibly satisfying.
One of the best aspects of lasagna is the creativity it allows. This layered casserole can be built with classic meats, as in a traditional recipe on Taste of Home, or just as easily with roasted vegetables. Similarly, you can change the sauce from classic marinara to a creamy béchamel for a white lasagna. Combine with noodles and cheese and bake to hot, bubbly perfection.
This light, vegetarian pasta dish works beautifully as a side or as the primary plate. Combine one pound of cooked fusilli with a quarter cup toasted pine nuts, a small handful of golden raisins, a head of cauliflower cut into florets and roasted with salt and pepper, the zest of half a lemon, and a quarter cup grated Parmesan cheese. Dress with olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste and optional chili flakes.
Especially good for picky vegetable eaters, pasta salad is a way to incorporate a host of veggies such as tomatoes and bell peppers into dinner. Sliced deli meats and cheeses such as salami and provolone are other possible additions to a basic version posted on Allrecipes, as are more veggies such as blanched broccoli or asparagus for a more substantial dish.