10 Surprising Things to Do with Pasta

Italian Pot Roast
We know you've got one (or two or three): a box of pasta stashed in your cupboard. Tonight bring it out of the shadows and away from the spaghetti sauce. Whether masquerading as a piecrust or mingling with pot roast, here are 10 fresh ways to cook with pasta.

Pasta, Perfected

Start a rolling boil and flip through these revitalized ways to enjoy a pasta dinner. (Hint: Noodles are way more fun than tortillas in enchiladas and tacos.)

#1: Load with Taco Filling

We might be bragging, but this recipe is genius. Swapping pasta shells for tortillas gives you tender taco bites just in time to revamp taco night. Fill cooked shells with cheesy ground beef, then bake for 15 minutes in your favorite salsa.

#2: Layer in a Breakfast Dish

If you want to shock hungry guests, take pasta off the dinner menu and put it into breakfast. Layers of lasagna noodles sandwich spicy Italian sausage, eggs, and hash browns for a company-worthy breakfast or brunch feast. Just add mimosas.

#3: Sprinkle in a Meat Loaf

Hungry? Start here. Pasta and meatballs combine for an unconventional meat loaf. Bake the individual loaves, then stack them atop garlicky buttered ciabatta rolls for the ultimate hearty dinner.

#4: Smoke on the Grill

For this pasta recipe, we took noodles where they've never been: the grill. Start with a two-cheese sauce and cooked pasta. Pile the mixture into an aluminum pan, and cook it on a cedar or maple plank for awesome smoky flavor.

#5: Use as Starch in a Frittata

Cooked penne makes this favorite Italian breakfast more filling -- and, let's face it, more delicious. The soft noodles mingle with chewy broccoli florets, fresh basil, and shredded mozzarella for a breakfast that's good any time of day.

#6: Make Bite-Size Enchilada Shells

Jumbo shell macaroni takes a Mexican-inspired detour for a new twist on enchiladas. Rather than spooning saucy enchilada filling into tortillas, use pasta shells. The smaller shells make serving easier.

#7: Form into Piecrust

With pasta as the crust, you'll want to have your pie and scarf it, too. Pasta forms an eggy crust with hints of Parmesan -- the perfect base to layer creamy ricotta, fresh basil, and saucy meatballs.

#8: Layer in a Meat Loaf

Make spicy Mexican meat loaf more lovable with a dose of cheesy pasta. The layer of mac and cheese baked into the meat loaf makes the poblano-studded beef more moist and gives every bite a mix of textures and flavors.

#9: Serve with Lobster

If "elegant" and "gourmet" don't come to mind when you think about mac and cheese, reconsider. Combining classic cheesy pasta with rich lobster might be the best decision of your week. We added creamy Gruyere, fresh leeks, and truffle oil for a surprisingly sophisticated take on pasta.

#10: Add to Pot Roast

To put an Italian spin on pot roast, pasta is crucial. You'll love the way starchy penne makes this comfort food even heartier.

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