The Classic Pasta Recipes Every Home Cook Should Master
Pasta with Bolognese Sauce
Bolognese, an old-school Italian ragu, is a hearty topper for any long, thin noodle. To make your sauce stand out, opt for Italian sausage instead of beef and add a splash of red wine and cream. All that's left to do after the sauce simmers for 40 minutes? Toss with cooked pasta—we’re partial to spaghetti Bolognese.
Baked Ziti with Three Cheeses
A cheesy baked ziti recipe is a must in your pasta dinner repertoire. This meatless casserole can be assembled up to two days ahead, so on a busy weeknight you just have to pop the pan in the oven. No ziti? No sweat. This is also terrific as a baked penne, if you have that cut of pasta on hand.
“Hands down, the very best Alfredo recipe I have tried,” raves one BHG.com home cook. You’ll agree and will never turn to the jarred variety again after taking a single bite. Especially after you see how simple it is to stir up your own creamy fettuccine Alfredo in just about 30 minutes!
If you have 20 minutes, you have more than enough time to toss together this elegant and easy pasta recipe. A hint of lemon zest and a small handful of parsley freshen things up. Pair the angel hair shrimp dish (or shrimp linguine, if you prefer) with a side salad and some warm bread, and dinner is done.
Best Four-Cheese Macaroni and Cheese
When you're ready for an upgrade from the boxed mix, try this cozy, comforting, and outrageously cheesy casserole. Once you've mastered the classic macaroni and cheese, try our truffle, bacon, butternut squash, and pumpkin variations.
Test Kitchen Tip: For the creamiest texture, buy blocks of Gouda, cheddar, Swiss, and Parmesan, and grate it yourself rather than using preshredded bags of cheese.
Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes and Arugula Pesto
Traditional basil pesto pasta recipes call for cups and cups of basil. But we love this rendition that supplements the fresh herbs with a big pile of peppery arugula. The resulting summery sauce is a total treat (and an absolute breeze to whiz up in a food processor), especially once you pair it with sweet-tart roasted cherry tomatoes and warm pasta.
This crowd-pleasing classic spaghetti recipe has become a staple in many BH&G reader (and editor!) kitchens. Why? You only need one saucepan, 40 minutes, and a handful of freezer and pantry staples to get this classic Italian pasta dish on the table any night of the week.
Aglio e Olio
The spice is right when you serve spaghetti aglio e olio. It’s like cacio pepe’s kicked-up cousin! And it’s a cinch to customize the level of heat in this quick pasta toss: Simply add a little more or a little less crushed red pepper flake to the parsley- and garlic-infused olive oil and cheese sauce.
Fettuccine alla Carbonara
Carbonara is traditionally made with egg, bacon, and Parmesan. We take a few delicious liberties by tossing in some prosciutto and mixing in a creamy white wine sauce. While it tastes like you stressed over this sauce all afternoon, fettuccine carbonara is actually a surprisingly doable weeknight dinner idea—this entire entrée takes just 35 minutes.
Mama’s Spicy Meatballs and Noodles
Chili sauce and fennel add extra pep to these pork meatballs and a homemade wine-spiked sauce that coats every bite with a taste of summer from tomatoes. For round one, try this as a spaghetti and meatballs entrée. Then put leftovers or this hearty meatball recipe to delicious use stuffed inside a slider bun or piled on top of a hoagie bun.
Pasta Cacio e Pepe
Chances are you have all the classic (and delicious) ingredients necessary to stir together this easy cheesy traditional pasta recipe. In fact, if you have noodles of any long, thin style and a hard Italian cheese, you’re pretty much golden. Shred the Romano cheese nice and fine so it melts into this warm, peppery spaghetti dish.
Any dish that starts with pancetta, onion, garlic, and red wine can’t be bad. Those ingredients set the flavor base for this cozy tomato and pasta soup that’s perfect for warming up a cold day. If you know traditional Italian pasta fagioli recipes from Olive Garden, then it’s almost a must to pair this homemade soup with unlimited salad and breadsticks. (We always do!)
Stuff tubes of pasta with four types of cheeses, then spread a hearty ground turkey-tomato mixture on top and sprinkle on a bit more cheese. (Why not?) Chill for up to a day, bake, then enjoy this classic pasta casserole that will have everyone fighting over the last piece.
Fresh Marinara Pasta
Master this homemade marinara made with fresh roma tomatoes so you can skip the jarred red sauce. This from-scratch sauce is a simple way to trim your grocery bill—and your sodium consumption. In addition to the traditional sauce, this classic pasta recipe explains how to make a spicy arrabbiata, a creamy marinara, and a zesty puttanesca so you can mix things up each time you make it.
Spaghetti with Clams
This healthy seafood pasta is a total catch! Featuring a heart-healthy olive oil sauce, multigrain spaghetti, and protein-rich clams, it's a light yet satisfying option for pasta parties. Start with a vegetable soup or salad and enjoy this spaghetti or linguine with clams with a glass of white wine for a quintessential Italian meal.
Homemade Butternut Squash Ravioli
While many of us buy this classic pasta dish premade at the supermarket or specialty grocer, you can absolutely DIY. Learn how to make both the pasta dough and the nutmeg-scented squash filling using this ravioli recipe. Then all that’s left to do is top with Browned Butter Sage Sauce and grab a fork—voilà, the ultimate fall dinner.