The Classic Pasta Recipes You Need to Know How to Cook

Butternut Squash Ravioli on white plate
Alfredo is only the beginning. Essential Italian recipes include marinara, spaghetti and meatballs, and manicotti. We've got the ones you'll turn to time and again.

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? Mangiare!

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, all you have to do is pop the pan in the oven.

Fettuccine Alfredo

“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 you see how simple it is to stir up your own creamy Alfredo in just about 30 minutes.

Pasta Puttanesca

Like your sauce salty and loaded with flavor? Give this big-batch puttanesca, studded with garlic (24 cloves!), anchovies, olives, and capers, a try. This is the perfect way to use up a bumper crop of tomatoes.

Shrimp Scampi

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 small handful of parsley freshen things up.

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, try our truffle, bacon, butternut squash, and pumpkin variations.

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 Beef-Fennel Ragu

Simmer lean ground beef, tomatoes, and plenty of spices (including fennel, of course) in your slow cooker all day for a hearty, hands-off ragu. When you get home, stir in the pasta and allow it to be infused with flavor and reach al dente perfection during the final 20 minutes of cooking.

Classic Lasagna

Can't choose between white sauce and red sauce? We won't make you. Both star in this scrumptious sausage lasagna! In addition to the tomato and creamy béchamel, this comforting casserole features ricotta, mozzarella, and Parm for the ultimate cheese pull.

One-Pot Spaghetti

This crowd-pleasing classic spaghetti recipe has become a staple in many BH&G reader kitchens. Why? You only need one saucepan, 40 minutes, and a handful of pantry and freezer staples to get it on the table any night of the week.

Homemade Noodles

Any sauce tastes better when paired with fresh pasta. These easy Homemade Noodles call for two yolks for every whole egg to create a super-silky texture. You'll want to stir up a batch every pasta night!

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.

Angel Hair with Walnut Pesto

Put your basil bounty to use in this blend-and-serve pesto recipe. A splash of starchy pasta cooking water is the secret thickening agent that gives this classic pesto the perfect noodle-coating consistency.

Pasta Cacio e Pepe

Chances are you have all the classic (and classically delicious) ingredients necessary to stir together this easy cheesy pasta recipe. Shred the Romano cheese nice and fine so it melts into this warm spaghetti dish.

Pasta Fagioli

Any recipe that starts with pancetta, onion, garlic, and red wine can’t be bad. Those ingredients set the flavor base for this tomato and pasta soup perfect for warming up a cold day.

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. Try these classic meatballs over pasta, stuffed inside a slider bun, or piled on top of a hoagie bun.

Turkey Manicotti

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, then bake, for a casserole that will have everyone fighting over the last piece.

Potato Gnocchi

If you like mashed spuds, you'll fall for these fluffy little potato pillows. They're like a mash-up of a pasta entrée and your favorite starchy side dish. Coat in browned butter and Parmesan for a comforting, hearty meal.

Fresh Marinara Pasta

Master this homemade marinara, made with fresh roma tomatoes, so you can skip the jarred red sauce. It's a simple way to trim your grocery bill and your sodium consumption. In addition to the traditional sauce, this recipe explains how to make a spicy arrabbiata, a creamy marinara, and a zesty puttanesca.

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 with a glass of white wine for a quintessential Italian meal.

Homemade Butternut Squash Ravioli

Learn how to make both the pasta dough and the nutmeg-scented squash filling using this ravioli recipe. Top with Browned Butter Sage Sauce for the ultimate fall-flavor dinner.

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