American chefs are bringing a new level of creativity to the noodle.

By Kristin Donnelly
Updated March 31, 2015

In this Article

Agar-agar spaghetti and potato-foam gnocchi helped turn Spain’s Ferran Adrià into a legend. But until recently, few American chefs dared to innovate with pasta, because their customers worshipped classic Italian dishes. Those recipes will never go out of style, but now, chefs are feeling freer to experiment. They’re making dough with different kinds of flour, flavoring it with ingredients that would shock a traditionalist and serving noodles in outrageously good cross-cultural recipes—like angel hair pasta in broth with soft-boiled eggs and a drizzle of chile oil, a soup that’s as slurpable as ramen. The dishes that follow are for adventurous, creative cooks. Plus, you’ll find techniques that even beginners will love, like this one for pasta pomodoro: Boil pasta in water for just five minutes, then let it finish cooking in tomato sauce (even the jarred kind will work) until it’s infused with flavor. Read on for more bold ideas from America’s new pasta masters.

Creative Pasta Recipes

Fusilli with Shrimp and Lemon Butter

Genius Idea: Toss gluten-free corn pasta with shrimp for a new take on shrimp and grits.

Italian Ramen

Genius Idea: Treat chicken noodle soup like ramen, serving it with a soft-boiled egg and chile oil.

Squid Ink Pasta with Asparagus

Genius Idea: Toss hot pasta with crème fraîche to make an instant, creamy sauce.

Casarecce with Spicy Skate and Snap Peas

Genius Idea: Add vinegar-marinated chiles for both heat and tanginess.

Beet Gnocchi with Walnut-Sage Butter

Genius Idea: Make gnocchi healthier by adding beet puree.

Baked Shells with Cauliflower and Taleggio

Genius Idea: Add wine to cheesy baked pasta to balance the richness.

Toasted Fazzoletti with Chanterelles and Hazelnuts

Genius Idea: Toast some of the flour in your pasta dough so it tastes sweeter and nuttier.

Smart and Simple Pasta Sauces

Sarah Grueneberg at Spiaggia in Chicago, a Top Chef finalist, shares her take on four famous pasta sauces.

Sauce-Simmered Spaghetti al Pomodoro

Fresh Chile Puttanesca

All’Amatriciana with Extra Umami

Mushroom Bolognese

Crunchy, Creamy + Quick Pasta Toppers

Toasted Chorizo Bread Crumbs

Thyme-Frico Crumble

Fried Capers and Sage

Anchovy-Parmesan Butter

Olive-Pistachio Relish