Baked Pasta

Lasagna, pasta casseroles and stuffed shells all come to mind when we think of baked pasta, but just about any noodle can be cooked in the oven. We love this baked orecchiette with pork gravy and red wine-tomato sauce, topped with plenty of Parmesan and baked until it's crispy on top. This dish doesn't have a ton of cheese so it's a bit lighter than traditional baked pasta. If you love stuffed pastas like cannelloni, try this baked rigatoni-it comes together in no time at all. Cooked pasta gets tossed with a mixture of ricotta, Parmesan, nutmeg, fontina and spinach before it gets baked to golden brown perfection. Find a recipe for any occasion in F&W's guide to baked pasta.

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Vegetarian Lasagna “Bolognese” with Plant-Based Meat

This faux lasagna Bolognese delivers all the comforting flavors of the Italian classic, thanks to layers of richly seasoned plant-based meat and a quickly simmered marinara. Cheesy spinach and tender zucchini pack in even more vegetables, which get an extra umami boost from plenty of parmesan. If you’ve never cooked with plant-based meat before, trust your instincts and your eyes; it browns as it cooks, just like ground beef.

Kale-Artichoke Stuffed Shells

Cannellini beans add hearty creaminess to these stuffed shells, while mild heat from Calabrian chiles and earthy sweetness from fennel seeds amp up jarred marinara sauce. Cook a few extra pasta shells to have on hand in case some tear during boiling.

Turkey and Butternut Squash Lasagna with Crispy Sage

Each layer of this next-level lasagna leans on Thanksgiving leftovers in a smart way to bring big flavor to the table. Leftover sautéed mushrooms jazz up the creamy béchamel, while mashed butternut squash provides a smooth contrast to the hearty turkey filling flavored with leftover gravy and Parmesan, and pan-fried sage leaves add an elegant twist. “I love Thanksgiving leftovers, so I still want my leftovers dishes to embody those Thanksgiving flavors,” says chef Sara Grueneberg, who shared this recipe. “I call for roasted butternut squash, but if you make a great roasted sweet potato dish for the big event, those leftovers would be perfect in this lasagna.”

Three-Cheese Lasagna with Roasted Red Peppers and Mushrooms

To create a vegetarian lasagna that’s packed with flavor (rather than watery and bland), start by roasting mushrooms and red peppers with a quick garlic-infused oil. While the vegetables are cooking, stir together a quick ricotta filling with plently of Parmesan for extra umami. Using no-boil lasagna noodles and good-quality store-bought tomato sauce cut down on cook time without sacrificing taste.Related: More Lasagna Recipes

Woven Lasagna with Prosciutto and Fresh Spinach Sauce

Weaving the pasta sheets in this lasagna allows the outer pieces to bubble and crisp in the oven around the creamy, rustic prosciutto-ricotta filling. Don’t skip the fresh pasta sheets; their length and texture are key to weaving together this show-stopping dish.To ensure that the pasta dough yields two long, even sheets, this recipe makes a bit of extra dough to allow for generous trimming. Reroll the scraps and cut into enough fresh noodles for a light meal for two. The lasagna needs to set up in the refrigerator for at least six hours and up to a day; the assembled lasagna may be frozen and thawed in the fridge before slicing and roasting. The spinach may be blanched in the pasta water and the spinach sauce may be made up to a day ahead. Once the lasagna has chilled, it takes mere minutes to heat and serve this stunning, cover-worthy recipe, making it ideal for a dinner party. For a version without prosciutto, see Note.
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More Baked Pasta

Cheesy Baked Pasta with Radicchio

A splash of red wine vinegar balances the richness of this cheesy pasta and magnifies the pink color of the onions and radicchio. Omit the prosciutto to make this a vegetarian main dish.

Crab Macaroni Gratin

My mid-December birthday marks the start of Dungeness crab season in the Pacific Northwest. Perhaps I’m biased, but in my opinion, Dungeness is the tastiest crab there is, and worth celebrating in and of itself. Several years ago, I started inviting friends over under the guise of a birthday party, but really, it’s a celebration of the season, the past year, and, yes, the fresh catch of the best crab on the planet.My guest list includes too many friends to fit around my dining table, so we’re packed like sardines, snug in the candlelit room with magnums of Champagne and piles of steaming whole crabs to be cracked and dipped in melted butter. It’s messy and a bit chaotic, but fancy at the same time. I’d have it no other way.I like to choose a theme for the annual menu, usually inspired by a travel experience I had that year. Last year I visited one of my favorite cities, New Orleans, not once but twice, so it seemed fitting to laissez les bons temps rouler come December. The crab was cooked with Creole seasonings in the boil, classic and delicious, but the surprise hit was this macaroni au gratin served with it.To make it, I channeled iconic restaurants like Galatoire’s, Clancy’s, and Brigtsen’s—some of my favorites to visit when I’m in the Big Easy. A glorious amount of crabmeat baked with shell-shaped pasta in a three-cheese cream sauce —tangy white Cheddar, nutty Gruyère, and sharp Parmigiano-Reggiano—is no-joke delicious, and trés riche. That’s where the Champagne comes in. The tingly bubbles give your palate an ultrasonic scrub between each creamy, cheesy, blissful bite. Blanc de blancs, or Chardonnay-based Champagnes, are particularly good here. They can be saline like shellfish, complex like great cheeses, and bring enough acidity to play counterpoint to both.This recipe is not cheap, but it is easy. Once you shred the cheese, the rest is simple assembly. I buy the crabmeat picked, because, as I’m told by my fishmonger, it averages out to be about the same price as cooking whole crabs and picking the meat yourself, and it saves precious time. If you don’t have access to Dungeness, try this with your local variety, or whatever type of crab you can get your hands on.

Chicken Tetrazzini

If you don’t want to poach chicken breasts for this slightly dressed-up chicken tetrazzini, you can use 3 to 4 cups of meat from a rotisserie chicken instead. Slideshow: More Chicken Recipes