31 Fast Weekday Pasta Recipes for Busy Days
When you're short on time and need a quick meal ASAP, these pasta recipes are a reliable option. Many of them come together in half an hour or less, such as this spicy sausage pasta with tomatoes and squash and pulling-from-the-pantry puttanesca, meaning you can get dinner (or lunch) on the table that much sooner. And if you need a vegan or vegetarian option? Don't worry, we have a few of those in here, too. Keep reading for even more fast pasta recipes to keep in your back pocket.
Pasta with Guanciale, Radicchio and Ricotta
To make this rich pasta, chef Nancy Silverton sautés guanciale and then cooks the radicchio and red onions in the rendered fat.
All'Amatriciana with Extra Umami
Chef Sarah Grueneberg makes her amatriciana sauce with anchovies, so it's extra-savory.
Linguine with Clams, Bacon, and Tomato
Clams and bacon form a delectable union enhanced by wine-flavored tomato sauce. We recommend chopped clams, which are sold in refrigerated containers in many fish shops and at supermarkets, but you can also use good-quality canned clams.
Pasta with Sausage, Basil and Mustard
In 2018, Food & Wine named this recipe one of our 40 best: In matching spicy sausage with a creamy mustard sauce and fragrant basil, British cookbook author Nigel Slater created a quick pasta supper with warm, mildly spicy flavors, perfect for a cool fall or winter evening.
Fettuccine Alfredo with Asparagus
Ready to go at a moment's notice, this asparagus-embellished classic is not only creamy, quick, and delicious, but it all comes together in one pot.
Spaghettini with Mushrooms, Garlic, and Oil
We've added sautéed mushrooms to the classic-and very simple-spaghetti with garlic and oil, but the dish can still be made in no time at all. Regular white mushrooms are excellent here; portobellos or wild mushrooms would be great, too.
Sausage, escarole, and white beans join rigatoni in a garlicky broth slightly thickened with Parmesan. Don't stir too much after adding the beans, or they'll break up.
Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe, Bacon, and Bread Crumbs
This recipe can also be made with shells, bow ties, rotelle, or fusilli.
Spaghetti with Escarole and Bacon
Crisp bacon complements escarole so well that you may be tempted to sauté the greens in the bacon fat, but don't do it; the bacon will then overwhelm the greens completely. Use olive oil instead, which will bring all the flavors together.
Penne with Shrimp and Spicy Tomato Sauce
Paprika, cumin, and ginger lend their aromatic alchemy to a simple, no-cook tomato sauce. You can use the sauce with a wide range of ingredients.
Farfalle with Spicy Sausage and Butternut Squash
This fall-ready pasta dish comes together in just 25 minutes.
Orecchiette with Sausage and Chicory
Chef Michael White uses dandelion greens to give his slightly spicy sausage pasta a bitter edge, but chicory or escarole makes a great stand-in.
Spaghetti with Sun-Dried-Tomato-Almond Pesto
This Mediterranean dish from Marcie Turney is quick, simple and utterly delicious.
Cheese Tortellini with Walnut Pesto
Here's one of the quickest pesto sauces you'll come across. It's a perfect match for cheese tortellini, but you can use other tortellini such as mushroom or meat instead. The pesto is also great with just about any plain pasta.
Orecchiette with Broccoli and Tomatoes
Balsamic vinegar adds a hint of sweetness to this savory sauce.
Ziti, Eggplant, and Fontina Gratin
Eggplant is sautéed in olive oil until it's creamy soft and then tossed with pasta and cheese. A quick stint under the broiler melts the fontina and browns the top.
Bow Ties with Chicken, Watercress, and Walnuts
Chicken and walnuts always taste great together. Here the combination is enhanced by the peppery bite of watercress.
Ziti with Portobello Mushrooms, Caramelized Onions, and Goat Cheese
Meaty mushrooms are enhanced by sweet caramelized onions and just enough tangy melted goat cheese in this delicious year-round pasta.
Pasta with Sautéed Spring Greens
This pasta is a little creamy, with smoky bacon flavor and an appealing pop from the mustard seeds in the greens.
Creamy Tomato Rigatoni
This recipe is inspired by sommelier Derrick C. Westbrook of 1340 Beer Wine Spirits in Chicago, who named it his ideal dish for pairing with wine. "My first restaurant job was at an Italian restaurant; I'd ask the pasta cook to mix red sauce with a splash of cream, a riff on vodka sauce," he says. "I still love creamy tomato sauce on short pasta, paired with juicy, fresh red wines like Zweigelt or unoaked Cabernet Franc that offer just a touch of funk and medium acidity."
Spicy Sausage Pasta with Tomatoes and Squash
Gluten-Free Spaghetti and Meatballs
Spaghetti and meatballs is typically a weekend dish, but in this gluten-free version from Ann Taylor Pittman, you can have that comfort in just 55 minutes.
Creamy Vegan Pasta Primavera
A few smart swaps transform your favorite creamy spring pasta into a vegan-friendly masterpiece. Umami-rich nutritional yeast shoulders the duties of Parmesan, while buttery macadamia nut milk stands in for heavy cream. Check the label closely when shopping to ensure the macadamia nut milk is unsweetened.
One-Pot White Wine Pasta with Mushrooms and Leeks
This creamy, savory pasta dish comes together in just one pot-no need to boil the pasta separately. A combination of savory sautéed mushrooms and gently sweet leeks combine with cream, lemon juice, and white wine to create the rich sauce. Feel free to switch up the flavor by adding tarragon instead of dill.
Creamy Baked Pasta with Gruyère and Prosciutto
For a simple and ultra-creamy baked pasta, take a cue from chef Ashley Christensen of Poole's Diner: Trade the béchamel for this sauce of heavy cream simmered with plenty of nutmeg and two kinds of cheese.
Thin Spaghetti with Tomatoes, Kalamata Olives, Feta, and Mint
For a weeknight when speed is key, whip up this one-pot pasta. It's inspired by Greek ingredients like whole cherry tomatoes, briny olives, salty feta cheese, and fresh mint and oregano, and makes a satisfying meal for a summer evening with very little effort.
Creamy Spaghetti Carbonara with Peas and Ham
This modern take on a classic Italian pasta dish relies on ham instead of traditional pancetta for a dose of smoky flavor and richness.
Cacio e Plantain
Mildly sweet and super creamy, caramelized plantains and nutty Parmesan form a silky sauce that drapes over spaghetti in this recipe by game-changing chef Eric Rivera. Choose very ripe plantains, with a mostly or completely black peel. Cilantro stems add a pop of crunch and freshness along with their tender leaves; chop them finely for the garnish.
Cold Crab Spaghetti
Late summer in Louisiana is boggy hot; this refreshing dish from Chef Isaac Toups comes to the rescue with sweet-tart segments of juicy tangerine and uses just a teaspoon of Dijon to create a creamy, balanced sauce. Thai chile brings a touch of heat, while a flurry of mint, basil, and parsley highlight the natural sweetness of fresh crab.
Pasta Salad with Feta and Herbs
This Southern-inspired pasta salad from Mason Hereford's Turkey and the Wolf gets a touch of tangy heat from hot sauce and loads of crunch from nutty sunflower seeds. Use Duke's mayonnaise for an extra-tangy bite to the dressing. This colorful, eclectic pasta will fit in well with any picnic or cookout spread.