A metal skillet filled with sausage pappardelle with grated Parmesan on top.
Richard Clatworthy
1 of 10

Jamie Oliver’s Sausage Pappardelle

This sausage pappardelle is made in just one-pan with fresh pasta, sausage, and a luxurious wine-infused tomato sauce, and it comes together in under 30 minutes. It's an easy weeknight dinner that feels worthy of a special occasion.
A plate filled with pasta with butter and Parmesan.
2 of 10

Pasta with Butter and Parmesan

Pasta with butter and Parmesan appeals to nearly everyone. This pasta's brilliance lies in it's simplicity, universal appeal, and endless add-in options.

This is my all time favorite way to have spaghetti. How can you beat just plain ol’ salty spaghetti and butter, which is all this recipe basically is, allowing that we’ll all use more or less garlic, butter, or pepper to make it our own. There is nothing wrong with keeping it simple.

Dal. R
Creamy pappardelle with chicken and bacon in a black bowl with a fork, topped with grated cheese.
Paul Brissman
3 of 10

Creamy Pappardelle with Chicken and Bacon

Rotisserie chicken is folded into a rich, bacony cream sauce that drapes perfectly over pappardelle (or other wide noodles) for a comforting dish that’s as good for a chilly night at home alone as it is for a casual yet special dinner with friends.
A red bowl filled with creamy sun-dried tomato and spinach pasta with a red cloth napkin on the side.
Joe St. Pierre
4 of 10

Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta

Sun-dried tomatoes, lemon-infused ricotta, and spinach meld together to make a creamy flavorful easy pasta sauce in this easy weeknight dinner recipe.

Wowza! I made this tomato pasta with broccoli rabe and it blew me away. The bitter greens with the creamy tomato sauce were outstanding. It’s so easy to make and this will be a great pasta dish to brighten up a winter night!

A blue and white bowl filled with San Francisco-style Vietnamese garlic noodles with a pair of chopsticks resting on the side of the bowl.
Kenji López-Alt
5 of 10

San Francisco-Style Vietnamese Garlic Noodles

Garlic, pasta, and classic Asian flavors collide in this easy, popular Asian-inspired noodle dish.
A metal skillet filled with creamy pasta covered with shredded Parmesan and cracked pepper, with a large serving spoon. A bowl of Parmesan and a pepper mill sit beside it.
Helen Cathcart
6 of 10

Cacio e Pepe

This authentic cacio e pepe recipe relies on pantry staples of pasta, cheese, salt, pepper, and olive oil as well as a nifty cooking technique to put dinner on the table before you know it.

This cacio e pepe was really delish and super easy. Nice to have a meatless meal for a change.

Two bowls filled with creamy asparagus pasta with a pot of pasta on the side.
Steven Joyce
7 of 10

Creamy Asparagus Pasta

This creamy pasta with asparagus is made with fresh egg pasta, snappy asparagus, and a silky garlic, egg, and creme fraîche sauce.
A pink bowl filled with lemon garlic shrimp pasta with a fork resting inside.
Leslie Grow & Bree McCool
8 of 10

Lemon Garlic Shrimp Pasta

This bright lemony pasta includes pan-seared shrimp, noodles, and a buttery garlic sauce. It's an easy weeknight meal that's on the table in just 30 minutes.
A pan of skillet tortellini with sausage and cherry tomatoes sprinkled with chopped basil.
America’s Test Kitchen
9 of 10

Skillet Tortellini with Sausage and Cherry Tomatoes

After browning some sausage, the tortellini go directly into the same pan with some water. Once the pasta is tender, cherry tomatoes join the party and soften into a makeshift sauce. A shower of fresh basil makes this pantry meal feel a little fresher and more aromatic.

This tortellini recipe is a staple for me, I make it at least once every other week. This is one of those recipes you can pull together in no time when you don’t know what to make. All ingredients are things I have on hand, and this comes together in one pan, with minimal prep, in 20 minutes.

The flavor is incredible with the spices from the Italian sausage, and the sauce that forms cooking the tortellini in the broth. One of the best quick pasta recipes I have on hand for a weeknight dinner!

Hilary M.
A pale blue bowl filled with farfalle, tuna, capers, tomatoes, and topped with bread crumbs and a slice of lemon, sitting on a red and white dish cloth.
America’s Test Kitchen
10 of 10

Pasta with Tuna and Crispy Bread Crumbs

Make the most of canned tuna with this quick and easy tuna and pasta salad, filled with tomatoes, olives, garlic, and topped with crispy breadcrumbs.

Pasta FAQs

I never seem to have the right shape of pasta on hand. How do I know what to substitute?

Different pasta shapes are suited to different types of sauce. Some pasta recipes work best with long strands so that they are fully coated in sweet tomato sauce, while other pasta shapes have nooks and crannies to capture bits of ground beef or sausage.

However, within those categories, you can easily swap in different shapes of pasta. Check out this guide on How to Choose the Best Pasta Shape for Your Sauce.

What’s the best way to reheat leftover pasta?

Our preferred method is to reheat leftover pasta gently in a saucepan over low heat. When you’re making pasta, save some of the pasta water and stash it in the fridge with your leftovers. It works miracles in loosening up pasta sauces that have turned too thick and clumpy.

How do I avoid making mushy pasta?

There are three important things to remember when cooking pasta. First, undercook it slightly. You want it to be just al dente which is usually about 1 minute less than the box suggests.

Second, save some pasta water before you drain the noodles. That starchy liquid will help bring your sauce and pasta together.

Lastly, finish cooking your pasta in your sauce. The flavors will meld together and the pasta will absorb some of the sauce as it finishes cooking. For more details, read this article on How to Cook Perfect Pasta.

What are your go-to simple pasta recipes? Let us know in a comment below.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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