Pasta recipes that will never expire

Pasta recipes that will never expire

Illustration for article titled Pasta recipes that will never expire
Photo: Anda Chu/Digital First Media/East Bay Times (Getty Images)

Everyone, everywhere, is singing pasta’s praises anew right now—even more than dalgona coffee or sourdough bread. It’s a cheap, easy, shelf-stable pantry product that will see you through lean times and quarantines alike. You already know this. You’ve stocked up on angel hair, rigatoni, and even some orecchiette. You’ve got this; you’re good. And yet...

Several weeks of homemade meals in a row is simply a lot of cooking for any one person to take, even if they enjoy it. You might find yourself in a rut, in need of a recipe that varies your routine, something that can be cobbled together with the dwindling contents of your fridge and still be tasty and satisfying enough that you won’t immediately pivot to a make-good meal of frozen pizza. (You’ll be wanting that right around week five, and it’s best to save it for when you most need its cheesy comforts.) So here’s a roundup of our best pasta ideas, all in one place. You can bookmark it for the next time you’re staring down a box of fettuccine noodles in the cabinet, wondering if you’ve got the supplies to make them pop. You do, and they will.

Advertisement

2 / 15

First, a note on “pantry pasta”

First, a note on “pantry pasta”

Illustration for article titled Pasta recipes that will never expire
Photo: Francesco Carta fotografo (Getty Images)

Technically, any recipe for pasta could constitute a “pantry pasta.” Everybody’s got different pantries—we’ve all got different ingredients lying around. But the concept of pantry pasta should have a certain unifying ethos: any recipe should, first and foremost, include minimal ingredients. Those ingredients should also be readily available to home cooks of any level. And the pasta should have a good amount of bite from some combination of acid, garlic, or salt, because strong flavor is a great remedy for a lack of resources. Check out five ideas for pantry pasta here.

Advertisement

3 / 15

Not a fan of leafy greens? There’s a pesto recipe for that

Not a fan of leafy greens? There’s a pesto recipe for that

Zucchini Pesto Pasta
Zucchini Pesto Pasta
Photo: Allison Robicelli

If you want to eat pasta while also getting a huge serving of vegetables, this is the way to do it. Zucchini has a ridiculously high water content, which makes it the perfect summer sauce when steamed and pureed. Throw in a bit of basil, cheese, and toasted nuts, and you’ve got a thick pesto “cream” sauce without the need to spend $60 on groceries to make a small pint of pesto. You can 86 the cheese or swap it out for a plant-based alternative to make this sauce 100% vegan, and yet still it will taste luxurious and creamy. Get the recipe here.

Advertisement

4 / 15

Use your air fryer to turn pasta into a crunchy snack

Use your air fryer to turn pasta into a crunchy snack

Crispy Gnocchi and Raw Tomato Sauce
Crispy Gnocchi and Raw Tomato Sauce
Photo: Allison Robicelli

Gnocchi is made from a mixture of flour and cooked potatoes, and its heft means that it should be treated differently from other pastas. This recipe approaches gnocchi more like croutons for a salad: the pasta is “fried” into crispy little potato nuggets with the help of an air fryer, then tossed with a raw tomato sauce that gains more flavor the longer it sits. Overall, it’s a versatile and cost-effective pasta dish that can be modified based on whatever produce and herbs are available. Even if you don’t have an air fryer, you should try roasting your gnocchi in the oven for a whole new approach to these doughy little dumplings. Find the recipe here.

Advertisement

5 / 15

A tagliatelle that’ll make your produce pop

A tagliatelle that’ll make your produce pop

Pasta With Blistered Tomatoes and Egg Yolk
Pasta With Blistered Tomatoes and Egg Yolk
Photo: A. E. Dwyer

This recipe is for when you’re missing summer tomatoes, which is, what, nine months of the year here in the Midwest? The key to evoking summer tomato flavor is your broiler. Get the tomatoes good and jammy and pair them with a silky egg yolk mixed right into the pasta just before you eat it—the result is a simple, memorable tagliatelle that will instantly transport you to warmer days. The recipe can be found here.

Advertisement

6 / 15

Rigatoni that only gets better the second day

Rigatoni that only gets better the second day

Chicken Sausage & Other Stuff Pasta
Chicken Sausage & Other Stuff Pasta
Photo: Allison Robicelli

The point of a well-stocked kitchen isn’t just to have things on hand that are listed in the recipes you use—it’s also to have things on hand that can be made delicious with very little little effort. This pasta wrangles a list of solid grocery staples into one shockingly tasty dish, and makes enough that you’ll have plenty of leftovers even if you have a whole household to feed. You can add or subtract whichever elements you like depending on what’s in your fridge, but try working in grape tomatoes, feta, spinach, artichoke hearts, chicken sausage, and olives. You won’t be disappointed.

Advertisement

7 / 15

Get the true Japanese spaghetti experience you never knew you were missing

Get the true Japanese spaghetti experience you never knew you were missing

Miso-Butter Spaghetti Carbonara
Miso-Butter Spaghetti Carbonara
Photo: Kevin Pang

Yoshoku, the Japanese take on on Western cooking, is a cuisine that never disappoints—especially Itameshi, or Japanese-Italian food, which features familiar pasta classics imbued with deeper umami flavor. This recipe tries to reproduce one such dish from Trattoria Nakamura-Ya in Las Vegas, using butter to bring all the disparate elements together. Strips of seasoned nori on top make this more identifiably Japanese, as does a dash of Tabasco sauce over the top. Try making it tonight.

Advertisement

8 / 15

Simple, reliable vodka cream pasta

Simple, reliable vodka cream pasta

Vodka Cream Pasta
Vodka Cream Pasta
Photo: Gwen Ihnat

The only real trick involved in this pasta is waiting it out. You need to give the tomatoes time to cook down, but really, that’s about it. The vodka adds a richness to the sauce (as does the cream, obviously), making this a delicious and super easy pantry dinner. One warning: don’t try to swap out the heavy cream for half-and-half, as it won’t bring the whole sauce together. Find the recipe here.

Advertisement

9 / 15

Fall in love with cabbage fettuccine

Fall in love with cabbage fettuccine

Butter Braised Cabbage Fettuccine
Butter Braised Cabbage Fettuccine
Photo: Allison Robicelli

Green cabbage is some seriously underrated produce. It’s cheap, it has a long shelf life, and it’s damn tasty as long as you remember not to boil it. This pasta recipe borrows from Marcella Hazan’s revelatory recipe for Venetian smothered cabbage, which is impossibly easy to make. Its ingredients are pedestrian and cheap, and yet it’s somehow one of the most delicious things you could ever taste. So why not combine that with the comforts of pasta and cheese? When you put these true miracle foods together in one dish, magic happens. See for yourself.

Advertisement

10 / 15

Make a celebrity’s scene-stealing lemon pasta

Make a celebrity’s scene-stealing lemon pasta

Amped-up Lemon Spaghetti inspired by Sophia Loren
Amped-up Lemon Spaghetti inspired by Sophia Loren
Photo: Gwen Ihnat

This comes from Sophia Loren’s own cookbook, and it comes together with astonishing ease. You can make the whole sauce while the water is boiling. Just be careful not to burn the butter (or the garlic), but once you mix the cream in, it all combines easily. Once you combine the base sauce with your spaghetti, fettuccine, or other thin pasta, then you are free to amp this dish up with whatever you’d like. At the end you will have a deceptively simple and delicious pasta dish. It’s one of those go-to meals that can serve as a late-night snack, brunch, or a side dish for some salmon. It’s a little rich, but it’s also intoxicating—just like Sophia Loren herself. Here’s the recipe.

Advertisement

11 / 15

Spaghetti Pie isn’t just a recipe—it’s a philosophy

Spaghetti Pie isn’t just a recipe—it’s a philosophy

Spaghetti Pie
Spaghetti Pie
Photo: Danny Palumbo

Nothing uses up leftovers like a spaghetti pie. Deli meats and stray vegetables get sautéed together in a pan with spaghetti. Add whisked eggs and cheese before throwing it into the oven. What comes out is, essentially, a frittata with spaghetti in it. It’s an easy way to wrangle in a bunch of miscellaneous ingredients into a Sunday supper (or hangover cure). Most importantly, the recipe is just a suggestion. You can take anything, put it into a sauté pan with spaghetti and eggs, and eat the results. The world is your spaghetti pie.

Advertisement

12 / 15

Got a random can of crab meat? You’ve got dinner

Got a random can of crab meat? You’ve got dinner

Angel Hair Pasta with Canned Crab Meat
Angel Hair Pasta with Canned Crab Meat
Photo: Kevin Pang

Sometimes we find ourselves with pantry goods of utterly unknown origin. Here in the Midwest especially, canned or tinned seafood is a protein that gets thrown into the grocery cart with the vague idea that “we can always use it for something.” But what? This pasta dish. It’s a recipe that can be thrown together in 10 minutes and makes use of angel hair pasta, crab meat, and whatever else is in your cupboards. Or, if canned crab meat isn’t something lurking in your pantry, you can just borrow this recipe’s technique of slow-caramelizing tomato paste + butter + lemon + protein, which will always result in something delicious. See the steps here.

Advertisement

13 / 15

With a name like Garbage Pesto, it’s gotta be good

With a name like Garbage Pesto, it’s gotta be good

Garbage Pesto in the making
Garbage Pesto in the making
Photo: Kate Bernot

While this recipe was initially developed to deal with a glut of vegetables overflowing in the backyard garden, you certainly don’t need to grow anything yourself to make it—it’s also a solution for using up all the leafy greens in your produce drawer that you bought at the grocery store with grand salad ambitions before subsequently ignoring them for weeks. This pesto has a fresh, just-shy-of-bitter flavor, which tastes lighter and less unctuous than the standard basil-and-pine-nut pesto. Oh, and that’s another great aspect of Garbage Pesto: You don’t even need pine nuts. And this magic condiment isn’t just for pasta—spread it on pizza and sandwiches, or just dunk some nice bread in it. Voila.

Advertisement

14 / 15

A garlicky linguine that never gets old

A garlicky linguine that never gets old

Cantarelli’s Linguine And Broccoli
Cantarelli’s Linguine And Broccoli
Photo: Jessica Cantarelli

This is a cheap meal, just pasta and veggies and anchovies. The ingredients are simple, inexpensive, and when they come together, it’s a beautiful symphony of subtle flavors and rich textures. There are a few protein options, like shrimp or chicken, that you can incorporate if you’re not going the meatless route. But the way it’s intended to be served is with anchovies. With al dente linguine and velvety broccoli, anchovies add a complex saltiness and a baseline brininess. In short, anchovies add dimension. You’ll definitely want to make enough for leftovers.

Advertisement

15 / 15

DISCUSSION

Several weeks of homemade meals in a row is simply a lot of cooking for any one person to take, even if they enjoy it.

Since we’re all more than several weeks old, I’d like some suggestions on how you’re getting around that normally! Get the wife to cook?