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Favorite easy pasta dish?

My absolute favorite pasta dishes are:Pasta with Cauliflower and Anchovies (Amateur Gourmet), Spaghetti Carbonara, and Pasta with Sausage and Broccolli Rabe. All are easy, rich, salty, delicious.

I also like AG's pasta with Sundried Tomatoes and Beans; Bittman's Sardine pasta; Pasta alla Amatracini; Pasta with Fennel and Bacon; Bittman's Anchovies and Cherry Tomatoes; Bittman's pasta with eggs.

Any other favorites?

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  1. Here's my favorite EASY pasta dish...

    Put on large pot of water to boil. In a serving dish, which must fit over the pot like a very loose-fitting lid, put a big chunk of soft gorgonzola and a bit of cream or milk (quantities depend on how much pasta you are cooking.) Adding broken walnuts is optional. As the pasta cooks, the steam will melt the cheese. Just before serving, toss some chopped up Italian parsley into the cheese sauce. Add pasta and toss to combine. Pass a pepper grinder at the table. Parmesan cheese could also be added, but I think that is overkill. Delicious, and minimal cleanup!

    1. Cacio e pepe--spaghetti with cheese and pepper. Grated romano, freshly ground black pepper and olive oil tossed with spaghetti and some hot pasta water. Couldn't be much easier than that.

      10 Replies
      1. re: escondido123

        Agreed. So delicious. Almost anything tastes great added to change things up a bit. Last summer, I'd add a squeeze of lemon, a minced garlic clove, chili flakes, or chopped fresh herbs and ate with a side of veggies and a fresh baguette nearly every night after work. 15 minutes from start to finish!

        1. re: nothingswrong

          Now if I want to make it complicated I'll throw in a couple of garlic cloves sliced thin and cooked until golden....but that's getting fancy.

          1. re: escondido123

            Don't forget the little tiny pan-fried croutons cooked with a last-minute zest of garlic. You need the crunch!

            1. re: katecm

              I made some garlic, sundried tomato and garlic fresh bread crumbs as a stuffing last week and the top was amazingly crunchy and flavorful. I think I'm going to try that combination, fried in olive oil until crispy, to top my next simple simple pasta.

              1. re: escondido123

                ooh! i always do the garlic/breadcrumbs in olive oil, sometimes with some lemon zest. just ordered some super plump (expensive) sundried tomatoes and waiting for them to arrive. sounds like a great addition.

                i like anything pan-fried in olive oil though. especially on top of pasta. mmm broccolini...

                1. re: nothingswrong

                  Curious. What do "super plump (expensive)" tomatoes do that others don't?

                  1. re: c oliver

                    I have no idea. A friend told me I had to try them, so I ordered some online. Supposedly they are plump and tasty enough to eat out of the bag. No need to soak in water for recipes (like the crappy ones from the grocery store) and no oil like the ones in jars. Plus, they keep at room temp for ages.

                    It could be an epic fail but I have a little bit of "disposable" money set aside and decided to go for it. Along with some dried kiwi slices which are divine. I can report back on the tomatoes when they arrive if anyone gives a sh*t :)

        2. re: escondido123

          my favorite home alone meal. I like a green salad on the side with a tart dressing.

          1. re: escondido123

            I make this too, escondido. I sprinkle the finished dish with grated Parmesan and chopped green onions.

          2. heat up some garlic and onion, then add asparagus, mushroom, and cook with lemon juice and wine. toss in some angel hair and you have an easy, delicious, quick dinner.

              1. re: Antilope

                Pasta puttanesca,Salty,spicy and easy..mmmm good!

                1. re: petek

                  Pasta and Thai Style Peanut Sauce

                  4 Tbs peanut butter
                  2 Tbs vegetable oil
                  4 Tbs soy sauce
                  4 Tbs granulated sugar
                  4 tsp distilled white vinegar
                  1 tsp sesame oil
                  2 tsp sriracha sauce (or other red pepper hot sauce)
                  1/4 tsp ground coriander

                  Mix ingredients well. Serve over pasta, pot stickers, steamed
                  rice, Asian Noodles etc.

                  1. re: Antilope

                    Peanut sauce is awesome and easy, I do like a little coconut milk in mine it gives it a little extra.

                  2. re: petek

                    Yes, Puttanesca! A fresh dish made out of preserved ingredients. I love it!

                2. Rigatoni w/left-over chicken or salmon, artichoke hearts, olives, garlic, spinach, red pepper flakes and olive oil. It's just heating up everything while the pasta cooks and then mixing it together in the pan, put in a bowl, grate some fresh parm over it and enjoy with some crusty bread and a nice glass of wine.

                  1. Aglio e olio
                    Butter and parmesan

                    1. Lately it's been past and brussel sprouts. Toast pine nuts, sauté about 10-15 sliced sprouts till some are caramelized, toss with pasta, evoo, parmesan, salt & pepper.

                      1. Two questions John. Does the Anchovy flavor taste fishy in this dish? And could you post a link to the recipe please? I am on a cauliflower kick these days. Thanks.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: mcel215

                          Well, I love anchovies, sardines and the like, so maybe not the person to ask -- but I think it tastes more salty and umami than fishy. Recipe is: http://www.amateurgourmet.com/2010/01...

                          I prefer to roast the cauliflower separately and then mix it in...

                          1. re: JohnSmith2

                            I keep reading that once those anchovies melt they won't taste fishy. So I made the cauliflower dish last month for the fourth time in 20 years, and to me, it still tasted fishy...but my husband loved it.

                          2. re: mcel215

                            Try spaghetti with cauliflower and bacon, if you're on a cauliflower kick. I dice the bacon, saute it, drain the fat, and then add the small cauliflower florets - yfor liquid, you can either add chicken broth or cream, or a combination thereof, depending on your caloric goals - finish with parmesan cheese - you will be hooked forever...

                          3. Aglio olio with left over smoke roasted salmon added in chunks at the last moment just to warm it. But the mother of all simple pastas is marinara: finely chop some garlic, lightly cook in some olive oil, and add a can of pureed plum tomatoes and some salt. Let it cook. Turn it into any one of dozens of other sauces by adding what you like (like putanesca, for example). Nothing simpler.

                            1. My mom's go to easy pasta sauce is an artichoke based sauce. I like it because the sauce cooks in about the same about of time as the noodles, I always have these ingredients on hand, and I can usually get the kitchen cleaned up from this meal before I serve it. And most importantly, it can be easily converted to a vegetarian friendly meal. Both my SIL and I have made some changes to it, but for the most part we all do it the same.

                              Heat 1/4 butter and 1/4 EVOO (sometimes I do a little less of both)
                              Add 1 TBS flour- cook for a few minutes
                              Add 1 chopped garlic clove (sometimes 2)- cook for about a minute
                              Add 1 cup chicken broth (SIL is a vegetarian so she uses vegetable broth)- bring to a light boil and cook for about 5 min
                              Add 1.5-2.5 tea of lemon juice (depends on how lemony you want it)
                              Add 1/8- 1/4 cup parm cheese (can either add directly to sauce or sprinkle on in bowl)
                              Add 2 tea capers
                              Add 1 can of drained artichoke hearts (I usually chop 1/2 of the can real fine and then just quarter the other 1/2. My mom just quarters)
                              Add TBS of chopped parsley
                              And then sprinkle on ham (deli, Smithfield, Prosciutto, or what ever is on hand)- Can leave off for vegetarians

                              Total cook time 15 min (about the time it take to bring water to boil and cook noodles)

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: viperlush

                                I forgot about these two

                                Pasta w/broccoli Rabe and sausage (I like to steam a sweet potato and throw chunks in @ the end) http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipe...

                                Lemon Penne w/ Ham and escarole

                                1. re: viperlush

                                  Just made a version of this last night. Terrific! I didn't use the ham and I traded white wine for the broth.

                                2. Orecchiette tossed with pesto and peas. Add parm and top with a spoonful of good canned diced tomatoes. If the tomatoes come in a thick sauce you can include that in your spoonful but if it's watery liquid, drain them. Sometimes I use a tiny bit of hot pasta water to loosen it up.
                                  Definitely comfort food and couldn't be easier.

                                  1. does macaroni and cheese count as a pasta dish?

                                    or my dad used to cook some elbows then throw in a can of cream of mushroom soup..

                                    but i really like a good carbonara...

                                    1. I've written before about my favorite lamb and yogurt rotini with Aleppo brown butter. I also love spaghetti with anchovies and walnuts, linguine with roasted red pepper, morcilla and eggs and of course spaghetti carbonara.

                                      1. My very favorite quick and easy sauce is bacon, white bean and light tomatommmm so tasty

                                        I fry the bacon on a low heat, making sure it cooks slowly and doesnt become crisp - well done, but not crispy. Then I put a bit of garlic, and a couple of anchovy fillets. then the white beans with a nice drizzle of evoo, after a few minutes I throw some tomatoes inand let it simmer for about 10 minutes. So easy and tasty

                                        1. I saw this one the other day on epicurious. Looks a little different. It has chickpeas, charred tomatoes, paprika and garlic, some hummus, olives and cilantro: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                          I thought it looked pretty easy except you do have to char the cherry tomatoes. About a half cup of hummus is the base for a kind of sauce. I don't know what I think of it myself, but it's gotten lots of really good reviews. I thought it sounded a little different and worth a try.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: karykat

                                            Another easy favorite is garlic, chickpeas, red pepper flakes, evoo and anchovies -
                                            my mum always made this with fettucine, but I like it better with spaghetti.

                                          2. If 15 minutes pass and I cannot think of what to make for a meal, I ALWAYS have my 'go-to' pasta dish of penne arrabiata.

                                            Some ground up, dried peperoncino (sometimes fresh), a clove or 2 of garlic in oil, some crushed tomatoes, s&p, with parsley and pecorino. Takes me less than 30 minutes from start to finish.

                                            1. I do one I found on this site all the time. Saute some crumbled sweet Italian sausage, onion, and garlic in some EVOO. Add red pepper flakes to taste. At the end, add some halved grape tomatoes. Cook until the tomatoes start to burst. Toss with cooked pasta. Sometimes, I'll throw some fresh basil in. It is fantastic, simple, and takes about 10 minutes.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: achtungpv

                                                Lately I've been doing something similar but replacing the sausage with thin slices of bacon and adding capers. When lazy I don't halve the tomatoes :)

                                              2. Donna Hay's Lemon Chicken Pasta is a dish we absolutely never tire of.

                                                A fabulous combination of salty, spicy and just plain yummy flavours. Thai bird chillies are best but in a pinch, dry chilli flakes can be used. This is also great w canned tuna (good quality packed in oil and drained) if you're really pressed for time.

                                                Here's the link:


                                                1. On one of the Best Things I ever ate shows Susan Feniger talked about Pasta Mama and it just called my name. I never had the recipe but I did it on the fly. I did find the link to the real recipe so I can share it with you.


                                                  My other favorite easy pasta dish (and I have to make this again soon.) is from here:

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: Disneyfreak

                                                    Spaghetti w/ olive oil,butter.feta cheese,sale e pepe.Some chili flakes if you want some heat

                                                  2. For totally easy and fast -

                                                    Boil some sort of chunky pasta. While it's cooking dice feta cheese, slice black olives, rip up some fresh basil, and crush some garlic and juice half a lemon. Toss the garlic in the pot for the last couple of minutes of cooking. Drain the pasta and return to the pot on low heat. Add a can of diced tomatoes, chopped black olives, feta cheese and fresh basil. Heat through and dress with olive oil, salt and pepper and lemon juice. It's good hot or room temperature as a pasta salad. YOu can toss in some leftover chopped chicken for a full meal in a bowl.

                                                    Also good - sautee sliced garlic in olive oil. Toss cooked pasta with garlic and oil, lemon juice, salt, and a few handfuls of chopped shiso (aka perilla).

                                                    I also like pasta with garlic, artichoke hearts and sun dried tomatoes.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                                                      The pasta with feta sounds delicious! might make it for myself one night this week when husband is out.

                                                    2. One my mom makes and my husband now loves is hot pasta tossed with a little cream, bacon (especially if you have some of the good peppered stuff), parmesan, garlic, and pesto.

                                                      A small treat my grandma used to make for us grandkids was simply egg noodles tossed with butter and garlic salt, sometimes a little parm.

                                                      And finally, there is the chicken, pesto, and egg noodle combo, of course with a little.... parmesan.

                                                      1. Butter and garlic sauce. Sautee some minced garlic in butter and olive oil for a minute or so, add cooked spaghetti and some of the pasta water, along with a little grated hard cheese (romano, parmesan, grana pedano), and some parsley. Takes longer to cook the pasta then it does to make the sauce.

                                                        1. Can of tuna packed in oil, some olives and capers, something green (spinach, broccoli, arugula) and something red (bell pepper, roasted pepper, roasted tomato, tomato). Heat that up while the spaghetti is cooking, add a little pasta water and the spaghetti, blend everything together in the pan and then grate some cheese over it. Delicious and very easy.

                                                          1. my favorites are Cacio e Pepe, Aglio Olio, pesto pasta with or without toasted pine nuts and shaved parmesan, pasta with marinara sauce with a little cream and white wine. All of them easy and simple.

                                                            1. This thread is proof of why pasta has got to be the greatest food in the whole world!!

                                                              I forgot my very favorite easy pasta dish.

                                                              Fry some up some garlic and shrimp in some oo and a bit of butter, throw in plain bread crumbs, fresh parsley, Locatelli cheese, and black pepper, toast a few minutes, then aldd spaghetti & toss to coat
                                                              oh it's my favorite, and it takes about 10 minutes.
                                                              I guess you could also use chicken,although I never have, but I have done it without the shrimps...I suppose you could add wahtever you wanted

                                                              1. Penne with roasted brussel sprouts,roasted cauliflower, fresh cherry tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, parm.
                                                                While the pasta is cooking, set oven on BROIL and grill the Brussel sprouts and cauliflower. Add olive oil to pan and add garlic, a fresh chili pepper, branch of rosemary. Add the grilled veg. Add cooked pasta and tomatoes (and a bit of pasta water) and heat through until tomatoes 'Melt' a litte. Serve with parm shavings.

                                                                1. Boy, it's going to be tough to decide on what's for supper tonight! So many of these sound yummy..

                                                                  Egg Noodles with Brown Butter and Fetaf rom Epicurious is wonderful and fast: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                                                  1. I love AG's pasta with Sundried Tomatoes and Beans and I've been meaning to try his Cauliflower and Anchovies dish for a while now. His site is such an inspiration to me!
                                                                    Recently made a roasted garlic and olive oil pasta dish. I added some chopped sundried tomatoes and red pepper flakes. I felt like it was going to need something else, so I toasted up some fresh breadcrumbs with a bit of the oil that the tomatoes were packed in. Served it to rave reviews.
                                                                    What a great thread...I'm getting all kinds of ideas.

                                                                    1. Lemon linguine. I use Nigella's recipe (or something close to it), mixing lemon zest and juice, heavy cream, parmesan, an egg yolk, and salt and pepper with hot linguine and maybe a little pasta water, if necessary.

                                                                        1. Cooks Illustrated's pasta puttanesca - done by the time the pasta has cooked to al dente.

                                                                          1. any kind of pasta
                                                                            olive oil, lemon juice, capers, bits of smoked salmon, a little fresh parsley, parmesan

                                                                            any kind of pasta
                                                                            olive oil, lemon juice, cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, mini bocconcini mozzarella

                                                                            1. Can't think of any dishes that would really top the ones already posted, but I've recently been experimenting (and kinda liking) with Harold McGee's method of cooking the pasta.
                                                                              Just thought I'd pass it on.....

                                                                              His ice cream tip is next on my "to do" list....