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Feb 18, 2012 08:50 AM

New and interesting pasta ideas????

Okay, I love pasta. I could eat it alllllllll day. But lately I think I'm stuck in a rut. I make creamy cajun, tomato, or cheese. I need some inspiration! Who has a fun new recipe?!

As my friend once said, "the pasta-bilities are endless! "

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  1. Many of my pasta dishes start with whatever the best vegetable is at the Farmers' Market--broccoli, cauliflower and Swiss chard have been beautiful. The prep is important. My broccoli is mainly side shoots so thin enough to just slice and use--if thick stalks I would peel those first and then cut on diagonal. Cauliflower I cut into thumb size florets with one flat side for good browning. The chard I separate stalk and slice it and then chop the leaves into large ribbons. Any of those can be sauteed in olive oil with garlic alone or meat of your choice--pancetta, bacon, cubed proscuitto, Italian sausage, linguica--used in smaller quantities not as the main "bite." I like to steam the caul. and broc. first and make sure they get a good brown and are soft not crunchy. Penne is the best IMHO with Parmigiano or Romano depending on which you like. Red papper flakes optional. Can be done with lots of vegetables and a couple handfuls of arugula or spinach thrown in at the end never hurts.

    1. Cute!! I love what we call Greek pasta: just hot spaghetti tossed with chunks of (not too salty) Feta, kalamata olives (halved) and well-drained marinated artichoke hearts. Easiest thing you could ever do; dinner's ready in 20 minutes and pretty much everyone likes it. Another thought is to saute chunks of good steak with sliced onion and celery, maybe some water chestnuts, garlic, splash of soy or mirin, tofu chunks if you like them (and you can also use tofu to eliminate beef, if you want a vegetarian meal. Finish it off with a good splash of beef broth, and let it cook off, 'til veg. are crisp-tender. Toss this with hot udon noodles - though this one can be eaten cold and it's really nice that way. Soba tossed with peanut sauce is a thought, with sliced green onions and maybe celery or some blanched bok choy or choy sum. Spaghetti tossed with best-quality tuna, cannelini or garbanzos, olive oil and sauteed garlic is wonderful. I have kugel recipes if you'd like, both sweet and savory, though it's more of a side dish. Orzo salad is great. And I know you'll get a ton of good suggestions; enjoy.

      1. The other day I threw this together and served at room temperature -- it was good cold for lunch the next day, too:

        - A few oz. steamed, chopped baby spinach
        - 1 avocado, pitted and cut into smallish cubes
        - 2-3 roasted red peppers, chopped
        - Roughly half of one 28-ox .can of diced tomatoes, drained
        - Lemon juice from at least half a lemon
        - Small pinch chili flakes (optional)
        - About 2 Tbsp. Mediterranean pesto (
        )- Freshly ground pepper to taste, and salt if needed
        - 2 cups short sturdy pasta, cooked per package directions and cooled to room temperature

        Toss all together and stir gently to combine. My kinda dish! I had this as a salad, but you could make it with longer noodles and serve with grilled chicken breast strips too.

        And I reckon you could use regular pesto instead of the "Mediterranean style" one I did. It would just change the flavour profile some.

        1. I just made a bastardized pesto, with asparagus instead of green beans, and then cracked in an egg a la carbonara.

          1. This is our go to pasta dish when we are at a loss as to what to make for dinner.
            You can whip this wonderfully different pasta dish up in maybe twenty minutes. Best part you probably have the ingredients in your pantry.

            4 large eggs

            A piece of French bread baguette, torn into small pieces or 2 ounces of panko or any kind of bread crumbs. ( a generous half cup will do )

            1/4 cup walnuts

            3 tbsp olive oil

            4 fat garlic cloves, minced

            1/2 tsp kosher salt

            1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

            8 ounces linguine - fresh or dried

            1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley, either curly or flat leaf

            2 tbsp finely chopped fresh chives

            1/2 cup (1 1/2 ounces) crumbled goat cheese

            Cook the eggs to a firm soft boil (they should be a bit runny ) run cold water over them to halt the cooking process. Drain and gently peel.

            Place bread in food processor and process until finely ground. If you are using bread crumbs just add the crumbs and the walnuts and pulse until finely ground. It's ok if you still see larger bits of walnuts.

            Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil (all 3 tbsp) to the pan, and swirl to coat. Add garlic, and sauté for 30 seconds, STIRRING CONSTANTLY. Add breadcrumb mixture, salt and pepper to pan; sauté for 5 minutes or until toasted, stirring frequently. The crumbs brown quickly so don't neglect your pan.

            Cook pasta according to package directions. Add pasta to the breadcrumb mixture; toss to combine. Sprinkle with parsley and chives; toss to combine.

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