7 Simple Pasta Dinners You Can Make From Pantry Staples

Don’t settle for expensive and unhealthy takeout when hectic nights leave you little time to prepare dinner (or even get to the grocery store to get supper supplies, for that matter). There’s still hope for a home-cooked meal, even on nights when you have little time and few ingredients. Unless your grocery situation is really dire, there’s a good chance you always have a box or two of pasta sitting in your pantry. Grab your noodles and prepare one of these pasta dinners using pantry staples.

These dinner dishes all call for ingredients that you typically have on hand, including frozen vegetables, canned goods, sauces, and cheese. Pick whichever you have the supplies for, and don’t stress if you come up short an ingredient or two — just get creative and find a replacement to toss into your dish. From rigatoni with tomatoes, raisins, and pine nuts to a one-pot pasta, these recipes will help you prepare delicious suppers every night of the week.

1. Pantry Pasta

Onions cooking in a pan

Try this easy pantry pasta any night of the week | iStock.com

Grab whatever pasta you’ve got and prepare The Pioneer Woman’s recipe via Food Network. Onions are first sautéed and then cooked with diced tomatoes, chicken stock, olives, artichoke hearts, and garlic. Simmer on low for 15 minutes, finally adding the cooked pasta to the skillet. Mix in the pesto, toss in the feta, and top with pine nuts. It yields 2 servings. If you don’t have all of the called-for ingredients on hand, we suggest substituting with whatever you do have available, as few pantry ingredients taste bad when paired with pasta.

Ingredients:

  • ½ whole red onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
  • ⅓ cup chicken stock or white wine
  • ⅓ cup assorted olives, pitted and roughly chopped
  • 1 whole jar artichoke hearts, halved
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces pasta, cooked al dente and drained
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons jarred pesto
  • ½ cup fork-chunked feta
  • 3 tablespoons dry-toasted pine nuts

Head to Food Network for the full recipe. 

2. Linguine With Spicy Red Clam Sauce

Linguine with red sauce and herbs

Linguine with red clam sauce is one of our favorite pasta dinners | iStock.com

Canned clams add an elegant yet easy touch to Cooking Light’s linguine. You can have this recipe on the table in under an hour — just cook the pasta; sauté the onion, garlic, and crushed red pepper; and stir in the tomato paste, tomatoes, and finally, the clams. A sprinkling of parsley, basil, and oregano completes the sauce. If you prefer less-spicy food, consider cutting back on the red pepper or omitting it altogether. The recipe yields 4 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (9-ounce) package fresh linguine
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon bottled minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 (6.5-ounce) cans minced clams, undrained
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano

Head to My Recipes for the full recipe by Cooking Light. 

3. Rigatoni With Tomatoes, Raisins, and Pine Nuts

Drained rigatoni

This rigatoni dish is packed full of unique flavors | iStock.com

Pull out the pasta, pine nuts, canned tomatoes, and raisins residing in your pantry and whip up this delicious dish by Real Simple. Toasted pine nuts add a warm, buttery flavor and texture to this dish, which balances wonderfully with the raisins’ sweetness and the garlic’s mild nuttiness. The recipe yields 4 servings and takes 20 minutes to make.

Ingredients:

  • ¾ pound rigatoni (about 6 cups)
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • ¼ cup golden raisins
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons capers

Head to Real Simple for the full recipe. 

4. Pasta, Red Bean, and Parsley Toss

Woman cutting garlic

Pasta and red beans make an excellent combination | iStock.com

Better Homes and Gardens’ recipe calls for shell pasta, but feel free to use whatever you have on hand. Frozen broccoli, a can of red beans, chopped onion, chicken broth, and a few seasonings complete this easy-to-make meal, which yields 4 servings and takes 30 minutes to prepare.

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces dried medium shell pasta or desired pasta
  • 3 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1½ cups chopped onion
  • 1 (15-ounce) can red beans, drained, reserving ¼ cup of liquid
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 1½ teaspoons chili powder
  • ½ cup finely shredded pecorino or Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup snipped Italian (flat-leaf) parsley

Head to Better Homes and Gardens for the full recipe. 

5. Penne With Escarole, White Beans, and Toasted Breadcrumbs

pasta cooking in a pot

Eat your pasta with some greens for a healthy and easy meal | iStock.com

Delish adds a healthy touch to this recipe by including whole-wheat pasta, but if you only have white noodles on hand, you can use them instead. Breadcrumbs give this dish a distinct texture, while beans and greens add fresh flavor and nutrients to your dinner. It only takes 35 minutes to make this recipe which yields 6 servings.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup dried plain breadcrumbs
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound dried whole-wheat penne or cut ziti pasta
  • 5 anchovy fillets
  • 2 clove garlic
  • 1 head escarole (1½ pounds)
  • 1 can cannellini beans
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Head to Delish for the full recipe. 

6. Pasta With Anchovies, Garlic, Chiles, and Kale

pasta with greens and anchovies

This pasta adds a Mediterranean twist with the added anchovies | iStock.com

Anchovies, garlic, chile flakes, and capers add complex flavors to this pasta dish, which also has a fresh, earthy taste to it thanks to kale. The trick to perfecting The New York Times’ recipe is frying the garlic and capers until they’re a dark golden hue before adding the kale. This will become one of your regular go-to recipes, and when it does, be sure to play around with the ingredients and flavors; a myriad of spices and pantry staples will taste terrific in this dish.

Ingredients:

  • Pasta
  • Extra virgin olive-oil
  • Chiles
  • Salt and pepper
  • Garlic, smashed
  • Capers
  • Anchovies
  • Kale
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • Lemon
  • Pecorino, optional

Head to The New York Times for the full recipe. 

7. One-Pot Pantry Pasta

close-up of a bowl of frozen peas

This one-pot pasta couldn’t be simpler | iStock.com

Simple, nutritious, and bursting with fresh flavors, this one-pot pasta by The Faux Martha ensures weeknight dinners are a breeze to pull together. Broth, spaghetti, onions, garlic, salt, and olive oil cook together and are topped off with peas, Parmesan, cream, and lemon zest toward the end of their cooking time. Season to taste, allow the dish to sit for about 5 minutes so that the sauce can thicken, and garnish with additional cheese.

Ingredients:

  • 3½ cups broth
  • 8 ounces whole-wheat spaghetti
  • Small sweet onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cubes frozen basil, or 2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 heaping teaspoon kosher salt
  • Couple of tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1½ cups frozen peas
  • ¼ cups Parmesan, plus more for garnish
  • ¼ cups heavy cream
  • Zest of a small lemon

Head to The Faux Martha for the full recipe. 

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