The Pastabilities Are Endless: 7 Noodle-Based Recipes
It is time to consider your dinner pastabilities. These humble noodles have a broad range. The pickiest of kids will eat pasta, the noodles can be used to star in a vegetarian or meat-filled dish, and increasingly, there are whole-wheat, and gluten-free varieties to try too. Explore these seven recipes, and then get cooking!
1. Penne alla Vodka
With this Food.com recipe you can replicate a restaurant-style penne alla vodka dinner tonight. To make it vegetarian, skip the prosciutto. If you are omitting it, bear in mind it is a very salty ingredient, and you may need to add extra seasoning. It yields six servings.
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 -4 cloves garlic, chopped finely
- 1 cup thinly sliced prosciutto
- 1 (28 ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained and chopped
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup vodka (only a kind you would drink)
- salt and pepper
- 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 lb penne pasta
- 3/4 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
Directions: In a wide pot big enough to hold all the pasta and sauce, melt the butter. Add the garlic and cook until golden brown. Stir in the prosciutto and cook for a a minute or two. Add the tomatoes, crushed pepper, pepper and salt. Simmer for 5 minutes.
Stir in the cream and cook for 2 minutes stirring constantly. Add the vodka and cook until it no longer smells strongly of vodka (about 3 to 5 minutes).
Cook the pasta as directed on box but al dente. Add the pasta to the pot with the sauce and mix until it is all coated over the pasta. Toss with the cheese and serve immediately.
2. Asparagus and Chicken Carbonara
Cooking Light has taken the traditional carbonara dish and trimmed it down a bit. There is less fat and fewer calories in this recipe, which will serve five.
- 8 ounces uncooked spaghetti
- 2 cups (1-inch) slices asparagus (about ¾ pound)
- ½ cup egg substitute
- ½ cup evaporated fat-free milk
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- ½ cup chopped onion
- ¼ cup dry vermouth
- 2 cups chopped skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast meat
- ½ cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
Directions: Cook pasta in boiling water 10 minutes or until al dente; add asparagus during final 2 minutes of cooking. Drain pasta mixture in a colander over a bowl, reserving ⅓ cup cooking liquid. Combine reserved cooking liquid, egg substitute, and milk, stirring with a whisk.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil and onion to pan; sauté 2 minutes. Add vermouth; cook 1 minute. Add pasta mixture; stir to combine. Remove from heat; stir in milk mixture, chicken, and cheese. Place pan over medium heat, and cook 4 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; stir in parsley, salt, pepper, and bacon. Serve immediately.
3. Gnocchi Macaroni and Cheese
For an ultimate combination of comfort foods, try Live Love Pasta‘s gnocchi mac and cheese. However, the dish may not reheat as well as regular macaroni and cheese.
- 1 pound frozen gnocchi
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon flour
- ¾ cup milk
- ⅓ cup shredded asiago cheese
- ⅓ cup shredded fontina cheese
- ⅓ cup shredded parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- lemon basil for garnish, regular basil would work fine too
Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Get the water boiling for the gnocchi and cook according to the instructions on the package. Drain and place in a small greased casserole dish.
While the gnocchi are cooking prepare the sauce. Melt the butter over medium heat and sauté the garlic until fragrant. Be careful not to burn the garlic. Add the flour and whisk until smooth and bubbly. Add the milk and whisk until the sauce has thickened. Add the cheese and whisk until melted. Season with salt and pepper — just a pinch of each is fine.
Remove from heat and pour over the gnocchi. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown on the top. Garnish with chopped lemon basil. Serve immediately.
4. Shrimp Scampi
Set your sails for some seafood pasta with Ina Garten’s linguine and shrimp scampi. It is an easy, flavorful dinner for three you will want to make the next time you have shrimp on hand.
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt plus 1½ teaspoons
- ¾ pound linguine
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2½ tablespoons olive oil
- 1½ tablespoons minced garlic (4 cloves)
- 1 pound large shrimp (about 16 shrimp), peeled and deveined
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ⅓ cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
- ½ lemon, zest grated
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
- ¼ lemon, thinly sliced in half-rounds
- ⅛ teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
Directions: Drizzle some oil in a large pot of boiling salted water, add 1 tablespoon of salt and the linguine, and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, or according to the directions on the package.
Meanwhile, in another large (12-inch), heavy-bottomed pan, melt the butter and olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic. Saute for 1 minute. Be careful, the garlic burns easily! Add the shrimp, 1½ teaspoons of salt, and the pepper and sauté until the shrimp have just turned pink, about 5 minutes, stirring often. Remove from the heat, add the parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, lemon slices, and red pepper flakes. Toss to combine.
When the pasta is done, drain the cooked linguine and then put it back in the pot. Immediately add the shrimp and sauce, toss well, and serve.
5. Spinach and Garlic Rotini
Hungry Foodies‘ recipe for rotini seasoned with garlic and served with spinach will not leave you hungry. A vegetarian entree as is, you could easily add chicken to the recipe.
- 1 box of Rotini pasta (1-pound box)
- 2 tablespoons of kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons of all purpose flour
- 1 cup of heavy cream
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon of dried basil
- ¼ teaspoon of grated nutmeg
- 1½ cup of pasta water from leftover pasta cooking
- ½ cup of chicken or vegetable broth
- 2 cups of cooked chopped spinach drained
- ¼ cup of heavy cream
- ½ cup of grated Parmesan cheese
Directions: In a large pot bring 4 to 5 quarts of water and 2 tablespoons of kosher salt to a boil on high heat. Add box of Rotini pasta to pot and cook for 10 minutes or until pasta is “al dente,” cooked with a little bite still left. Drain pasta in a colander and reserve cooking water. Set aside.
In a large heavy skillet on medium heat melt butter with the vegetable oil. Once butter has melted add flour and whisk till incorporated well. Slowly add the liquids to pan. ( cream, pasta water, and broth) Season with dried basil, nutmeg, and salt. Add the 2 cups of cooked spinach. Mix pasta into sauce and mix well. Add additional ¼ cup of cream and stir. If pasta mixture is too thick for you, add more pasta water to get the desired consistency. Serve with Parmesan cheese.
To get a browned top on the dish, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place pasta in a large casserole dish (11 x 7) and spread top evenly. Top with Parmesan cheese. Place in middle rack of oven, and back uncovered for 25 minutes. If top needs additional browning, place under broil for a few minutes until desired browning.
6. Pasta Bolognese
On some nights, spaghetti and marinara just isn’t going to cut it. When that happens, make Eating Well‘s bolognese, which has four servings. The recipe uses whole wheat pasta, but substitute your favorite type if desired. The sauce can be stored in the freezer for up to six months.
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 medium carrots, finely chopped
- 2 medium stalks celery, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 ounces whole-wheat rigatoni or penne (about 3 cups)
- 8 ounces lean (93% or leaner) ground beef
- ⅓ cup dry red wine
- 1 14-ounce can petite diced tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Directions: Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, celery and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until just tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain.
Add beef to the vegetables and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high, add wine and cook until almost evaporated, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, and nutmeg; reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in salt and pepper. Serve the pasta with the sauce.
7. Rigatoni with Grilled Peppers and Onions
Take a break from heavy sauces and creams and top your pasta like Real Simple did with grilled vegetables. If you do, you’ll have a dinner for four that is packed with vegetables.
- 12 ounces (4 to 5 cups) rigatoni
- 2 medium red onions, sliced into half-inch-thick rings
- 2 large red bell peppers, cut into quarters
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- kosher salt and pepper
- 1 bunch spinach, stems trimmed, or one 5-ounce package
- 1 cup (about 3½ ounces) grated Parmesan
- ¾ cup basil leaves, thinly sliced
Directions: Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water; drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Meanwhile, heat grill or grill pan to medium-high. In a large bowl, toss the onions, bell peppers, oil, and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper.
Grill the vegetables, turning occasionally, until tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and cut into bite-size pieces. Add the grilled vegetables, spinach, reserved pasta water, and ¾ cup of the Parmesan to the pasta and toss to combine. Top with the basil and the remaining ¼ cup Parmesan before serving.