Recipes

10 Simple Pasta Recipes for Weeknight Dinners

By Judith Amondi 6/4/2019 10 minutes

Pasta is a versatile dish that can be a one-pot wonder, oven baked or pan cooked.

On a weeknight, you don’t want to tire yourself out for the next day.

This is why you should make simple, quick and easy pasta meals.

Since pasta allows you to stretch your creativity, here are 10 simple pasta recipes you can start making today.

10 Simple pasta recipes for weeknight dinnersRecipe #1: Pesto Parmesan Pasta

When it comes to making easy pasta dinners, you want to use as little time as possible.

This is why the pesto pasta is a tasty dish to prepare while using simple ingredients in a short amount of time.

Parmesan is an Italian cheese that adds more flavor to pasta dinner recipes including the pesto pasta.

To add a tone of flavor and texture, you can also add sundried tomatoes.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbs pesto
  • ½ cup diced onions
  • 2 tbs grated parmesan cheese
  • 16 ounces of pasta
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Cook the pasta for 7-8 minutes and drain the water.
  • In a pan, add the onions, pesto, salt and pepper. Ensure you brown the onions for 5 minutes until soft.
  • In a bowl, add the pasta and pesto. Mix well together with the grated cheese and serve.

Recipe #2: Creamy Garlic Butter Pasta

This is one of the most delicious pasta recipes because of the combination of garlic and butter.

When these two ingredients are combined, they make yummy pasta recipes that will make your weeknights so much more exciting.

It’s also a perfect pasta idea for dinner if you are vegan or looking to eat healthy.

It only has a preparation time of 15 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 10 ounces of pasta
  • 4 large cloves of minced garlic
  • 3 tbs butter
  • 2 tbs flour
  • 2/3 milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Cook the pasta over medium heat for 7-8 minutes and drain.
  • In a skillet, melt the butter and add in the garlic. Cook slowly over medium heat until browned.
  • Transfer the butter – garlic mixture into a blender. Blend until smooth and creamy.
  • Pour back into the pan and add the flour.
  • Whisk until the mixture is well combined.
  • Add in the milk and allow to simmer until the mixture thickens.
  • Pour the mixture onto the spaghetti and mix well.
  • Add salt and pepper and serve hot.

Recipe #3: Spicy Sausage Pasta

This is one of my absolute favorite pasta ideas for dinner! It is yummy, smokey and has less calories than regular sausages.

I love how the spicy sausage intensifies the flavor of pasta, especially when combined with other ingredients.

And you only need 30 minutes to prepare this mouthwatering dish.

Ingredients:

  • 1lb smoked sausages
  • 8 ounces of pasta
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • ½ cup diced onions
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 10 ounces of cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
  • 1/3 cup sliced scallions
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

  • Using a skillet, add in olive oils and cook the sausages until browned.
  • Add garlic and cook until golden.
  • Add in the pasta, tomatoes, heavy cream, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
  • Simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and pour in the cheese and sprinkle with scallions.

ravioliRecipe #4: Baked Ravioli

If you want a baked pasta dinner recipe, the baked ravioli is a must try. This quick delicious recipe is best achieved when the ravioli is frozen.

Ingredients:

  • 28 ounces frozen ravioli
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup organic pasta sauce
  • 2 tbs parmesan cheese

Directions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Prep the baking tray by spraying some cooking oil
  • Spread ¾ of the pasta sauce on the bottom of the tray. Place the frozen ravioli in single layers on top of the sauce. Pour the remaining sauce on the ravioli together with the mozzarella cheese.
  • Add another single layer of ravioli and sprinkle the parmesan cheese.
  • Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes.
  • Remove foil after 20 minutes and bake until cooked.
  • Allow to rest for 10 minutes and serve.

Recipe #5: Spinach and Tomato Tortellini

The spinach and tomato tortellini is a simple pasta recipe that is wholesome, flavorful and healthy.

In a preparation time of only 40 minutes, you can always look forward to cooking pasta on weeknights.

Ingredients:

  • 16 ounces cheese tortellini
  • 14 ounces canned tomatoes
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 2 tbs flour
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese (grated)
  • Salt, pepper and 1 tsp basil

Directions:

  • Boil some water and cook the tortellini for 10 minutes.
  • Cook the chopped spinach, tomatoes, basil, onions and garlic for 6 minutes.
  • In a separate bowl add flour and mix with milk and heavy cream.
  • Transfer to the cooking pan and add the parmesan cheese. Cook until thickened.
  • Pour the tortellini into the pasta sauce and serve.

Recipe #6: Bacon Pasta

If you are looking for simple pasta recipes that will take you minutes to whip up, then this recipe is for you.

And the ingredients are not only few but easy to find and simple to use. If you want to be more adventurous with the dish, you can add some vegetables.

Ingredients:

  • 8 strips of bacon
  • Canned tomatoes
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 4 cloves of minced garlic
  • 8 ounces of pasta
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

  • Cut the bacon into small pieces and cook until browned in the olive oil.
  • Add the minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
  • Add some water and simmer.
  • Add in the pasta, mix well and serve.

Pasta makingRecipe #7: Mushroom and Zucchini Pasta

Another one of those delicious pasta recipes for vegans. Zucchini has numerous benefits and is one of the vegetables that is readily available.

Combining it with mushrooms to make a vegan pasta sauce release flavor and texture.

Did I mention it’s super healthy?

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups chopped zucchini
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 6 ounces white mushrooms
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • 6 ounces tomatoes
  • 6 ounces tomato sauce
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • 2 tbs sugar
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

  • In a pan cook the onions, zucchini and mushrooms. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
  • Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, paste, sugar, salt and pepper.
  • Simmer for 30 minutes on low heat and serve.

Recipe #8: Lobster and Angel Hair Pasta

Whereas this is a simple pasta recipe, it requires technique when de-shelling the lobster.

Once that is done, you can enjoy a wonderful and quick to make weeknight meal.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lobster tails
  • 3tbs olive oil
  • 2tbs tomato puree
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 8 ounces angel hair pasta
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 2 tbs lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

  • Remove the lobster shells and set the meat aside.
  • In a skillet, add the garlic and season with tomato puree, salt and pepper.
  • Add in the lobster on low heat and cook for 6 minutes.
  • Drain the cooked pasta and add to the lobster. Add in the lemon juice and cook for 1 minute. Serve.

Recipe #9: Spaghetti Carbonara

This is the ultimate Italian pasta recipe. Spaghetti carbonara is one of the easy pasta dinner recipes you can make on a weeknight by using the right technique.

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces spaghetti
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cloves whole garlic
  • 2 tbs butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tbs grated parmesan cheese
  • 100 grams pancetta
  • 2 tbs pecorino cheese

Directions:

  • Cook the spaghetti and set aside.
  • Mix the parmesan, pancetta and pecorino cheese together and set aside.
  • Beat the eggs and season with salt and pepper. Mix in the cheese.
  • In a pan, melt the butter and fry the garlic cloves and pancetta for 5 minutes.
  • Remove the garlic cloves and add in the spaghetti into the pancetta.
  • Pour in the egg and cheese mixture until it thickens.
  • Add some water and simmer.

Recipe #10: Shrimp and Parmesan Pasta  

By now you’ve seen that almost all pasta dinner ideas will require you to have some parmesan cheese.

And for good reason! Parmesan is a great accompaniment in when using shrimp in your pasta. In 40 minutes, you will have a yummy dish you can whip up on busy weeknights.

Ingredients:

  • 11/2 lb peeled shrimp
  • 8 ounces pasta
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • ¼ cup dried basil
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups half and half
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

  • In a large pan, melt the butter and sauté the shrimp for 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Remove the shrimp and set aside.
  • Add half and half and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add the shrimp, parmesan cheese and pour the sauce onto the pasta.
  • Coat well and serve.

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Judith Amondi

Judith has over ten 10 years of experience working as a writer. She has written numerous articles, profiles, and reports for academic, corporate, and nonprofit organizations. Her byline has appeared in the Harvard Business Review with several of her articles being published by the Harvard Business School

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