Dough, sauces, side dishes and dessert for the perfect pasta evening

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Pasta is a favorite weekday staple in American cuisine, and for good reason—it’s often the go-to for a quick, easy meal that can be easily adapted to family or individual tastes.

But a pasta night can be exciting too. Sometimes that means making your own pasta from scratch or making a knockout sauce. Perhaps it even means finishing off the meal with side dishes so that the pasta can play against other flavors at the table.

The perfect overnight pasta is already within reach; Below you will find recipes for the best pasta evening. Mix and match to suit your needs – you don’t have to make a paste from scratch, but you might want to. Maybe you pair it with a sauce you have in your freezer, or maybe you buy a fun new form of pasta from the market and pair it with a sauce you’ve never tried before. You might like a spicy vinegar salad with your meal, or crunchy buttery garlic bread. Tell us your perfect evening pasta menu in the comments!

Like I said, you don’t have to make the pasta yourself. But if you have the time and desire, this can be a fun experiment! If you’re not ready to make your own pasta, feel free to skip this section and jump right into sauce ideas.

Fresh egg pasta for lasagna, on the picture. Yes, it’s “for lasagna,” but you can use this recipe from cookbook author Domenica Marchetti to make all sorts of shapes, including ravioli.

Pasta with fresh spinach for lasagna. As above, but in a gorgeous green hue thanks to the spinach.

Basic buckwheat paste. Want to try something a little different? This dough uses buckwheat for a rustic, earthy flavor.

Cavatelli Pugliesi. This is one of the easiest molds to make by hand, with ridges for storing sauces. Use a ribbed dumpling board, a carved cavarola board, or a more common kitchen tool like a small-hole grater or even a microplan.

Ligurian Corzetti. Consider these “pasta coins” – once you’ve made and rolled out the dough, you can use a corzetti stamp or any other embossing tool to create the pattern, and then use a cookie cutter to cut out round shapes.

Ricotta gnocchi with leeks and peas. Potato gnocchi can be tricky to get right, but ricotta gnocchi is a much easier introduction to making these little pasta dumplings.

Gluten free pappardelle with mushrooms. Gluten free? No problem! Grab the gluten-free pasta recipe hidden in this dish and use it for whatever you like.

Detour… for fillings!

If you have pasta dough, you can try your hand at making ravioli or other stuffed pasta. What can be put there? So many things! Consider filling with creamy fresh ricotta, or if dairy isn’t your thing, make a vegan version like this tofu ricotta or flavorful vegan ricotta with artichokes and tofu. You can also roast and puree the pumpkin for the filling, seasoning as you like. Pesto is good too! This is an opportunity to get creative – experiment with spices, zest and/or herbs to make a topping that you enjoy. Lay a sheet of pasta on a flat surface, add a tablespoon of filling every few inches, place another sheet on top, then press gently around the filling and cut out ravioli shapes.

Marcella Hazan III Tomato Sauce, on the picture. Marcella Hazan enjoys classic Italian recipes for a good reason. This sauce is perhaps the platonic ideal for red tomato pasta sauce.

Tomato sauce for large parties. Prepare a huge amount of pasta sauce that can be frozen for a variety of purposes.

Classic pesto with basil. We should have included pesto! This sauce has a sincere, dedicated fandom. If you’re into basil and pesto purism, this classic version sticks to tradition. And if not? Try something else, like dandelion green pesto or mustard greens + pecan pesto. Or take the middle path and make a summer pasta with tomato and basil with pine nut sauce that essentially uses deconstructed pesto.

Pasta Romesco with spinach. Romesco sauce in pasta? We say yes because it’s so delicious. Mix roasted red bell peppers with garlic, tomato paste, almonds and more for this wonderful sauce.

Vodka Penne Alla with chicken. Pasta alla vodka has been in and out of the trend cycle for some time now. An outbreak in the 90s made the dish popular, then in 2017 Refinery29 published an article about how pasta can, ahem, be the prelude to a romantic relationship. And then it resurfaced on social media when model Gigi Hadid posted an Instagram story last year to show people how to make her spicy vodka version of pasta. We can’t get rid of this sauce and frankly it’s so good we don’t want to. Feel free to skip the chicken if you don’t need it.

Spaghetti and meatballs in 30 minutes, pictured above. We can’t help but mention the spaghetti and meatballs! How else will you have a Lady and the Tramp moment?

Our best meatball recipes with beef, turkey, chicken, mushrooms and more

Shrimp and linguine Fra Diavolo. Spicy prawns with tomato sauce on a linguine by none other than the barefoot Countess Ina Garten? How could you resist, really?

Classic stew bolognese. Writer Leslie Brenner was looking for her perfect Bolognese stew. It’s him. But if you want something a little different, you can try this sumptuous braised lamb stew, or the much more weekday turkey and cabbage stew.

Spaghetti puttanesca with cannellini beans. A salty sauce made from anchovies, olives and capers, puttanesca is a versatile and tasty sauce that should be in your arsenal. Include beans for extra protein or skip them! You decide.

Creamy cannellini with rigatoni beans. If you want a creamy sauce but don’t like dairy, creamy white cannellini beans are the way to go!

A workaround for… pan sauces!

Sometimes you don’t need a thick layer of sauce on everything – a quick stir-fry of vegetables, perhaps with legumes, held together with a little emulsion of pasta water and fat in a pan, is what you need. In that case, consider following the instructions in these recipes for Pasta e Lenticchie (Pasta and Lentils), Cascatelli with Green Olives, Calabrian Chili and Lemon Tuna, Pasta with Italian Sausage, Tomatoes and Eggplant, or Pasta with Caramelized Pears and Gorgonzola. Or maybe you want something more brothy, but not soup at all? Make linguine alle vongole (linguine with clams).

We said distribute and we meant it! This selection of recipes includes salad recipes that will give your plate a fresh crunch, as well as some protein side dishes as opposed to pasta with vegetables and, of course, garlic bread. We love garlic.

6 very garlicky recipes to drive away exes, vampires and ex-vampires

Italian Sliced ​​Nancy Salad, on the picture. This blend of bitter greens, umami-infused salami, chickpeas, red onions and more in a tangy red wine vinaigrette leaves you wanting more.

Retro Caesar Salad. This is a classic salad for a reason! Try a simple caesar at the table, a hint of red sauce joints.

6 Caesar salad recipes, from classic to unexpected

Salad Muffuletta. This salty salad with olives will be a great addition to the table.

Salad of herbs and their stems. A light filling of fresh herbs will be a tasty, bright counterpoint to hearty pasta.

Roasted garlic soup. Start your meal with a cup of hot garlic soup. Why not?

White Bean Soup with Calabrian Chili Oil. This creamy white bean soup is drizzled with spicy chili oil on top.

spring vegetable soup. A light holiday of the best spring days will help you start your meal right.

Triple Garlic Bread. Not just garlic bread. Here we triple the amount of garlic with fresh, roasted and powdered garlic.

Broccoli with garlic and beans with pesto sauce. This Pesto Bean Dish comes together in no time thanks to a clever trick of blanching in a teapot.

Fava bean puree with crostini. Fresh fava beans can be used to make this beautiful pale green crostini pasta. You can also top your toast with other creamy toppings; think whipped toast with ricotta, green garlic, peas and prosciutto or feta toast. You can even make flavorful mushroom pate!

Bruschetta with shrimps and white beans. All you need for this recipe is a baking sheet and a mixing bowl! Toast your toast (up to two days in advance), then toast the shrimp, beans, and tomatoes together and place on those toasts.

Go ahead and take a break before scrolling through the dessert menu. Sometimes, even after a hearty, hearty meal, you can still satisfy your sweet tooth, and who are we to stand in your way? We’ve provided options that range from bright and light to decadent.

Summer Fruit Semifreddo, on the picture. If you want to get that ice cream vibe without all the work, you can make semifreddo using good quality fruit. This variation is based on summer fruit, so bookmark it for the day when the stone fruits and berries are ripe and ready.

Tiramisu. When tiramisu is good, it’s great. When it’s bad… it’s really bad. Thankfully, this fluffy, rich dessert is phenomenal.

cream with ricotta. Listen. Don’t make cannoli from scratch. Leave it to the professionals. However, make the ricotta cream that’s there and use the pizza biscuits as a scooping aid.

Amaretti with ruby ​​ganache. These simple and gorgeous cookies are a great option for afternoon coffee. If you don’t feel like hunting down ruby ​​chocolate, use whatever chocolate you like.

Bomboloni. These small, round Italian donuts are the perfect end-of-meal treat.

Grilled Peaches with Basil Mascarpone. Light, aromatic and juicy, these gorgeous grilled peaches are a fun way to end an evening without sending you straight to bed.

Granita di Cafe. Iced coffee-based granite might be just what you need after a hot lunch.

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