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20 Pasta Recipes That Are Ready in About Half an Hour

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Dinner faster than you can say “mangia!”
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Spending more time at home over the last year and half has inspired people to get creative in the kitchen. Extra time to plan meals and cook lent itself well to elaborate dinners and fancy desserts. But as the hustle and bustle of everyday life returns, we crave one thing in the kitchen: simplicity. If your weeknights are getting busy again, or if you just flat-out don’t feel like laboring over a meal, these delicious pasta dishes can be on your table in under 35 minutes.

Cajun Jambalaya Pasta

Cajun Jambalaya Pasta
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This simplified version of a restaurant favorite will make everyone at your dinner table happy — including you. Cajun jambalaya pasta has a welcome spice that adds a kick to shrimp and chicken. The recipe calls for linguine, but if you don’t have it handy, any pasta shape will do.

For the Cajun Jambalaya Pasta recipe, click here.

Lupa’s Cacio e Pepe

Lupa’s Cacio e Pepe
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Cacio e pepe is one of the most well-known pasta dishes around because it's so tasty and so easy to make. With nothing more than the ingredients they could carry in their sacks (dry pasta, cheese and black pepper), shepherds created cacio e pepe some 2,500 years ago and it continues to make appearances at the dinner table today. Snag the recipe from NYC restaurant institution Lupa for the ultimate rendition.

For Lupa's Cacio e Pepe recipe, click here.

Penne With Black Olives, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Feta and Spinach

Penne With Black Olives, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Feta and Spinach
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Traveling from Italy to Greece, this penne pasta with black olives, feta and spinach will be your go-to during summer. Cold pastas and pasta salads are warm-weather must-haves, and this one is no exception. The creamy feta coats the penne while the olives and sun-dried tomatoes add salty, sour elements.

For the Penne With Black Olives, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Feta and Spinach recipe, click here.

Linguine With Lemony Chicken

Linguine With Lemony Chicken
(Styling by Lisa Schumacher.) (Zbigniew Bzdak, Chicago Tribune)

The easiest way to use up leftover chicken is to throw it into a pasta dish. For this recipe, linguine is tossed in a light sauce made with white wine, heavy cream, lemon zest and garlic. The chicken is added on at the end with capers.

For the Linguine With Lemony Chicken recipe, click here.

Spaghetti With Tomatoes and Goat Cheese

Spaghetti With Tomatoes and Goat Cheese
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Just because you’re short on time doesn’t mean you can’t make a great sauce for your pasta. Brighten up your red sauce in ways that the jarred stuff just can’t by using fresh ingredients like cherry tomatoes, lemon and basil.

For the Spaghetti With Tomatoes and Goat Cheese recipe, click here.

Mediterranean Pasta Toss

Mediterranean Pasta Toss
Julie Fletcher/Orlando Sentinel

The Mediterranean diet has been revered as the best diet for four years in a row by the U.S. News & World Report — maybe it’s because it includes eating pasta and drinking wine. This one-pan pasta utilizes the ingredients of the Mediterranean, like olives and feta, to make a rich and inviting capellini-based meal.

For the Mediterranean Pasta Toss recipe, click here.

Perciatelli Pasta With Vegetables and Herbs

Perciatelli Pasta With Vegetables and Herbs
Orlando Sentinel

Let's hope the great bucatini (also known as perciatelli) shortage of 2020 is behind us because it’s the star of this pasta dish. Fresh vegetables like button mushrooms, plum tomatoes and sliced red bell pepper also make an appearance. This is a light dish where simplicity creates an effortless dimension.

For the Perciatelli Pasta With Vegetables and Herbs recipe, click here.

Butterfly Pasta

Butterfly Pasta
Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune

Butterfly pasta, also known as farfalle, is tossed with simmered cherry tomatoes, minced garlic and fresh herbs, and topped off with grated parmesan cheese. The recipe, which is customizable to your palate, can be made easily based on what you already have in your kitchen.

For the Butterfly Pasta recipe, click here.

Zesty Italian Pasta Salad

Zesty Italian Pasta Salad
Carolyn Menyes/The Daily Meal

Pasta salad is one of those dishes that never goes out of style. Whether it’s served as an entree for weeknight dinners or as a side to burgers, pulled pork sandwiches and more cookout favorites, pasta salad is king.

For the Zesty Italian Pasta Salad recipe, click here.

Creamy Pesto Pasta

Creamy Pesto Pasta
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Being able to make a good alfredo sauce from scratch is something that would earn your grandma’s praise — after all, who knows more about pasta than your own nonna? Although her alfredo sauce might take time and ingredients to perfect, this creamy, pesto-infused recipe keeps things down to 30 minutes.

For the Creamy Pesto Pasta recipe, click here.

Linguine and Clams

Linguine and Clams
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The connection between seafood and Italian food is a timeless one; the Mediterranean coastline provides the many regions of Italy with a bounty of fish and shellfish. The love affair is highlighted in this recipe for linguine and clams. The combination is tied together with a light sauce made of olive oil, red pepper flakes and garlic.

For the Linguine and Clams recipe, click here.

Greek Orzo with Shrimp and Cherry Tomatoes

Greek Orzo with Shrimp and Cherry Tomatoes
Carolyn Menyes/The Daily Meal

Although orzo looks like a large grain of rice, it’s actually a short-cut pasta. It appears in this recipe with shrimp and cherry tomatoes. Toss it in a homemade vinaigrette to keep the dish light and refreshing for summer evenings.

For the Greek Orzo Salad With Shrimp and Cherry Tomatoes recipe, click here.

Simple Spaghetti Carbonara

Simple Spaghetti Carbonara
Jacqui Wedewer/The Daily Meal

Spaghetti carbonara is a traditional Roman pasta dish that uses ingredients you probably already have on hand. Six ingredients is all it takes to make an authentic Italian dish for dinner tonight.

For the Simple Spaghetti Carbonara recipe, click here.

Cream Cheese Alfredo

Cream Cheese Alfredo
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Sure, cream cheese alfredo might not be the most authentic Italian dish you can make, but it sure is good. The richness created from the blend of milk, butter and cream cheese is *chef’s kiss* when simmered in minced garlic and served over bowtie pasta. Your kids will love it.

For the Cream Cheese Alfredo recipe, click here.

Greek Style Beef Skillet

Greek Style Beef Skillet
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Beef is one of the easiest ways to add protein to your meals while sticking to a budget. The juicy meat adds an extra layer of flavor to this one-skillet pasta dish.

For the Greek Style Beef Skillet recipe, click here.

Garlic Scape Pesto

Garlic Scape Pesto
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If you’ve never cooked with garlic scapes, it’s the time. Often harvested during the early months of summer, the flowering stems of garlic can be transformed into a flavor-bursting pesto. Add the scapes to a blender with olive oil, lemon juice and red pepper flakes and serve over some type of spiral pasta, like rotini.

For the Garlic Scape Pesto recipe, click here.

Spaghetti all'Amatriciana

Spaghetti all'Amatriciana
Chicago Tribune

Revered by some as one of the most famous pasta dishes in Rome, Spaghetti all'Amatriciana is set apart from the rest by guanciale (cured pork jowl). If the ingredient isn’t available to you, bacon will do the trick.

For the Spaghetti all'Amatriciana recipe, click here.

Baked Feta Tomato Pasta With Shrimp

Baked Feta Tomato Pasta With Shrimp
Katherine Martinelli/The Daily Meal

You didn’t think we forgot about baked feta pasta already, did you? The viral TikTok recipe is still fresh in our minds. This recipe takes a few liberties by incorporating shrimp into the dish.

For the Baked Feta Tomato Pasta With Shrimp recipe, click here.

Herbed Beef Italiano

Herbed Beef Italiano
Courtesy of McCormick

The mother of all weeknight dinners is this herbed beef Italiano. Made in just one pan, the dish is a blend of hearty and refreshing flavors, from the veggies down to the rotini pasta. It serves six — perfect for the whole family and then some! If you have any beef leftover after making the dish, check out more of our incredible beef recipes perfect for busy weeknights.

For the Herbed Beef Italiano recipe, click here.

Pasta With Tomatoes and Basil

Pasta With Tomatoes and Basil
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As implied by the straightforward name, this pasta with tomatoes and basil is, indeed, made with tomatoes and fresh herbs. The sauce can be made with either fresh or canned tomatoes and the pasta of choice is up to you! Easy recipes like this one is one of the reasons why pasta dishes frequently appear among our 50 favorite recipes for weeknights.

For the Pasta With Tomatoes and Basil recipe, click here.

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