With the arrival of summer sunshine, warm breezes, and higher levels of humidity, a big bowl of pasta might not be something you immediately think of making for lunch or dinner. Nobody wants to turn on their oven for baked lasagna or spend all afternoon sweating in a hot kitchen making the perfect bolognese.
But pasta salads aren’t the only way to enjoy the likes of spaghetti, linguine, penne or any other form of the Italian staple. There are many hot pasta dishes that can be enjoyed all year round, and some that lend themselves to summer particularly well. Forget three-cheese sauces and heavy meat ragùs and turn instead towards lighter recipes: lemony linguine with lobster; spaghetti with a creamy avocado sauce instead of cream; delicious, bright pesto; and one-pot pastas that will let you enjoy the long summer evenings while effortlessly getting dinner on the table.
This light and bright pesto can be made in 10 minutes or less. Arugula adds more peppery flavor to a traditional basil pesto, and ricotta adds creaminess without being too heavy.
Umami flavors from the mushrooms complement the broccoli rabe and the walnuts add a lovely and surprising crunch to this pasta recipe. Mustard and vinegar also add a pleasant kick to this dish that is simple enough to make for an easy weeknight dinner.
This pesto is loaded with flavor. Kale, cilantro, almonds, and serrano chiles make this pesto extra special, while edamame spaghetti adds extra protein to this dish. Use your favorite pasta in place of edamame spaghetti if you prefer.
If you are craving something cheesy that is still light enough for summer, something creamy, yet sharp — then goat’s cheese is a great choice. A fried egg on top of this pasta combines with olive oil and the cheese for a lovely, satisfying sauce that comes together in the bowl!
Cauliflower lightly charred on the grill adds a smoky flavor to this vegetable-filled pasta. The lemon tahini sauce adds richness without using any dairy, making it vegan as well as perfect for summer!
Hawaiian pasta salad uses a homemade dressing to make a dish that is sweet and savory and can be made several days ahead. The tropical flavor makes this a fun dish to bring along to a pot luck, picnic, or backyard barbecue.
This dish is light and packed with fresh parsley, dry white wine, and delicious clams. This traditional Venetian dish is easy to make, impressive to behold, and wonderful to eat.
Seafood and citrus should always go together — it’s a match made in heaven! This recipe comes together in just 30 minutes and is full of lemony brightness for a great summer meal.
For a special summer treat, why not make this linguine with lobster? A buttery, herb-y white wine sauce complements the lobsters perfectly, and linguine is a great vehicle for both lobster and sauce!
Add the classic combination of prosciutto and melon to a simple pasta salad for a tasty party appetizer or a satisfying portable lunch!
Ok, so you do have to cook the pasta for this recipe, but the sauce is made away from the stove. Ripe tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil are tossed with olive oil and garlic before being mixed with the freshly cooked pasta.
If you want a heartier pasta dish without too much effort, a one pot recipe is the way to go. This recipe cooks the pasta directly in the sauce, so you can have a satisfying dinner without ending up with too many dishes in the sink.
This is a deceptively simple dish that yields delicious results. The anchovies melt into garlicky olive oil that has a hint of spiciness from red pepper flakes. Toasted breadcrumbs to finish add texture, and lemon lifts the dish with its fresh acidity.
The Greek yogurt in this recipe adds a subtle tangy flavor to the fresh tomato sauce, and also adds creaminess without using heavy cream.
Peanut butter makes the dressing for this pasta salad rich, creamy, and oh so satisfying, a perfect way to enjoy a bowlful of noodles and vegetables!
Fresh peas, toasted pine nuts, and Parmigiano-Reggiano are a simple but effective combination. Enjoy this dish hot, cold, or any temperature in between.
While spaghetti carbonara might not be the lightest dish on this list, it is still a great recipe to have up your sleeve when you want to make dinner in a hurry. It is a delicious dish that requires very little planning and minimal effort and always tastes great.
Here’s a recipe that comes straight from the Jersey Shore. A tomato “crab gravy” that is full of aromatic flavors like garlic, red pepper flakes, and basil, tossed with perfectly cooked spaghetti is a perfect way to celebrate summer and fresh seafood.
Hold the heavy cream and use avocado instead! This creamy pasta will fill you up and keep you full for longer due to the healthy fats in avocado.
This recipe can easily become a vegetarian dish by eliminating the pancetta. For added deliciousness, try topping it with a poached egg, freshly ground black pepper, and shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano
This dish is full of fresh, clean flavors and pairs exceptionally well with fresh, crusty bread and a glass of cold white wine.
Chicken makes this dish quite substantial, but once again yogurt comes into play. What’s not to love about a creamy sauce that is cream-free along with caramelized onions and perfectly cooked chicken? What a wonderful way to end a long summer’s day!