Pasta Recipes Like Grandma Used To Make

Pasta is an incredible thing — simple, versatile, and most importantly delicious. This common food is always comforting and never seems to go out of style. Many pasta dishes come together with only a few ingredients, making them not only quick and easy meals to whip up for unexpected guests, but usually affordable as well.

For a lot of people, their fondest memories of pasta come from Grandma's house. Whether you're looking for a recipe to recall happy times or hoping to start a pasta tradition of your own, we've got you covered. We've picked out our favorite pasta recipes that are easy enough for anyone to cook at home when the craving hits. We also wanted to share a secret that can transform any pasta dish into something completely luxurious and addicting.

For pastas that are tossed in a sauce before serving, it's helpful to add some reserved pasta water (yes from the pot you cooked the noodles in) to a large pan along with the cooked noodles and prepared sauce. Do this over medium heat and use tongs to constantly swirl the pasta, making sure every noodle gets evenly coated. The starch from the pasta water helps to naturally thicken any sauce, making sure it clings to all the noodles. So whip out your big pasta pot and get cooking with these incredible pasta recipes like Grandma used to make.

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Some sources believe the dish was developed at the end of World War II, when American soldiers stationed in Rome brought rations of eggs and bacon to Italian friends who turned them into this pasta sauce. This recipe is simple, but extremely satisfying and perfect for any weeknight dinner.

Click here to see the Spaghetti alla Carbonara recipe.

Shrimp Scampi

The combination of shrimp, garlic, lemon, and butter creates something truly magical. Because this is a delicate sauce, it requires delicate pasta. Angel hair pasta takes about four minutes to boil, so do that last, and once it's cooked, make a little pasta mound in the middle of a plate, then spoon shrimp and sauce all around it.

Click here to see the Shrimp Scampi recipe.

The Ultimate Baked Mac and Cheese

There's nothing like diving into a big bowl of warm mac and cheese. This take on the classic comfort food uses four different kinds of cheese to deliver a decadent and rich mac and cheese that will wow your family and friends.

Click here to see the Ultimate Baked Mac and Cheese recipe.

Short Rib Ragù

Short ribs have a great beefy flavor and wonderful texture. Since this cut of meat has so much marbling, it makes for a great option used in a ragù. Whether you use an Instant Pot, a slow cooker, or a traditional braise, short ribs are pretty forgiving and almost always end up tasting delicious.

Click here to see the Short Ribs Ragù recipe.

Aglio e Olio Spaghetti

This traditional Italian spaghetti dish is made with good-quality olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. The dish is a simple yet delicious way to prepare pasta for an enjoyable meal.

Click here to see the Aglio e Olio Spaghetti recipe.

Arugula-Basil-Ricotta Pesto Pasta

This light and bright pesto can be ready in less than 10 minutes. Adding ricotta and arugula to a traditional pesto makes for a more peppery and vivid pasta sauce that will be sure to wow your friends and family.

Click here to see the Arugula-Basil-Ricotta Pesto Pasta recipe.

Mushroom and Beef Spaghetti Bolognese

A flavor-packed Bolognese can be made in less than an hour thanks to our trick of using ready-made tomato sauce. Adding mushrooms to Bolognese makes this twist on a Bolognese hearty without being heavy.

Click here to see the Mushroom and Beef Spaghetti Bolognese recipe.

Cacio e Pepe

Perfect in its minimalism, cacio e pepe — which translates directly to "cheese and pepper" — is a real crowd-pleaser, great for a family meal or a dinner that doubles as lunch the next day. For that buttery taste with less fat, this version combines olive oil and butter in a 2-to-1 ratio.

Click here to see the Cacio e Pepe recipe.

Linguine With Clams, Mussels, and Peppers

Linguine with clams is a timeless classic that's easy to prepare and delicious any time of year. This Italian pasta dish gets a bit of an update with the addition of mussels and sweet bell peppers, but it still comes together very quickly once all the prep is done.

Click here to see the Linguine With Clams, Mussels, and Peppers recipe.

No-Boil Mac and Cheese

It's great that you can make mac and cheese on a sheet pan in the oven — no fuss, no muss, and no pre-boiling pasta necessary! It's ultra-creamy thanks to evaporated milk, a good bit of heavy cream (you could substitute half-and-half, if you like), and a not-shy amount of cheese!

Click here to see the No-Boil Mac and Cheese recipe.

Quick and Easy Alfredo Sauce

This Alfredo recipe is super simple and can be made in less than 10 minutes. Serve your Alfredo sauce with pasta. You can even add some rotisserie chicken for an effortless weeknight meal.

Click here to see the Quick and Easy Alfredo Sauce recipe.

Pasta Con ‘Nduja

This delicious pasta recipes highlights some of the best ingredients from Calabria — from the olive oil and spicy 'nduja to the wonderful fusili di calabria! It's simple and totally delicious.

Click here to see the Pasta Con 'Nduja recipe.

Orecchiette Pasta With Ground Lamb, Broccolini, and Pecorino

Switch up the flavor profiles of your favorite dishes by adding ground lamb instead of ground beef. Broccolini looks similar to broccoli, but has longer, thinner stems and smaller florets.

Click here to see the Orecchiette Pasta With Ground Lamb, Broccolini, and Pecorino recipe.

Spaghetti With Zucchini and Pecorino Romano

This simple spaghetti dish is delicious and perfect for a quick and satisfying dinner. The zucchini becomes both crispy and soft, and combined with the sharp and salty pecorino Romano becomes something truly divine.

Click here to see the Spaghetti With Zucchini and Pecorino Romano recipe.

Spaghetti With Clams

This is a classic dish of spaghetti dressed with clams steamed in white wine, seasoned with garlic and red pepper flakes. The best method for cleaning clams is to soak them in cold, salted (sea-like) water for up to an hour so that they expel any grit. And while clams are delicious, they can sometimes be expensive, so make sure to offset your grocery bill with these 24 tips and tricks for saving money at the supermarket.

Click here to see the Spaghetti With Clams recipe.

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