35 Pasta Recipes with Pizzazz | Midwest Living

35 Pasta Recipes with Pizzazz

Our recipes for noodle-based casseroles, salads, pasta sauces and more give you both traditional and innovative flavor options for this family-favorite ingredient.
  • Penne with Arrabiata Sauce

    Penne with Arrabiata Sauce

    Arrabbiata (the Italian word for angry) is a Roman sauce of garlic, tomatoes and red chili cooked in olive oil. This recipe, inspired by a RAGBRAI vendor, offers several variations. Serve cooked penne with either a spicy red sauce or with a classic green pesto sauce. Optional toppings include rosemary-crusted grilled salmon or grilled summer squash.

    Penne with Arrabiata Sauce

  • Tomato Pasta with Arugula and Parmesan

    Tomato Pasta with Arugula and Parmesan

    Light, no-cook lemon-garlic sauce dresses a tangle of linguine and vegetables. Mix red and yellow cherry tomatoes for the prettiest dish.

    Tomato Pasta with Arugula and Parmesan 

  • Tuna-Noodle Casserole

    Green beans, chopped sweet peppers, chopped celery and fresh mushrooms add fresh flavor to our tuna casserole recipe.

    Tuna-Noodle Casserole

  • Classic Lasagna

    With its rich meaty sauce and creamy cheese layers, this lasagna is always a favorite main dish.

    Classic Lasagna

  • Three-in-One Primavera

    Three-in-One Primavera

    Our ready-in-minutes recipe starts with pasta and mixed vegetables—then just pick the sauce that suits your mood. Choose among light lemon-basil, creamy Parmesan or peppercorn-ranch dressing for a pasta salad.

    Three-in-One Primavera

  • Fresh Herb Pasta Primavera

    A Parmesan cream sauce tops pasta made with your choice of fresh herbs and veggies. 

    Fresh Herb Pasta Primavera

  • Tagliatelle A La Hudson

    Lemon and prosciutto flavor this easy-to-make pasta dish to perfection.

    Tagliatelle A La Hudson


  • French Spaghetti

    Layer creamy white and tomato-mushroom sauces with noodles to create this meatless dish. You can serve it with a salad as a main course or spoon out smaller portions as a side dish. "This was a real treat," writes one of our website reviewers. "The cream gives this dish a really rich boost."

    French Spaghetti

  • Fusilli Primavera

    This recipe tosses fun curly pasta with spring vegetables ("primavera"). We added almonds and a hint of cheese for a colorful stir-fry dish with crunch. A splash of vermouth adds some tang to the sauce.

    Fusilli Primavera

  • Blue-Ribbon Italian Sauce

    This old family recipe comes from Kansas City, Missouri, reader Mary Rowell. She learned it from her mother, who learned it from her Italian mother-in-law. Starch from a potato helps thicken the sauce.

    Blue-Ribbon Italian Sauce

  • Fresh Tomato and Arugula Pasta

    Arugula is a spicy little green that gives this fresh tomato pasta a peppery bite. For a more mellow flavor, use spinach instead of arugula.

    Fresh Tomato and Arugula Pasta

  • Noodles with Honey-Balsamic Beef

    Tangy balsamic vinegar, sweet honey and the bite of red pepper flakes blend as they season this beef stir-fry. We liked the crunch of the Chinese cabbage called bok choy. Dried vermicelli pasta nests or angel-hair pasta can be used as the noodle base.

    Noodles with Honey-Balsamic Beef

  • Grilled Chicken and Garden Vegetable Penne Pasta

    Tomatoes, squash, red sweet peppers and green onions give garden-fresh flavor to this chicken-and-pasta main dish. Also, the vegetables add nice color to the recipe, which comes from the Culinary Vegetable Institute in Milan, Ohio.

    Grilled Chicken and Garden Vegetable Penne Pasta

  • Pea and Mint Pesto

    Pea and Mint Pesto

    Fresh mint and sweet peas shine in this bright, versatile pesto. We love it as a dip, sandwich spread and pasta sauce (thinned with a little water), but we suspect that you’ll find even more ways to use it for a burst of early-summer flavor.

    Pea and Mint Pesto

  • Chicken Veneto

    This variation of a classic Italian recipe comes from Salvatore's Ristorante in Indianapolis. Chicken is cooked in a skillet and seasoned with a sauce of butter, garlic, artichoke hearts, pistachio nuts and white wine. The dish takes just 30 minutes from start to finish.

    Chicken Veneto

  • Pizza Pasta Skillet Casserole

    Pizza Pasta Skillet Casserole

    A blanket of gooey cheese and the oven-crisped pepperoni make this casserole a guaranteed kid pleaser. Of course, you can switch up the ingredients as easily as the toppings on a pizza. Classics like sweet pepper, black olives and sausage are all fair game—but we’d hold the anchovies!

    Pizza Pasta Skillet Casserole

  • Tuna Pasta Bliss

    Fun three-color pasta, cubed cheese, albacore tuna and roasted sweet red peppers blend for a pasta salad with summer freshness from fresh basil and Romaine leaves. Sprinkled cashews add a nice topping.

    Tuna Pasta Bliss

  • Linguini with Shrimp and Pine Nuts

    Dry sherry flavors the broth, and crushed red pepper adds a tiny bite to this pasta dish from Bartolino's, a popular Italian restaurant in the Hill area of St. Louis, Missouri.

    Linguini with Shrimp and Pine Nuts

  • Garden Veggie Linguine with Cilantro Pesto

    Garden Veggie Linguine with Cilantro Pesto

    You can customize this linguine recipe by substituting other in-season vegetables and herbs, such as asparagus, snap peas, spinach or mustard greens, tarragon and basil.

    Garden Veggie Linguine with Cilantro Pesto

  • Army and Lou's Macaroni and Cheese

    Here's a real crowd-pleaser: a creamy mac and cheese recipe using three kinds of cheese. It's from Army and Lou's restaurant in Chicago.

    Army and Lou's Macaroni and Cheese

  • Pesto Penne with Deli-Roasted Chicken

    Purchased pesto and roast chicken help get this quick and easy main dish on the table in just 20 minutes. Fresh broccoli cooks with the pasta and lends straight-from-the-garden flavor.

    Pesto Penne with Deli-Roasted Chicken

  • Linguine in Fresh Tomato Sauce With Garlic-Basil Toast

    Kalamata olives add flavor to the homemade tomato sauce in this vegetarian pasta meal. And it's ready in 20 minutes!

    Linguine in Fresh Tomato Sauce With Garlic-Basil Toast

  • Greek Pastitsio

    Some call this dish (pronounced pah-STEET-see-oh) the Greek lasagna. Our version was inspired by the pastitsio served at a popular Detroit-area Greek restaurant. We use elbow macaroni and kasseri cheese (similar to provolone in flavor, but milder with a slight buttery taste). Just like lasagna, this dish is easier to serve if it stands about 10 minutes after baking.

    Greek Pastitsio

  • Reunion Noodle Salad

    Soy sauce, lemon olive oil and garlic create a flavorful dressing for this pasta and vegetable salad. The recipe comes from the Savage family in Columbus, Ohio, where it's served at big family gatherings.

    Reunion Noodle Salad

  • Second-Helping Pasta

    Sweet peppers, garlic and tomato add color and flavor to this quick-and-easy pasta dish. If you like, add cooked chicken strips or shrimp.

    Second-Helping Pasta

  • Tuna Alfredo Casserole

    Substitute any pesto you like in this easy, six-ingredient tuna casserole recipe.

    Tuna Alfredo Casserole

  • Pumpkin-Filled Ravioli

    Choose from the variety of mushrooms at your supermarket when you make this dish from Spiaggia in Chicago. Or you can buy cheese ravioli to use with this recipe's rich mushroom sauce.

    Pumpkin-Filled Ravioli

  • Tomato Vodka Cream Sauce over Fettuccini

    This versatile recipe is delicious over any type of pasta. A classic tomato sauce gets extra flavor from 2 tablespoons of vodka and smoothness from whipped cream. You can leave out the vodka, if you like, and experiment with different flavors of canned stewed tomatoes.

    Tomato Vodka Cream Sauce over Fettuccini

  • Cheesy Multigrain Spaghetti Casserole

    Cheesy Multigrain Spaghetti Casserole

    Extra-firm tofu provides protein in this meatless main dish. Whole-grain pasta adds flavor and nutrition.

    Cheesy Multigrain Spaghetti Casserole

  • Mushroom and Gorgonzola Fettuccine

    This rich-and-creamy noodle recipe is from Herman's restaurant at Garland resort near Lewiston, Michigan. Sweet red pepper and fresh herbs give splashes of color to the mushroom sauce.

    Mushroom and Gorgonzola Fettuccine

  • Eight-Layer Casserole

    A Waukegan, Illinois, reader contributed this homespun ground beef-and-noodle hotdish recipe. She said it is one of her favorites to take to church suppers. Make-ahead directions are included at the end of the recipe.

    Eight-Layer Casserole

  • Pesto Pasta Toss

    You’ll only need six ingredients — and 20 minutes — to whip up this pasta dish. Use chopped leftover cooked turkey, chicken, pork, beef, or vegetables, and whatever kind of pasta you have on hand.

    Pesto Pasta Toss

  • Thai Chicken Salad

    Lots of veggies, grilled chicken, Asian buckwheat noodles and a peanut dressing create this choice chilled main-dish salad. The recipe is from M's Pub in Omaha. You can assemble it 2 to 4 hours before serving.

    Thai Chicken Salad

  • Lemongrass Chicken over Noodles

    The popular Thai herb lemongrass seasons this stir-fry we created with a lemony finish. You can substitute a variety of noodles in this main dish.

    Lemongrass Chicken over Noodles

  • Walnut Room Butternut Squash Ravioli

    Toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds) add crunchiness to this main dish recipe from Macy's Walnut Room in Chicago. Dried cranberries, sweet red pepper and sage add color.

    Walnut Room Butternut Squash Ravioli

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