Pasta la vista: The 5 best easy pasta recipes you needJuly 20, 2023
It’s hard to go wrong with a big bowl of pasta. This Italian specialty has been a home-cooking staple for generations because of its delicious versatility. Some people like theirs thick, creamy and full of comfort. Others want theirs to be bright red and extra-saucy. No matter where you fall on the scale, you’re sure to love our easy pasta recipes.
Pasta cooking 101: Frequently asked questions
Before we get cooking, here are some tips and tricks to take your pasta from good to absolutely belissimo.
What does al dente mean?
Al dente translates to “to the tooth” in English. When cooking pasta, it essentially refers to the ideal texture you want to achieve when it’s finished cooking: not too mushy, not too rigid. Al dente pasta has a slight firmness to it which provides a pleasing, slightly chewy mouthfeel. Cooking your pasta until it is al dente will elevate any easy pasta recipe to the next level.
How do I cook my pasta until al dente?
It can be tricky to know if your pasta is al dente just by looking at it. As a general rule, pasta removed from the boil and drained about 60-90 seconds before the instructions say it’ll be ready will be al dente. So if your pasta packet or recipe says it will be cooked (or “cottura”) in thirteen minutes, then try taking it off the stove at twelve minutes. It’ll take a bit of experimentation to get the timing perfect, but the results will be worth it!
How much salt do I need in my pasta water?
You may have heard the saying that pasta water should be “as salty as the sea”. This is correct! Salting your pasta water is an important part of the cooking process; failing to adequately salt yours may result in a bland finished dish.
You may see nonnas throwing handfuls of salt into their pasta water without a care in the world. Sound intimidating? You can instead use about two to three tablespoons of salt per litre of water. If that sounds like a lot, just remember that your pasta won’t absorb it all, and it’ll go down the sink when you drain the pasta water away. This is a good ratio to keep in the back of your mind as even easy pasta recipes won’t list how much salt you need for your pasta water.
Do I need oil in my pasta water?
In short, the answer is no. Adding oil to your pasta water will prevent your sauce from sticking to it which won’t be any fun to eat. When you’re making a pasta salad, however, and if the recipe doesn’t call for a thick sauce, then oiling your pasta with extra virgin olive oil is okay. This will stop the pasta from clumping together and ruining your salad.
Should I add pasta water to my pasta sauce?
Pasta water is the salty, starchy water you drain off your pasta when it’s finished cooking. You can discard it if you wish, but we recommend reserving a cup to gradually add to your sauce in small amounts. This can help make it thick, glossy and cohesive, just like a restaurant-quality sauce! You’ll want to give this easy pasta recipe hack a crack next time you’re in the kitchen.
Easy pasta recipes you’ll love
Now that you know how to cook pasta like an Italian, here are our top five favourite easy pasta recipes. No matter how you like your pasta, you’re sure to find a recipe you’ll love.
For creamy pasta lovers
Quick Bacon & Mushroom Fettuccine Boscaiola
This classic easy pasta recipe is loaded with layer upon layer of epic umami flavour. It’s all thanks to the smoky bacon, meaty mushies and lashings of shaved parmesan cheese throughout. Paired with everyone’s favourite: garlic bread, it’s your one-way ticket to a great meal.
For tomato pasta lovers
Italian Beef Ragu & Gnocchi
Pillowy potato perfection (AKA gnocchi) meets our take on a traditional beef ragu sauce. This beefy, cheesy recipe packs a mighty flavour punch that’ll have you running back for seconds and, let’s be honest, thirds. With a smattering of vibrant parsley, a flavour pop from Italian herbs, and extra crunch from slivered almonds, this pasta dish is a treat for all of your senses. Grab this easy pasta recipe here.
For seafood pasta lovers
Easy Creamy Lemon Prawn Orecchiette
Before you put prawn pasta in the too-hard basket, give this recipe a go. It comes together in four simple steps, with an elegant end result that’ll go down a treat with the whole family. A double dose of lemon brightens the cream sauce, while also tenderising the succulent prawns. It’s an easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy pasta dish, if we do say so ourselves, and you can grab it here.
For veggie pasta lovers
Quick Tomato, Kale & Pesto Orecchiette
Getting your veggies in has never been this delicious. Packed with the goodness of kale, and the sweet acidity of blistered cherry tomatoes, this easy pasta recipe comes together in a handful of simple steps. Get it ready in 20 minutes, and you’ll be scarfing down this irresistible dish before you know it. Grab the recipe here.
For lasagne lovers
Herby Italian Beef & Bacon Lasagne
No dish says comfort quite like our lasagne. From the perfectly blistered cheesy top, to the loaded layers of beef and bacon ragu, you’ll find mouth-watering flavours in every corner of this dish. The best part is, this easy pasta recipe won’t take you all day – it’s actually ready in just sixty minutes! That’s less time cooking, and more time eating your delectable creation (and receiving compliments about how amazing your cooking is, of course). Grab the recipe here.
Like what you see?
Find a great range of easy pasta recipes on our menu every week. They’re full of all your favourite ingredients, just like these ones. Take a look at our upcoming menu and see all the delicious pasta recipes you could sink your teeth into.
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