Linguini, vermicelli, spaghetti, penne, and tortellini: however you eat it, pasta is comforting, delicious, and extremely easy to make. That’s why pasta is the perfect base for any mom on the run who wants to whip up dinner with the boil of a pot. There are plenty of pasta recipes that make dinnertime a leisurely event. Simply turn on the burner, salt and boil some water, then check out these quick and easy dinners and tips to cooking up your favorite pasta dishes.
Great Pasta Dinner Ideas
- Spaghetti with Sausage: Simply remove the casings of Italian sausage, break it up in a heated pan over medium heat, brown it with 1 diced onion onions first, then 1 sliced red bell peppers 3 minutes later, and 2 diced tomatoes 5 minutes later. Drain the spaghetti and combine all the ingredients with a little grated Parmesan cheese. You’ll have an easy, flavorful dish that will delight everyone from kiddos to serious foodies.
- Pasta Primavera: This is one of those easy healthy dinners. Get a pound of any kind of pasta you like boiling in salted water. In a heated sauté pan brown 1 diced onion, 1 sliced red or green bell pepper and season with salt and pepper. After about 5 minutes or until they are tender add 1 or 2 quartered and sliced zucchinis and about a minute later toss in a 15 oz. can of stewed tomatoes with ½ tsp. of dried or fresh basil. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer while you get the pasta drained. Combine ingredients and top with grated Parmesan cheese and serve! To make this one of those easy chicken dinners, add chunks of chicken breast in the pan before the vegetables.
- Easy Macaroni and Cheese: This is one of those easy dinners for kids, they’ll love this timeless, comfort food. Boil 12 oz. or ¾ of a bag of elbow pasta in salted water, but this time only cook the pasta for half time since you’ll be baking it later. Preheat oven to 400F. In a big bowl whisk 1 c. sour cream, 2 Tbs. Dijon mustard and salt and pepper, add the pasta and coat. Pour mixture into a baking dish and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and take ¼ c. of sour cream and 8 oz. of grated cheddar cheese and fold into the pasta mixture and bake for another 15-20 minutes. Viola and now you have a creamy, cheesy delight that is sure to please all! Alternative veggie to add would be broccoli florets and/or a chopped onion.
Easy Pasta Dinner Tips
- Use plenty of water and make sure it’s come to a full, rolling boil before adding the pasta.
- Add salt and a touch of oil to the water, which will enhance the flavors of the pasta.
- Cover your pot to make the water boil faster and then again once you’ve added the spaghetti or pasta to make sure it comes back to a boil as quickly as possible.
- Many people rinse the gluey starches off of the pasta while draining the water. Don’t rinse! Your sauce will cling to the pasta much better if you don’t rinse off the starchy exterior.
- When cooking your pasta, think about how long it will take for you to eat it. If you’re eating it in a few days, over cook it slightly.
- When pasta sits in the refrigerator it gets a little harder, so over cook if it’s going straight into the fridge so that, when you do get to your dish, it will be soft and delightful.
Pasta cooks faster than rice and potatoes and with so many different kinds of pasta types and styles out there, you can enjoy quite a variety of quick and easy dinners. Pasta dishes satisfy appetites, save well for leftovers and can provide you with more easy dinners than you could try to create in nearly an entire year. The best part is that you don’t have to stick to the recipe, if you have extra or different protein and veggies, just add or substitute for you own special creation.