26 Easy Pasta Recipes for Weeknight Cooking

Your week has been rough (and it’s only Monday night). This calls for pasta, ASAP. But before you call for takeout again, check out one of these easy pasta recipes that will have you eating well until the weekend. From classics like cacio e pepe and a simple Bolognese to inventive takes on mac and cheese and lasagna, there's something for the whole family on this list.

24 Old-School Recipes Your Italian Grandma Used to Make

1. One-pot Tomato Basil Pasta

If you can throw five ingredients in a pot, plus spices, cheese and broth, you can enjoy homemade pasta pomodoro. (Bonus: There’s only one pot to wash at the end, and the leftovers hold up well for lunch.)

2. Cacio E Pepe

No time to run to the grocery store? This simple spaghetti dish is a fabulous treat for busy nights, and it takes only 15 minutes to prep. It’s grown-up mac-and-cheese go time.

3. 15-minute Lemony Broccolini Pasta

While the pasta is cooking, you’ll spend roughly five minutes sautéing the broccolini and sauce ingredients to toss the pasta in when it’s done boiling. The crispness and creaminess of the dish makes it feel much more sophisticated than your usual weeknight meal.

4. Pasta With Peas, Pancetta And Goat Cheese

Yes, when it’s this quick and easy, you can make béchamel sauce on a Monday. We believe in you.

5. Skillet Pasta With Summer Squash, Ricotta And Basil

One skillet, one box of rigatoni, a few fresh veggies and a dollop of cheese are all you need to make this entrée any night of the week. Effort is minimal, the rewards are large and yeah, a skillet full of veggies and pasta doesn’t make for a terrible Insta story...

6. Ten-minute Macaroni And Cheese In A Mug

We know. It’s tempting to open up a blue box on a Monday. But in the same time it takes to prepare boxed mac and cheese, you can make a super-cheesy version in your favorite mug. (So cozy.)

7. Skillet Gnocchi With Sausage And Broccoli Rabe

Whip up this attractive weeknight pasta skillet in less time than it takes to stream an episode of Friends. This gnocchi is so good, you’ll want to invite last-minute guests over, but it’s also fantastically suited to a night of streaming and carbo-loading.

8. Instant Pot Ground Beef And Pasta

Beefaroni gets an adult upgrade with the super-simple Bolognese-like recipe that takes about ten minutes with your pressure cooker. Cue up Netflix because this dish will give all sorts of cuddle weeknight in feels.

9. Spaghetti Aglio E Olio

It’s no secret that pasta with garlic is maybe the best thing ever, and this legit Italian recipe for spaghetti with olive oil, garlic, fresh herbs and breadcrumbs is about to be your new weeknight go-to.

10. Simple Mushroom Penne With Walnut Pesto

All the elements in this restaurant-style recipe may seem complicated, but you can seriously make this vegetarian pasta entrée in minutes. While the pasta cooks and mushrooms and butter make a decadent sauce, you’ll simply toss the greens and pesto ingredients into a food processor. Boom, dinner is ready.

11. Easy One-pan Baked Ziti

Prep for this gooey, saucy, meaty dish takes under ten minutes, and though it bakes for nearly an hour, that gives you plenty of time to shoot off your last emails of the day, enjoy a glass of wine in the bath or just unwind before dinnertime.

12. One-pot Weeknight Lasagna Soup

Making an entire lasagna from scratch may be a little ambitious for a weeknight (but if you’re up for it, might we recommend a ravioli lasagna?). So keep it simple with this slurpable lasagna that delightfully combines your favorite pasta bake ingredients in one pot.

13. 20-minute Summer Squash Pasta With Brown Butter And Goat Cheese

Browning butter takes only a few minutes and adds serious depth of flavor and toasty notes to any recipe. This pasta dish comes together quickly, combining fresh vegetables and herbs for the ideal meatless Monday feast.

14. Pasta Puttanesca

This light pasta recipe uses chili flakes and olives for a pop of flavor, with the optional addition of anchovies for extra umami. Does it get better than puttanesca on a weeknight? (Nope, probably not.)

15. One-pot, 15-minute Pasta Limone

This one-pot, 15-minute pasta limone is like dinner in your back pocket: You likely have most of the ingredients in your kitchen already, and it comes together in practically no time.

16. Roasted Cauliflower Macaroni And Cheese

This cheesy, veggie-packed mac and cheese requires only 30 minutes of prep time.

17. Carrot Pasta

This healthy twist on gnocchi is a kid-approved favorite for two reasons: it’s colorful and it’s delicious.

18. 20-minute Garlic Basil Brown Butter Pasta

Dress up simple buttered pasta by dousing bucatini in browned butter and pecorino and putting a few cherry tomatoes on top. (But if the kids ask what it is, just say “buttered pasta.”)

19. Salami, Artichoke And Ricotta Pasta Salad

Not all pasta dishes need to be swimming in red sauce. Take this salami, artichoke and ricotta pasta salad recipe. A few classic Italian flavors come together for one simple yet satisfying dish.

20. Jalapeño-avocado Mac And Cheese

Everyone loves mac and cheese. Everyone. So how can you take this comfort food to the next level? Add a few choice ingredients, like we do in this recipe for jalapeño-avocado mac and cheese.

21. Penne With Five (or Six) Cheeses

Can you really go wrong with a pasta recipe that requires five different cheese? No, no you can't.

22. Orecchiette With Spring Greens

Presenting orecchiette with spring greens, a simple but flavorful main that’s low-maintenance enough for a weeknight but elevated enough for a weekend dinner party. Best of all, you can whip up this seasonal dish in 15 minutes.

23. Roasted Broccoli And Bacon Pasta Salad

We've learned a very important lesson. Roasted broccoli, crispy bacon and hearty pasta make one helluva salad. Serve it as a side dish or a main dish—your call.

24. Shrimp And Pasta Stew

Stew doesn't have to mean hours in the kitchen. This recipe comes together in just about 30 minutes, making it an easy staple.

25. Lightened-up Fettuccine With Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce

On those nights you want to eat kinda healthy (but also don’t want to eat your millionth salad of the week), fettuccine with cauliflower alfredo sauce comes to the rescue.

26. Cheater’s Skillet Lasagna With Corn And Cherry Tomatoes

Forget classic lasagna. This cheater’s skillet lasagna with corn and cherry tomatoes has the same cheesy goodness you crave (and then some), minus the hours of assembly time. All you need is a trusty skillet and 35 minutes.