15 Best Pasta Recipes

With so many pasta recipes floating around, from authentic Italian dishes to creative spins on classics, we thought it would be interesting to do some research. So, we scoured the internet, narrowed the selection down, and came up with a list of the 15 best pasta recipes for 2018. Keep reading to see which ones made the cut.

Best Pasta Recipes FAQ

Pasta In Fork

​Image Source: Pexels.com

1. What Are the Best Pasta Recipes?

The best pasta recipes are those which incorporate a variety of ingredients and flavors without breaking the budget or requiring too much time behind a hot stove.

2. What Kinds of Ingredients Can You Use?

There is almost no limit to the kinds of ingredients you can use in the best pasta recipes. Some recipes use a combination of meats, cheeses, sauces, and vegetables, while others are less complex.

​How We Reviewed

The following best pasta recipes were reviewed based on their individual features, ingredients, directions, and price per serving. We carefully reviewed each pasta recipe to ensure there were a variety of ingredients used to suit an assortment of taste preferences and dietary needs.

Overall Price Range of the Best Pasta Recipes

The following best pasta recipes range in price from around $2.00 to $10.00 per serving. Ingredients are the price determiner.

What We Reviewed

Pasta

​Image Source: Pixabay.com

  • Mac and Cheese
  • Chicken Parmesan Shells
  • Cajun Chicken Pasta
  • Fettuccine Alfredo
  • Pizza Spaghetti
  • Lasagna
  • Turkey Bolognese
  • Salmon Linguine
  • Turkey Manicotti
  • Pasta, Pesto, and Peas
  • Mexican Pasta Bake
  • Lo Mein
  • American Macaroni Salad
  • BLT Pasta

Mac and Cheese

Mac And Cheese

​Image Source: Pixabay.com

Description

Our first best recipes selection is a creation of the renowned chef Ina Garten, featuring added twists like nutmeg and fresh tomatoes on top. It is a great choice for beginners, requiring about half an hour of prep time and the same baking time.


 Ingredients

  • ​1 lb macaroni
  • ​1/4 cup milk
  • ​1/2 cup multipurpose flour
  • ​8 tbsp butter (1 stick)
  • ​4 cups grated gruyere cheese
  • ​2 cups grated Cheddar cheese
  • ​1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs
  • ​4 small fresh tomatoes
  • ​1/2 tsp pepper
  • ​1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • ​Kosher salt
  • ​Vegetable Oil

 Directions

Start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees. Pour vegetable oil into a pot of salted, boiling water. Cook your pasta according to the directions on the package and drain.

In a saucepan, heat your milk, but do not allow it to boil. Melt 6 tbsp of butter in another large pot and add in your flour. Cook the butter and flour together on low for 2 minutes, stirring regularly with a whisk.

Next, add in the hot milk and mix until the milk, butter, and flour are thickened. Take them off the heat and add in your cheese, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir in the cooked pasta.

Pour your mac and cheese into a large baking dish. Slice the tomatoes and arrange them on top and pour the remaining 2 tsp of butter over everything. Sprinkle your breadcrumbs on top. Bake the mac and cheese for about 30 to 35 minutes. The cheese should bubble and be golden when done.

 Link to Recipe

Price Per Serving

$3.00

Chicken Parmesan Shells

Pasta

​Image Source: Pixabay.com

Description

​A delightful take on a classic Italian recipe, these stuffed shells take longer to make than some of our other selections but serve 12. With 431 calories and 28 grams of protein per serving, we think it will be a big hit at your next dinner party.


 Ingredients

  • ​1 lb cubed chicken breast
  • ​1 package uncooked large pasta shells
  • ​4 cups marinara sauce
  • ​1/3 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • ​1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • ​8 ounces freshly sliced mozzarella
  • ​3/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • ​3 cups part-skim ricotta
  • ​1/2 cup 2% milk
  • ​2 tbsp butter
  • ​3 tbsp olive oil
  • ​1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • ​1/4 cup fresh parsley
  • ​1/2 tsp pepper
  • ​1 tsp salt

Directions

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package and drain once finished. Toss the pasta shells with olive oil and lay them out on a baking sheet.

Coat your chicken in the Italian seasoning, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper.  Heat your olive oil in a skillet on medium-high and cook the chicken until it has lightly browned. Next, turn the heat down to medium and melt your butter in the pan with the chicken.

Add in the bread crumbs and cook until toasted. Keep stirring. In a bowl, mix the milk, cheeses, and the rest of the salt and pepper. Fold the chicken into the mixture.

Pour 2 cups of marinara sauce into a large baking dish and spread evenly. Take each of your large pasta shells, fill them with your chicken and cheese mixture, and place on top of the sauce. Top off your shells with the rest of the sauce and cheese mixture. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes before uncovering and baking for another 10 to 15 minutes.

 Link to Recipe

Price Per Serving

$2.00

Cajun Chicken Pasta

cajun chicken pasta

​Image Source: Pexels.com

Description

​​For a slightly spicy pasta dish, this best pasta recipes selection will hit the mark. It serves 2 and takes about 40 minutes to make in total.


 Ingredients

  • ​2 halved chicken breasts
  • ​4 oz linguine
  • ​1 sliced green bell pepper
  • ​1 sliced red bell pepper
  • ​4 sliced mushrooms
  • ​1 chopped green onion
  • ​1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • ​2 tbsp butter
  • ​1 cup heavy cream
  • ​2 tsp Cajun seasoning
  • ​1/4 tsp lemon pepper
  • ​1/4 tsp dried basil
  • ​1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • ​1/8 tsp pepper
  • ​1/4 tsp salt

Directions

Boil a pot of water and cook your pasta according to the directions. Put your chicken and Cajun seasoning in a plastic bag and shake until fully coated.

Put a large skillet on medium heat and cook the chicken and butter until the poultry is tender. Mix in the bell peppers, green onions, and mushrooms. Stir and cook together for 2 to 3 more minutes before lowering the heat.

Next, mix in the cream and the rest of your spices. Heat everything together before tossing in the cooked linguine. Sprinkle parmesan on top before serving.

 Link to Recipe

Price Per Serving

$​10.00

Fettuccine Alfredo

Pasta

​Image Source: ​Pixabay.com

Description

​This choice from our best pasta recipes uses low fat milk and cream cheese to make fettuccine alfredo healthier for your heart and more diet-friendly. It serves about 4 and takes only 25 minutes to make.


 Ingredients

  • ​12 oz fettuccine
  • ​2 tsp all-purpose flour
  • ​2 tbsp low-fat cream cheese
  • ​3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ​1 cup 2% milk
  • ​1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • ​1 minced garlic clove
  • ​3 tbsp chopped parsley
  • ​1 tsp grated lemon zest
  • ​3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • ​Black pepper

Directions

Heat a skillet over medium heat and melt the butter. Mix in your lemon zest and garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add in the flour and stir together for another minute.

Next, mix in the milk and salt, whisking continuously until the concoction thickens. Add in your cheese and whisk together for 1 minute before stirring the parsley in.

Boil a large pot of salted water and cook the fettuccine according to the package directions. Save 1 cup of the water before draining your pasta. Mix the sauce and cooking water into your pasta and toss together. Add parmesan, salt, and pepper on top when serving.

 Link to Recipe

Price Per Serving

$​6.00

Pizza Spaghetti

Pizza

​Image Source: ​Pexels.com

Description

If you do not want to choose between your favorite pizza and spaghetti, this best pasta recipes selection gives you the best of both worlds. It takes less than an hour to make in total and serves 6.


 Ingredients

  • ​1/2 lb turkey sausage
  • ​1/2 lb lean ground beef
  • ​3 oz sliced turkey pepperoni
  • ​9 oz whole wheat spaghetti
  • ​4 8-oz cans tomato sauce
  • ​3 tbsp grated parmesan
  • ​1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
  • ​2 tsp fresh parsley or 1/2 tsp dried
  • ​2 tsp fresh basil or 1/2 tsp dried
  • ​1 tbsp sugar

Directions

Cook your beef, sausage, and onion in a skillet over medium-high heat until cooked thoroughly. Next, add in your pepperoni, tomato sauce, herbs, and sugar. Allow the mixture to come to a boil before turning down the heat.

Let everything thicken and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes. Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling water according to the directions on the package. Drain and mix with your cooked sauce. Top with parmesan before serving.

 Link to Recipe

Price Per Serving

$​5.00

​Turkey Bolognese

bolognese

​Image Source: ​​Pixabay.com

Description

​This low fat turkey bolognese is good for your waistline and wallet. It serves 6 and only takes 30 to 40 minutes to make from start to finish.


 Ingredients

  • ​1 lb cooked turkey
  • ​1 lb spaghetti
  • ​1 chopped onion
  • ​4 minced garlic cloves
  • ​1 peeled, chopped carrot
  • ​1 chopped celery stalk
  • ​3 cups marinara sauce
  • ​1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ​1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

Directions

Pour olive oil in a pan and heat to medium before adding in the garlic and onion, sautéeing for 5 minutes. Add the vegetables and cook for 5 minutes before mixing in your turkey. Sauté for 1 minute before adding in the marinara.

Turn the heat down to medium low and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Add in the basil and sauce. In a separate pot, cook your pasta according to package instructions. Mix the cooked pasta with your sauce before serving.

 Link to Recipe

Price Per Serving

$​3.00

​Salmon Linguine

salmon linguine and wine

​Image Source: ​​​Unsplash.com

Description

​This best pasta recipes selection is pricier because of the salmon component, but it only takes 25 minutes to make in total. It is a healthy, satisfying meal option any time of year.


 Ingredients

  • ​8 oz linguine
  • ​1 lb flaked, cooked salmon
  • ​1 bunch cut broccoli florets
  • ​2 minced garlic cloves
  • ​2 tbsp butter
  • ​2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • ​1 cup shredded parmesan
  • ​2 tbsp lemon juice
  • ​1/4 tsp salt
  • ​1/4 tsp pepper
  • ​3 tbsp fresh basil or 1 tbsp dried
  • ​2 tbsp drained capers
  • ​2 tsp grated lemon peel

Directions

Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package. Add the broccoli to the boiling water during the last 5 minutes it is cooking.

In a large skillet, cook the butter on medium heat. Mix in the garlic and stir for 1 minute before adding in the lemon juice and cream. Boil the mixture before lowering the heat. Stir for 2 to 3 minutes while the mixture thickens.

Add in your cooked salmon, salt, and pepper and allow everything to heat together. Drain the pasta and broccoli and mix in. Before serving, stir in the lemon peel, capers, basil, and parmesan.

 Link to Recipe

Price Per Serving

$​6.00

Turkey Manicotti

Description

Turkey manicotti is a classic dish that every best pasta recipes connoisseur needs to learn how to make. It takes about 2 1/2 hours from start to finish, but the prep time is only 20 minutes so you can do something else while it cooks.


 Ingredients

  • ​3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • ​1 1/2 cups marinara
  • ​3 Eggs
  • ​3/4 cup water
  • ​1/2 tsp Salt
  • ​3 1/2  tsp Oliv oil
  • ​2 cup whole-milk ricotta
  • ​1 cup diced, cooked turkey
  • ​1 Egg
  • ​1/2 cup and 1/3 cup shredded Parmesan Reggiano, separated
  • ​1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
  • ​1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • ​1/4 tsp dried marjoram
  • ​1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • ​Salt

Directions

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Whisk the flour, 2 eggs, water, salt, and 1/2 tsp olive oil in a bowl. Cover the bowl and refrigerate the batter for 1 hour.

In another bowl, mix the ricotta, 1 egg, turkey, 1/2 cup Parmesan Reggiano cheese, mozzarella, red pepper flakes, marjoram, and Italian parsley. Add salt to taste.

Heat 1 tsp olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat and pour 1/4 cup of batter in the bottom of the pan until it forms a thin crepe. This should take about 60 to 90 seconds. Flip the crepe and let it brown on the other side. Repeat until you have 6 crepes.

Put 1/2 cup marinara in the bottom of a large baking dish and spread 1/2 tsp olive oil on the sides of the dish. Put a crepe onto the surface, fill with your cheese and turkey mixture, and roll it over the filling. Repeat until all 6 crepes are filled, rolled, and laid out on the dish.

Top with the rest of your marinara and 1/3 cup Parmesan Reggiano cheese before drizzling with the last of your olive oil. Bake in the oven until browned and puffy. This will take about 45 minutes. Sprinkle extra cheese on top before serving.

 Link to Recipe

Price Per Serving

$​​5.00

​Pasta, Pesto, and Peas

peas

​Image Source: Pixabay.com

Description

​Another Ina Garten best pasta recipes favorite, this selection serves 12 and takes just over half an hour to make.


 Ingredients

  • ​1 cup fusilli pasta
  • ​1 cup bow pasta
  • ​1/2 cup olive oil
  • ​1/12  cup pesto
  • ​1 package frozen spinach
  • ​3 tbsp lemon juice
  • ​1 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • ​1 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • ​1 1/2 defrosted peas
  • ​1 3/4 tsp pepper
  • ​1 3/4 tsp salt
  • ​1/4 cup walnuts
  • ​1/2 cup pine nuts
  • Minced Garlic
  • ​5 cups fresh basil

Directions

Cook your fusilli and bow pasta separately according to package directions. Drain, drizzle olive oil on top, and let the pasta cool when done. In a food processor, puree your lemon juice, spinach, pesto, and mayonnaise. Combine your pasta and add the mixture, stirring in pine nuts, peas, parmesan, salt, and pepper.

Now, add the walnuts and garlic to the food processor and puree with basil, salt, and pepper. Add in the rest of your olive oil to the mixture, along with any extra parmesan and blend for another minute. Combine everything together before serving.

 Link to Recipe

Price Per Serving

$​​4.00

​Mexican Pasta Bake

mexican pasta bake

​Image Source: Unsplash.com

Description

​This Latin twist on the best pasta recipes is easy to make and only requires 9 ingredients total.


 Ingredients

  • ​1 lb ground beef
  • ​8 oz package of cooked spiral pasta
  • ​1/4 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1 can ​Tomato Souce
  • ​1 package taco seasoning
  • ​1 tsp dried oregano
  • ​1 cup shredded Cheddar
  • ​1/2 cup sour cream

Directions

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cook your beef on medium heat in a large skillet until cooked all the way through. Add in the taco seasoning, pepper, tomato sauce, and spices. Once the mixture reaches a boil, take it off the heat.

In a bowl, combine your cooked pasta with the sour cream, and 1/2 cup cheese. Ladle into a greased baking dish. Top with the meat and the rest of your cheese. Bake the pasta dish uncovered for 30 minutes or until heated thoroughly.

 Link to Recipe

Price Per Serving

$​​3.00

Lo Mein

lo mein

​Image Source: Pixabay.com

Description

​If sweet and salty lo mein noodles excite your tastebuds, this next selection from the best pasta recipes is sure to please. It serves 4 and comes in at a healthy 344 calories per serving.


 Ingredients

  • ​1 8-oz package spaghetti
  • ​3 slice celery stalk
  • ​2 slice Carrots
  • ​1/2 sliced sweet onion
  • ​2 sliced green onions
  • ​2 tbsp teriyaki sauce
  • ​3 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • ​3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • ​2 tbsp honey
  • ​1/4 tsp ginger

Directions

Cook the pasta according to the package directions and drain. Mix your teriyaki sauce, soy sauce, ginger, and honey in a bowl.

In a large skillet or wok, heat the oil on high heat. Cook the green onion, sweet onion, celery and carrots until tender for about 5 to 7 minutes. Next, add in the sauce and pasta. Cook together and stir until everything is heated thoroughly.

 Link to Recipe

Price Per Serving

$​​​5.00

American Macaroni Salad

macaroni salad

​Image Source: Pixabay.c​​om

Description

​This best pasta recipes choice will have you thinking of summer, but you can enjoy it any time you feel like a cooling, delectable pasta salad. It serves 6 and only takes about 20 minutes to make.


 Ingredients

  • ​2 cups cooked macaroni
  • ​1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • ​1/3 cup chopped celery
  • ​1 tsp chopped parsley
  • ​1/2 cup diced tomatoes, if desired
  • ​1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • ​3/4 tsp mustard
  • ​1 1/2 sugar
  • ​1 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • ​3 tbsp sour cream
  • ​1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • ​Black pepper

Directions

Cook the pasta according to the package directions and drain. Mix your teriyaki sauce, soy sauce, ginger, and honey in a bowl.

In a large skillet or wok, heat the oil on high heat. Cook the green onion, sweet onion, celery and carrots until tender for about 5 to 7 minutes. Next, add in the sauce and pasta. Cook together and stir until everything is heated thoroughly.

In a large bowl, mix your cooked pasta, onion, celery, tomato, and parsley together. In a separate, small bowl, combine the mustard, mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, sour cream, and salt.

Mix the dressing and pasta together, and season with salt and pepper before serving.

 Link to Recipe

Price Per Serving

$​​​4.00

​Rigatoni Chard Toss

rigatoni pasta

​Image Source: Pexels.c​​om

Description

​This best pasta recipes choice features some much needed greens with Swiss chard and an extra dose of rich protein in the form of cannellini beans. It serves 10 and only takes about 45 minutes from start to finish.


 Ingredients

  • ​8 oz package rigatoni
  • ​1 bunch chopped Swiss chard
  • ​1 slice onion
  • ​2 minced garlic cloves
  • ​3 chopped tomatoes
  • ​1 15-oz can cannellini beans
  • ​2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • ​1/8 tsp crushed fennel
  • ​1/2 tsp salt
  • ​1/8 tsp pepper
  • ​1/4 cup fresh minced basil
  • ​1/2 cup permesan

Directions

Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package. In a large pan, heat the oil on medium-high, and sauté your onion and Swiss chard for about 4 minutes. Mix in the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.

Now, it is time to stir in the beans, tomatoes, fennel, pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Cook for another 3 to 4 minutes until the chard is cooked completely and tender.

Mix your pasta and basil into the pan and toss everything together. Sprinkle with parmesan before serving.

 Link to Recipe

Price Per Serving

$​​​2.00

BLT Pasta

BLT Pasta

​Image Source: Pexels.c​​om

Description

​Our final selection from the best pasta recipes combines the classic taste of a BLT sandwich with a pasta salad, making for a delicious fan favorite all around. It serves 4 and only takes about 40 minutes to make. If you make extra and refrigerate it, you will have enough to enjoy throughout the week.


 Ingredients

  • ​1/2 lb bacon, cut into 1-inch slices
  • ​2 cup spiral pasta
  • ​2/3 cup creme fraiche
  • ​1 tbsp shredded parmesan to sprinkle on top
  • ​2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
  • ​2 cups chopped baby arigula
  • ​2 minced garlic cloves
  • ​1 tsp ​Olive oil
  • ​2 tsp zest lemon
  • ​1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • ​salt and pepper

Directions

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat before adding your bacon. Cook the bacon until nearly crisp, which should take 5 to 8 minutes. Turn the heat off and use a paper towel to absorb the bacon grease. Leave only about 2 tsp bacon grease in the skillet.

Now, add in the lemon zest and garlic and allow to simmer with the bacon for 2 to 3 minutes. Mix in the creme fraiche.

Cook the pasta according to package directions, drain, and add to the mixture in your skillet. Make sure everything is combined thoroughly before turning the skillet back to medium heat. Mix in the tomatoes and cook until soft, for 1 minute.

Next, add in the arugula and let it wilt for 30 seconds. Turn the burner off, remove the skillet from the heat, and stir cayenne, salt, and paper in. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top before serving.

 Link to Recipe

Price Per Serving

$​​​6.00

The Verdict

If you are a beginner cook and do not want to spend too much money on ingredients, our favorite best pasta recipes pick is Mexican Pasta Bake. For our veteran cook readers, Cajun Chicken Pasta and the Pasta, Pesto, and Peas dish are some of our favorites.

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