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40 Pasta Recipes Everyone Should Know How to Make

Craving a delicious dinner? These basic pasta dishes include everything from spaghetti and meatballs to minestrone soup.

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My Best Spaghetti & Meatballs

One of my favorite childhood memories is going to the Old Spaghetti Factory with my family and ordering a big plate of cheesy spaghetti, meatballs and garlic bread. My homemade recipe reminds me of those fun times and satisfies everyone’s craving for good Italian food. —Erika Monroe-Williams, Scottsdale, Arizona

(Here’s a guide to how much pasta you need per person.)

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Best Ever Mac & Cheese

To make this amazing mac, I make a sauce loaded with three different cheeses to toss with the noodles. When baked, it's gooey goodness with a crunchy topping that...don't get me started! —Beth Jacobson, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Cheese Manicotti

Cheese manicotti was the first meal I cooked for my husband, and all these years later, he still enjoys it! —Joan Hallford, North Richland Hills, Texas
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Chicken & Egg Noodle Casserole

A friend and her family went through a really difficult time, and I felt so awful for them. Bringing over this chicken noodle casserole was the one thing I could think of to help them out in a tiny way and let them know I was thinking of them. —Lin Krankel, Oxford, Michigan
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Baked Spaghetti

Every time that I make this cheesy baked spaghetti, I get requests for the recipe. It puts a different spin on pasta and is great for any meal. The leftovers, if there are any, also freeze well for a quick dinner later in the week. —Ruth Koberna, Brecksville, Ohio
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Homemade Ravioli

I love to bake and cook, especially Italian dishes like this homemade ravioli recipe. In fact, my idea of a perfect day consists of cooking my family's favorite foods then watching them dig in!—Lori Daniels, Hartland, Michigan
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Cold-Day Chicken Noodle Soup

When I was sick, my mom would make me this heartwarming chicken noodle soup. It was soothing when I had a cold, but this soup is a bowlful of comfort on any chilly day. —Anthony Graham, Ottawa, lllinois
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The Best Ever Lasagna

My brother, Joe, created this lasagna based on our mom’s recipe. It’s a family favorite at Christmas, thanks to the special ingredients that make it magnifico. —Stephanie Marchese, Taste of Home Visual Production Director
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Creamy Pasta Primavera

When I think of springtime, asparagus comes to mind. This pasta dish is a wonderful blend of tender, crisp, colorful vegetables and a creamy Parmesan cheese sauce. —Darlene Brenden, Salem, Oregon
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Ricotta Gnocchi with Spinach & Gorgonzola

When my family comes for a visit, they always ask me to make this unique dish for dinner. Homemade cheesy gnocchi is topped with a rich sauce made with butternut squash, spinach and Gorgonzola.— Brud Holland, Watkins Glen, New York
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Easy Stuffed Shells

I threw this recipe together one day when we had unexpected guests. It was an immediate hit and is now a family favorite. Get the kids involved when putting together this simple, savory dish. —Dolores Betchner, Cudahy, Wisconsin
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Mom's Chicken Tetrazzini

Rotisserie chicken turns this baked spaghetti into a warm, cozy meal our family craves. If we have leftover turkey, we use that, too. —Jennifer Petrino, Newnan, Georgia
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Israeli Couscous & Chicken Sausage Skillet

Our comfort food is a big plate of sausage with couscous. Add some onion, celery, a little heat and a sprinkle of feta. —Angela Spengler, Tampa, Florida
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Mostaccioli

Even though we're not Italian, this rich, cheesy pasta dish is a "family tradition" for holidays and special occasions. I was delighted the first time I tried this mostaccioli recipe—it has all the flavor of lasagna without the work of layering the ingredients. Try it…I'm sure it'll become one of your family's favorites, too! —Nancy Mundhenke, Kinsley, Kansas
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Sausage, Artichoke & Sun-Dried Tomato Ragu

This thick and hearty spaghetti sauce is simple to make and, like all good spaghetti sauces, tastes even better the next day. If you prefer celery or bell pepper in your sauce, go ahead and throw them in. —Aysha Schurman, Ammon, Idaho
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Pesto Pasta & Potatoes

Although this healthy pasta dish is pretty simple to begin with, it's made even easier because you can throw the green beans and pasta into one big pot to cook. —Laura Flowers, Moscow, Idaho
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Blushing Penne Pasta

I reworked this recipe from an original that called for vodka and heavy whipping cream. My friends and family had a hard time believing a sauce this rich, flavorful and creamy could be light. —Margaret Wilson, Hemet, California
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Italian Sausage Rigatoni Bake

This casserole combines all of our favorite Italian flavors, but the fresh mozzarella really sets it apart! —Blair Lonergan, Rochelle, Virginia
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Shrimp Pomodoro

My husband and I have hectic schedules, so I’m always looking for fast meals that have special-occasion appeal. Shrimp with garlic, tomatoes and pasta is a winner. —Catherine Jensen, Blytheville, Arkansas
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Beef Bolognese with Linguine

After much research, tasting and tweaking, I finally came up with this beef bolognese recipe, based on a dish from an Italian restaurant where I worked. It’s perfect for feeding a house full of guests. —Christine Wendland, Browns Mills, New Jersey
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Authentic Pasta Carbonara

I learned on my culinary internship in Tuscany that real Italian cuisine is simpler than you think! This carbonara is quick, simple and delicious, just the way they like it in Italy. —Lauren Brien-Wooster, South Lake Tahoe, California
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Light & Lemony Scampi

A touch more lemon helped me trim the calories in our favorite shrimp scampi recipe. For those who want to indulge, pass around the Parmesan. —Ann Sheehy, Lawrence, Massachusetts
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Creamy Chicken Gnocchi Soup

I tasted a similar soup at Olive Garden and wanted to see if I could re-create it myself at home. Here's the delicious result! It's wonderful on a cool evening. —Jaclynn Robinson, Shingletown, California
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Tortellini with Tomato Spinach Cream Sauce

I enjoy all things pasta, and tortellini is my favorite. The flavor of this dish is amazing. Even my husband, who hates pasta of any kind, loves it! It's a great recipe for non-spinach fans to try, too. —Jenny Dubinsky, Inwood, West Virginia
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Traditional Italian Wedding Soup

You don’t have to be Italian to love this easy-to-make soup with tiny round pasta! Add homemade meatballs but use ready-made stock and rotisserie chicken.—Mary Sheetz, Carmel, Indiana
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Delish Pesto Pasta with Chicken Marsala

My easy, go-to chicken and pasta recipe is ready and on the table in about a half an hour. It's a fabulous option for those busy weeknights. — Lorraine Stevenski, Land O' Lakes, Florida
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Shrimp Marinara

Flavorful marinara sauce simmers for just a few hours. Right before mealtime, toss in the shrimp to cook quickly. Serve over hot spaghetti for a delicious weeknight dish that feels dressed up. —Sue Mackey, Jackson, Wisconsin
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Five-Cheese Ziti al Forno

After having the five-cheese ziti at Olive Garden, I tried to make my own version of it—and I think I got pretty close. I always double this when I'm making it and freeze the second one for another meal. —Keri Whitney, Castro Valley, California
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Hearty Chicken Spaghetti Casserole

This creamy, cheesy casserole is so hearty and homey that second helpings are a must! —Lynne German, Woodland Hills, California
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Double Jack Mac

This spicy mac and cheese recipe came about when I asked my two sisters what they would like to add to mac and cheese to make it special. One said pepper jack cheese and the other said black beans. I liked both of the ideas and this is the result. The black beans add color and nutrition. The pepper jack cheese adds zip and fun. —Andrea Johnson, Freeport, Illinois
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Slow-Cooker Minestrone

There's nothing quite like the comfort of warm homemade soup, and it's even better when your slow cooker does most of the work for you! This slow-cooker minestrone is easy to put together but has all the flavor of a high-effort dish. —Erin Raatjes, New Lenox, Illinois
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Broccoli Shrimp Alfredo

After tasting fettuccine Alfredo at a restaurant, I came up with this shrimp Alfredo with broccoli version at home. Not only does my family love the creamy dish, but my husband prefers it to the one at the restaurant. —Rae Natoli, Kingston, New York
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Hay and Straw

This recipe is not only quick and easy to prepare, it's pretty, too. This colorful pasta dish combines julienned ham, Parmesan cheese, peas and linguine.—Priscilla Weaver, Hagerstown, Maryland
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Shrimp Pasta Salad

I adore shrimp, so discovering it in this pasta salad recipe was a real treat for me. The lemon-dill sauce is light and bright. It's one of our favorite cold pasta salad recipes! —Traci Wynne, Denver, Pennsylvania
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Pasta Fagioli Soup

My husband enjoys my version of this dish so much that he doesn’t order it at restaurants anymore. With fresh spinach, pasta and seasoned sausage, this fast-to-fix soup is a meal on its own. —Brenda Thomas, Springfield, Missouri
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Spinach-Beef Spaghetti Pie

With its angel hair pasta crust, this cheesy ground beef, tomato and spinach pie is always a hit when I serve it. Each neat slice has layers of pasta, cream cheese filling and spinach topping. —Carol Hicks Pensacola, Florida
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Shrimp Puttanesca

I throw together these bold ingredients for a feisty seafood pasta. —Lynda Balslev, Sausalito, California
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Orzo with Feta and Arugula

In my family, we love salads because they’re an interesting way to blend many different flavors. This orzo salad is one of our favorites—it tastes delicious served either warm or cool. —Laura Adamsky, Decatur, Alabama
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Spicy Goulash

Ground cumin, chili powder and a can of Mexican diced tomatoes jazz up my goulash recipe. Even the elbow macaroni is prepared in the slow cooker. —Melissa Polk, West Lafayette, Indiana
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Cashew-Chicken Rotini Salad

I’ve tried many chicken salad recipes over the years, but this is my very favorite. It’s fresh, fruity and refreshing, and the cashews add wonderful crunch. Every time I serve it at a potluck or picnic, I get rave reviews—and ( always come home with an empty bowl! —Kara Cook, Elk Ridge, Utah

Grace Mannon
Grace is a full-time mom with a Master's degree in Food Science. She loves to experiment in the kitchen and writes about her hits (and misses) on her blog, A Southern Grace.

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