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Food & Drink Lifestyle

The Best Pasta Dishes

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When it comes to cooking, there’s very few homes that wouldn’t have some of the best pasta dishes among their regular meal rotation. From beautiful Bolognese to cracking carbonara, pasta is a versatile food that can be turned into stunning dishes with surprisingly little effort.

So, we thought we’d take a look at the best pasta dishes and do a quick rundown on how to put them together. From family favourites, to light bites, there’s so many options. So, why not have a read and figure out which pasta dishes you want to pack into your weekly meal rotation.

Lasagna

Lasagna is a family favourite for a reason. It’s delicious, cheesy, and perfect if you want to cook in batches. The best part is you can pretty much go in any direction you like with it. Replace those meaty sauce layers with vegetarian or vegan alternatives if you have dietary requirements to meet.

To make lasagne you’ll need lasagne sheets, a cheese sauce or some ricotta, a ragu sauce that can either be a jar sauce or a Bolognese, and some grated cheese for the top. You can layer it however you like, but a simple way to go is to start with Bolognese. Pop the sheets on top and then layer on some cheese sauce. Make sure the top layer of pasta sheets are covered with sauce so you don’t get burnt pasta.

Bolognese

Bolognese is an Italian favourite that has stood the test of time for good reason. It can be a quick meal, or a tender and tasty marvel depending on what you need. With jarred sauces being a pretty great alternative you don’t need to simmer it for 4 hours to make an incredible meal. And if you want to pop a splash of wine in there to amp up the flavour, check out the selection Virgin Wines have on offer.

For a cracking Bolognese recipe that keeps it simple and can be recipe for the plate in a couple of hours, check out the BBC Good Food Bolognese recipe. It’s hard to get wrong, all you need is onions, carrots, celery, chopped tomatoes and beef mince to make yourself something tasty. But you can freestyle a little bit and improvise with the herbs, vegetables and spices. And of course, you can replace the beef with a meat alternative if you like.

Carbonara

Carbonara is a dish that takes a few simple ingredients and makes something delicious. With pasta, olive oil, pancetta or bacon, garlic, a few eggs, parmesan, salt and pepper, you’ve got everything you need. And it’s a deceptively simple dish to make that doesn’t take long at all. And while it’s not the traditional route, some even like to add a little cream to the dish.

Fry the bacon, cook the pasta and when it’s all done, mix the pasta, bacon and a little of the pasta water with a mixture of the parmesan and eggs off the heat. That way you get a creamy sauce, and not scrambled eggs. For a little more detail, check out the Simply Recipes carbonara recipe. And don’t forget to pick up all the ingredients you need over at Asda.

Pasta Aglio e Olio

This is really a dish that’s greater than the sum of its parts. With pasta, garlic, oil, chili flakes, parsley and parmesan being all you need to make a dish that really hits the spot. It’s light and perfect for Summer, but paired with some garlic bread or some other sides, you can absolutely make it your main.

Simply pop the pasta on to boil, and while it’s going, gently fry some garlic. You can then add some garlic flakes, and put the spaghetti and a little bit of pasta water in with the garlic off the heat. You can then add parsley and some parmesan and you’re ready to serve. The best part is, by omitting the parmesan and making sure your pasta doesn’t contain eggs, you’ve got a pretty great vegan dish.

Pasta Salad

For something a little healthier, you can’t go wrong with a refreshing and light pasta salad. You can freestyle with this one, go wild with the veggies and you can even add dressing or mayonnaise, and you’ll get a bowl of something tasty. Although bear in mind you’ll be adding a few extra calories when you do that.

It’s perfect for a light Summer lunch in the garden, and it’s something you can fill with seasonal vegetables. With cucumber, tomatoes, peppers, squash and beans being prime candidates. And you can find all your fresh vegetables over at Waitrose, where you can bet you’re getting quality.

Mac and Cheese

Mac and cheese is a simple dish that’s made up of two key ingredients. The pasta, and the cheese. You can mix in herbs, spices and even some bacon or chorizo if you’re feeling fancy. But the base of the recipe is super easy to get right. Whether you want to make yourself a cheese sauce, boil some pasta and bake it in the oven with breadcrumbs over the top, or you just want to chuck a heap of cheese in with some hot pasta, it’s delicious.

Parmesan cheese and some cheddar work wonders, but you can play around with it. Just make sure the cheese you go for is a good melter! As for the pasta, you don’t need to stick to macaroni for something tasty. Some spirali, penne or fusilli will work a treat too. It’s great as a side dish at a barbecue, or as the main if you want something hot and hearty.

Gnocchi

Gnocchi is a type of pasta that’s a little different. While most pasta is generally made from flour, water and some egg, gnocchi uses potato too. It goes together to form a fluffy pillow of delicious pasta goodness. And you can pretty much pair it with whatever you like. 

While it’s a deceptively simple bit of pasta to make, it can take a little time to make fresh. So, using store bought pasta is always an option. Pair it with tomato-based sauces, or some pesto and you’ll have a delicious treat. For a little inspiration on what to make with your gnocchi, check out the BBC Good Food gnocchi recommendations this season. Hello Fresh have some cracking gnocchi dishes in their rotation so it’s well worth a look.

Ravioli

Whether you buy it from the store, or you make it yourself, ravioli is a truly delightful thing. A little parcel that’s traditionally filled with meat, you can take that concept and run with it. Pack it with a vegetarian alternative, go down a cheesier route, or just change up the meats with some duck, chicken, or lamb. 

Spinach and ricotta, beef ragu, aubergine, pumpkin or even lobster are all prime candidates for the ravioli treatment. Stock up on some ingredients from Ocado and treat yourself to a pretty package of perfectly cooked meats, cheese and vegetables. Whichever direction you take it in, your tastebuds will thank you.

Treat Yourself to Some of the Best Pasta Dishes

So, whether you need some weeknight dinner inspiration that gets the job done, or you want a family feast that’s bound to come with delicious leftovers, you can get all of that with these pasta dishes. The best part is you can usually take a few creative liberties while you’re cooking.

While it may not be traditional to swap out the pancetta in a carbonara for some veggie bacon, it’s your kitchen! If you fancy making a lentil lasagna, have at it! It really is down to you how you cook your food. But by using these recipes as a basis, you can treat the family to something delicious this Summer.

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