Craving noodles? These Italian pasta recipes are full of flavor inspiration, from quick and simple to hearty bakes.
There’s nothing better than a comforting bowl of pasta or a showstopper pasta bake: and no one in the world does it better than the Italians! Need dinner inspiration? Check out these great Italian pasta recipes, sure to have you drooling as you scroll the photos (we are). The recipes range from classic Italian dishes like cacio e pepe and pasta alla Norma, Italian American classics like baked ziti, and dishes that take the style and falvors as inspiration. Here are some top recipes from this website and a few favorites from other recipe developers and authors.
And now: 20 great Italian pasta recipes!
This delicious vegetarian lasagna with ricotta is a meatless Italian pasta recipe that's hearty and crowd-pleasing. The tomato sauce has just the right zing and garlic nuance, and the spinach ricotta cheese filling is classic and creamy. It’s scented with fresh thyme and a little lemon zest, which takes it over the top.
One of the most classic of all Italian pasta recipes? Cacio e pepe! This Roman pasta dish translates to "cheese and pepper", with a simple sauce made of butter, Pecorino Romano cheese and pepper. It makes an irresistibly creamy warm pasta that bursts forth with flavor. Italian cuisine at its finest!
Here’s an Italian staple recipe that every home cook should know: Pasta Pomodoro! This classic Italian sauce is pure in its simplicity: simmering tomatoes and a few aromatic vegetables make a straightforward yet nuanced flavor. It takes a little time to simmer, but it’s well worth it for the ease of this recipe: and the bold flavor!
Here’s an Italian pasta recipe that’s simple, hearty and pleases a crowd: Stuffed Shells! Stuff pasta shells with ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan and spinach, then bake them up in a bath of garlicky tomato sauce. It makes your kitchen smell heavenly, and the first bite into one of those jumbo shells confirms it’s just as tasty as the smell.
Often associated with Naples, Italy, pasta puttanesca has a flavorful, rich sauce made from anchovies, capers, olives, and sometimes garlic, chili peppers, and red pepper flakes. It's generally served with spaghetti, but pasta puttanesca can work with any long pasta shape. It's full of zingy, zesty flavor!
Vodka sauce is a classic Italian pasta recipe: a tomato sauce that’s simmered with vodka, and often mixed with heavy cream and Parmesan cheese. The vodka adds an herbal, peppery undertone to the sauce.
Here’s a quick and simple Italian pasta recipe that’s the perfect shortcut for weeknights: Lemon Ricotta Pasta! Mixing ricotta cheese with olive oil, Parmesan and a little pasta water makes a makeshift white sauce that’s ideal for coating on long noodles. The zing of the lemon zest makes it absolutely irresistible not to keep slurping down noodles.
This eggplant pasta recipe has got it all! It’s packed with savory and zesty flavor: tender roasted eggplant, zesty marinara sauce, and peppery basil. It’s meatless but lacks nothing in the flavor department.
Gnocchi are pillowy dumplings that are a classic Italian pasta recipe: and you can buy them prepackaged at the store. Here’s a trick to making them quickly: Skillet Pesto Gnocchi! You don’t even need to boil the gnocchi. Cook them up in a skillet and they cook right in the sauce, helping to thicken it as they release starch. Stir in purchased pesto and you’ve got a bright and herbaceous sauce: in just 10 minutes total.
Need a great Italian pasta sauce? Try Arrabiata Sauce! This spicy, garlicky tomato sauce is an Italian favorite for good reason: the simple flavors make any pasta taste incredible. When it comes to tomato sauce, this is most often the one we reach for.
Homemade marinara sauce can be easy to make and adds the extra love that takes it from a cheater dinner to a real deal Italian meal! This pasta marinara is ultra flavorful, with a tangy sweetness from fire-roasted tomatoes, fresh basil and balsamic vinegar.
Pasta carbonara is one of the classic pastas of Rome. It's traditionally made with guanciale, a cured pork product that's common in Italy, but you can swap in bacon which is easier to find. via Giada de Laurentiis
Here’s a dish that will be a winner any day of the week: Baked Ziti! This Italian American pasta recipe is packed with savory flavor and cozy nostalgia. Its surface is filled with pockets of seasoned ricotta, lakes of garlicky tomato sauce, and punctuated by strands of gooey mozzarella.
Pasta Alla Norma
Pasta alla Norma is a classic Sicilian dish. Soft and silky eggplant is tossed with pasta in a bright tomato sauce and served in a snow fall of ricotta salata. via Giada de Laurentiis
Orecchiette is a small, cup-shaped type of pasta that originates from the Puglia region in Italy. The word means “small ears” in Italian, which refers to its shape. The center of the pasta is thinner than the edges, and that gives it a satisfying chewy texture when you take a bite. Here it's paired with cherry tomatoes and basil for a bright and tasty dish.
Ravioli alla Caprese
Homemade ravioli is Italian pasta at its finest! These ravioli are unique - the dough only requires flour and water, with no egg or semolina flour required. This creates a pasta dough that's airy and light and results in a soft, delicate dumpling. Want to make it with purchased ravioli? Head to the recipe and follow the sauce instructions. via Giada de Laurentiis
One of the best ways to make majestic burrata cheese into a meal? This Burrata Pasta, a beautiful example of Italian-style culinary simplicity. The majestic balls of fresh mozzarella sit atop a pasta twirls entwined with a rustic tomato basil sauce. Breaking into the cheese releases its creamy, rich interior into each bite.
Here’s an Italian American pasta that marries basic Italian flavors into a mess of garlicky, gooey goodness: Baked Rigatoni! It’s a pasta bake that’s got all the comfort of tomato sauce and cheese, but has intrigue and uniqueness in the flavors. The tomato sauce is full of garlic and a little fennel for meatiness, and it’s got lots of fresh peppery basil for a herbaceous kick.
Paccheri Pasta with Marsala Mushrooms
Paccheri pasta is a large tube pasta that is like a bigger version of rigatoni. You can substitute rigatoni, penne or any tube shaped pasta here! Here it's served with Marsala mushrooms, freshly grated parmesan cheese, arugula, and a sprinkling of pistachios, and works just as well for a casual weeknight as it does for a dinner party. via Giada de Laurentiis
Linguine With Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Olives
Here's a quick pasta you can make with all pantry ingredients! Whiz sun-dried tomatoes, green olives, garlic, basil, lemon and olive oil in a food processor until it's a chunky pesto-like consistency. After that, toss with cooked pasta and Parmesan cheese for a super flavorful and quick dinner that requires almost no cooking. via Giada de Laurentiis
Last but not least: pasta Bolognese! Bolognese sauce is an Italian meat sauce that originated from the city of Bologna, made with ground beef, onions, tomatoes and fresh herbs. It's a staple dinner recipe that will please anyone. For vegetarian eaters, substitute plant-based meat crumbles (or try with this Vegan Ground Beef). via Feel Good Foodie
Inspired by Italian-style meals? Here are a few more recipe collections you might enjoy:
- Go for 20 Great Italian Dinner Recipes
- Pair the meal with 15 Great Italian Side Dishes
- Try 15 Great Italian Appetizers
- Make this tasty Italian Pizza Dough Recipe
- Browse our 20 Easy Italian Recipes or 10 Italian Soup Recipes
20 Italian Pasta Recipes: Lasagna, Cacio e Pepe & More!
- Prep Time: 45 minutes
- Cook Time: 50 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
- Yield: 9 1x
This vegetarian lasagna recipe is a total crowd pleaser! The easy spinach and ricotta cheese filling is classic and creamy.
For the tomato sauce (or substitute 4 cups of your favorite marinara sauce)
- 4 large garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes, fire roasted if possible
- 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce, fire roasted if possible
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried tarragon (or oregano)
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch (or arrowroot starch)
For the lasagna
- 10 to 12 lasagna noodles (8 ounces, gluten-free as necessary)*
- 5 ounces baby spinach** (or 8 cups chopped spinach)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
- Zest of 1/2 lemon (about 2 teaspoons)
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 16 ounce (2 cups) ricotta cheese
- 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
- 3 cups (12 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Fresh ground black pepper
- Preheat: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Boil the noodles*: Bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil. Boil the noodles until just before al dente, according to the package instructions, stirring often. Drain the noodles, then drizzle a baking sheet with a bit of olive oil. Lay the noodles flat onto the sheet, then turn them over so they become coated with olive oil to prevent sticking.
- Prepare the tomato sauce (or skip with purchased marinara): Mince the garlic. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté, stirring frequently. Once the garlic is fragrant after about 1 or 2 minutes, turn down the heat and carefully add the tomatoes (avoid any momentary spitting), tomato sauce, basil, tarragon or oregano, kosher salt, and several grinds of black pepper. Remove ¼ cup of the sauce and stir it with the cornstarch, then add it back to the pan (this helps to thicken the sauce). Simmer on low heat while making the remainder of the recipe, at least 15 minutes. When ready to use, remove the pan from the heat.
- Wilt the spinach: In a large skillet, mound the greens and ¼ cup water in the skillet and cook, stirring often, until completely wilted and reduced, about 3 minutes (the greens significantly reduce when cooking; if necessary, sauté in batches.) Sprinkle with 2 pinches of kosher salt and stir, then remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Once cooled, use your hands to squeeze out all excess liquid and discard. Roughly chop the spinach.
- Prepare the cheese filling: Destem the thyme, then roughly chop the leaves. Add 1 ½ tablespoons thyme to a medium bowl and reserve about ½ tablespoon for topping the lasagna. To the bowl, add the lemon zest, nutmeg, ricotta cheese, ¾ cup Parmesan cheese, 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, kosher salt, and several grinds of black pepper. Stir to combine.
- Layer the lasagna: In a 9” x 13” baking dish, spread ½ cup tomato sauce on the bottom of the pan. Then top with 1 layer of noodles, half of the cheese mixture (in dollops then spread it out), half of the greens, and about 1 cup of the tomato sauce. Repeat again: 1 layer of noodles (you may need to cut a noodle in half for the side, depending on your pan), the remaining cheese mixture, the remaining greens, and 1 cup of the tomato sauce. Finally, top with noodles (again, you may need to cut a noodle in half for the top layer), then the remaining 1 ½ cups of the tomato sauce. Sprinkle the entire top with the remaining 1 cup mozzarella cheese, ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, and ½ tablespoon thyme.
- Bake the lasagna: Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and bake another 10 minutes, until bubbly and browned. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving (this allows the lasagna to set). Leftovers can be refrigerated for 2 to 3 days and reheated in a 375°F oven. (You can also freeze leftovers: it’s easiest to cut it into single servings and freeze each in separate containers. To reheat, defrost the vegetarian lasagna the refrigerator, then place in a baking dish, cover with foil and reheat at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes, until warmed through.)
*If you use fresh lasagna noodles, they don’t need to be boiled.
**You can also substitute ¾ cup frozen spinach. Defrost it and squeeze of excess liquid: you can skip the cooking step.
- Category: Main Dish
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: Italian
- Diet: Vegetarian
Keywords: Italian pasta recipes