35 Easy Pasta Recipes to Make from That Extra Box of Pasta in Your Pantry
When it comes to weeknight dinner, we like to pick recipes that fall into the categories of quick-fix, 30-minute, and sometimes just plain make-do. The way we see it, a grocery trip is not always in your future, and that’s okay—because a good Southern cook knows how to whip up a miracle. In your pantry, as we speak, there are endless easy dinner ideas. Take that extra box or two of pasta that’s been collecting dust in the back corner. With just a few extra ingredients, it can become your next weeknight hit. With that in mind, we rounded up 35 easy pasta recipes that will turn your leftover box of dried pasta into dinner du jour. We’re talking delicious new ideas like quick-fix fettucine alfredo casserole, skillet-toasted gnocchi, and cheesy sheet pan pasta. (Yes, you read that right.) Most of these dishes take less than 30 minutes to prepare, but we made sure to include a few slow-cooker recipes that’ll cater to the dump-it-and-forget-it crowd. Like we said, possibilities are endless. These simple pasta recipes are a total breeze.
Sweet Pepper Pasta with Sausage
Any sweet peppers will work in this dish, but we like colorful, tender baby bell peppers.
Quick and Easy Spaghetti Bolognese
With just 25 minutes, you can have this kid-friendly (and adult-friendly, for the record) dish on the table, and no one will know that you doctored up a quality jarred pasta sauce and old box of pasta.
Fettuccine Alfredo with Leeks and Peas
Crispy bacon immediately makes any pot of pasta so much better, and you can quote us on that.
One-Pan Pasta with Chicken Sausage, Mushrooms, and Collards
This hearty, one-dish dinner is actually a pretty healthy choice. (Go you!) Chicken sausage, mushrooms, and collard greens add major flavor.
Skillet-Toasted Gnocchi with Peas
Got frozen peas? You're set. Gnocchi tastes even better when the pillowy bites are toasted in a skillet for a little outer crisp.
Chicken Caprese Pasta
Recipe: Chicken Caprese Pasta
Between the blistered tomatoes, fresh pesto sauce, and torn chunks of mozzerella, you won't be able to resist making this recipe tonight. It only takes—wait for it—20 minutes.
Pasta Primavera with Shrimp
Recipe: Pasta Primavera with Shrimp
You can swap in whatever pasta you have on hand when making this 30-minute pasta recipe. It's loaded with healthy vegetables, fresh shrimp, and a light sauce.
Cheesy Sheet Pan Pasta
If your favorite part of a lasagna or baked ziti is the golden crunchy edges, you’ll love this sheet pan pasta.
Roasted Tomato, Salami, and Mozzarella Pasta
It's like an antipasto salad—but way better. Use leftover greens to bulk up this pasta dish.
Creamy Chicken Alfredo Casserole
Recipe: Creamy Chicken Alfredo Casserole
Take this easiest-ever route—we won't tell. Rotisserie chicken, store-bought sauces, and pre-shredded cheese make this chicken casserole almost too good to be true.
Winter Vegetables and Gnocchi
Recipe: Winter Vegetables and Gnocchi
Customize this recipe with your favorite in-season veggies. You can keep gnocchi in your freezer, which means you should stock up immediately. You know, in case of suppertime emergencies.
Braised Chicken Thighs with Slow-Cooked Marinara
Let your slow cooker braise those chicken thighs and marinara sauce, lady. You'll thank us later.
Shrimp Boil Pasta
Recipe: Shrimp Boil Pasta
We combined two summertime staples—pasta salad and shrimp boil—in this incredibly simple recipe.
Spaghetti with Marinated Tomatoes and Mozzarella
Cabbage, Mushroom, and Bacon Pasta
This quick and easy wilted cabbage dish comes together in under 30 minutes, all on the stovetop. Oh, and bacon.
Pasta with Shrimp and Tomato Cream Sauce
You're just 25 minutes away from dinnertime bliss. We recommend using fresh shrimp, not frozen, for the best flavor.
Fettuccine Alfredo with Asparagus
Asparagus brings a crisp crunch to this fettuccine recipe, and plenty of lemon balances out the creamy sauce.
Baked Shells and Greens
Recipe: Baked Shells and Greens
There's an undercover healthy twist to this simple pasta. It takes a total of 30 minutes to get on the table, and that includes the time it takes to bake the dish in the oven.
Recipe: Mushroom Stroganoff
This creamy mushroom-studded sauce is calling your name. Are you going to answer? Serve over wide egg noodles.
Cast-Iron Pork Cacciatore
Recipe: Cast-Iron Pork Cacciatore
How can something that looks so fancy take only half an hour? Hey, we're not going to question it. This pork dish is a breeze.
Gnocchi Gratin with Ham and Peas
Recipe: Gnocchi Gratin with Ham and Peas
This gnocchi spin on a traditional gratin is oh-so easy to make. It's the best use of frozen peas we've ever tasted.
Pasta with Burst Tomatoes and Mascarpone
Your broiler will blister and burst those tomatoes to tasty submission. From there, fresh herbs and rich mascarpone cheese will lead you home.
Recipe: Tomato Carbonara
Cherry tomatoes add welcome pops of color to this carbonara recipe, which takes only a handful of ingredients to get going. Pair with, well, whatever pasta you have in the pantry. It'll still shine.
Cajun Chicken Pasta
Recipe: Cajun Chicken Pasta
For this dish, the secret lies in the seasoning—heavily seasoned Cajun chicken, that is.
Slow-Cooker Chicken Cacciatore with Spaghetti
Spend 20 minutes in the kitchen prepping this gorgeous, hearty sauce—and then let it all come together in the slow cooker while you're at work. Done and done.
Pizza Spaghetti Casserole
Recipe: Pizza Spaghetti Casserole
It's amazing what you can do with a jar of pasta sauce and packet of pepperoni. This casserole combines two family favorites.
Spaghetti with Pecan Pesto and Garlicky Breadcrumbs
If you don't have time to make our scrumptious pecan pesto, storebought will do. But, believe us, you don't want to skip the garlicky breadcrumbs.
Penne with Mushrooms, Corn, and Thyme
Use up your fresh summer corn in the tastiest way. This pasta recipe packs a flavorful punch, with only a few ingredients.
Tuscan Pasta with Tomato-Basil Cream
Refrigerated ravioli and jarred alfredo sauce gets dressed up for dinner by being heated with white wine, chopped fresh tomatoes, and fresh basil.
Penne with Green Beans and Tomatoes
We guarantee everyone will love this five-ingredient pasta salad. Fresh dill is the secret flavor that ties it all together.
Recipe: Pasta-Chicken-Broccoli Bake
Say hello to your new weeknight warrior, and a pretty one at that. This colorful casserole calls for cheese-filled tortellini, fresh broccoli, and chicken (which, yes, can be leftover shredded rotisserie chicken).
Shrimp and Peas with Farfalle
Recipe: Shrimp and Peas with Farfalle
You'll swoon over the lemony breadcrumbs that top this dish. If you’re looking to save even more time, skip the fresh English peas and opt for frozen peas that have been thawed instead.
Recipe: Crab-and-Bacon Linguine
Embrace the coastal state of mind with this tasty linguine dish. It feels special, but doesn't require much more than what you can already find in your pantry or fridge.
Crispy Chicken Thighs with Pasta and Pesto
Never thought so crispy a chicken thigh could come from a simple one-pot recipe? Prepare to be blown away. We won't tell if you use storebought pesto.
Late-Night Pasta Chez Frank
Recipe: Late-Night Pasta Chez Frank
This signature late-night "snack" from Chef Frank Stitt of Highlands Bar and Grill in Birmingham, Alabama shows that simple is sometimes (way) better. Like "7 ingredients and 25 minutes" simple.