Pasta is one of the best options for a tasty, hearty dinner that can be on the table in no time. Here, we run through the pasta dishes that every home cook should be able to pull together. If you need a quick refresher course on how to cook pasta perfectly, our back-to-basics tips will have you doin’ it al dente in no time.
Truly traditional Italian pasta dishes are rarely complicated — in fact, their simplicity is often what makes them so delicious. Cacio e pepe is one such dish, combining cheese and black pepper into a bowl of beauty.
It may not fit into the “quick and easy” category, but Ireland’s long love affair with lasagne means it should still be on your list. Whether it’s the classic recipe below, a veggie version or a seasonal twist, once you’ve mastered the method it’ll become your go-to dish for feeding a gang.
You knew it was coming! This family-friendly dinner is one of the most popular midweek meals in Ireland. If you’ve got the time, we HIGHLY recommend you try our ultimate slow-cooked version — you’ll never look back. For a quicker fix, our chorizo Bolognese is big on flavour; vegetarians or those looking to sneak more veg into the kids’ dinners will love our cauliflower Bolognese; and we’ve even got a tasty vegan option, here.
When we’ve got nothing in the house and the thoughts of going to the shops are enough to make us cry, this is the dinner we turn to time and again. For something that’s made out of practically nothing, you’d be surprised at the depth of flavour, and the crunchy crumbs add all the texture you need. If you can rustle up a chilled glass of white, you’ll be laughing.
Everyone needs a good pasta bake recipe in their arsenal. Not only are these cost-efficient ways to feed a group of people, they’re also infinitely appealing to kids, and can easily be customised according to your preferences. This chicken pesto pasta bake is suitable for even fussy eaters, while this cheesy, creamy version is ideal comfort food on a cold evening. Let’s not forget baked mac ‘n’ cheese, our all-time fave: this roasted garlic mac is the best we’ve made (yet).
Pull a Lady-and-the-Tramp and top your pasta with meatballs in a rich tomato sauce (this is our favourite basic recipe). Try this tasty twist using sausage meat, or stick to the classic beef-and-pork combination with pappardelle and some piquant Pecorino cheese.
The last pasta dish you learn for life should be something creamy, cheesy and comforting. Why do you need this? For those days you’ve missed your bus in the lashing rain, had your heart broken or been passed over for that promotion. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a spicy ‘nduja rigatoni, a quick creamy tomato fusilli or this gorgeous chicken, bacon and spinach fettuccine alfredo — you just need to have one in your repertoire that you can throw together quickly, even while crying softly. You can thank us later.
Which pasta dishes do you think are necessities? Are there any we’ve missed? Tag us in your creations of social media, we love seeing what you’re cooking!