Pasta, Pasta, Pasta
Pasta might just be my favorite thing to eat, and these are my favorite recipes for the Italian staple. - Giada De Laurentiis
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This pasta is really easy, and uses a few big-flavor ingredients to really pack a punch. I love to use the oil from sun-dried tomatoes to saute the onions and garlic in, because it just gives it that much more depth and sweetness from the tomatoes. This is great the next day too, eaten almost as a pasta salad.
This recipe runs deep in my family, and has a really cool story to go along with it. My Nonno Dino produced the movie Le notti di Cabiria, directed by Federico Fellini, which won the Oscar for best foreign film in 1957. On set, the crew invented this very pasta – and they dubbed it “Spaghetti Alla Cabiria”. Nonno Dino made this pasta sauce all the time, and the crew made it to celebrate all of the awards. I’m continuing the tradition and making it to celebrate Oscars night!
Baked ziti with meatballs, in my family, is a classic Sunday supper or celebration dish. Just putting this dish together evokes so many family memories of rolling up tiny meatballs together (it’s always easier with more hands!) and the aroma of it baking takes me right back to being a kid again.
Pasta alla Formiana, from the town of Formia in the coastal Lazio region of Italy (halfway between Naples and Rome), is a dish my aunt Raffy and I had once. The recipe is a surprise – because it doesn’t require that the pasta be boiled before baking. Yup, that’s right, it goes into the oven raw! I know it sounds crazy, but it works.
Sun-dried tomatoes are chewy, sweet, with an intense concentrated tomato flavor… and they’ve got a beautiful deep red color, too. They’re a powerhouse ingredient because you really don’t need many of them to give a dish tons of flavor. This is also a dish that’s great served warm, or cold the next day. And the best part? It’s so easy, and the only thing you need to really cook are the noodles themselves.
“Bechamel” is a milk-based sauce that’s thickened with a roux of flour and butter – it’s a classic French sauce (considered one of the “mother” sauces) but it’s used often in many other cuisines, including Italian. This was the dish we had on cold, rainy days for dinner – it’s the ultimate comfort food.
Classic alfredo just got a summer makeover! This lemon and pea alfredo is super cheesy and decadent, but it gets some added brightness and sweetness from the lemon and peas for a more balanced flavor. It couldn't be easier, and it takes under 30 minutes to whip up! It's super kid-friendly and a perfect weeknight dinner.
Spaghetti with clams is the ultimate classic Italian seafood pasta. Perfect for a summer dinner! It's super easy and relatively fast, too! Coming together in under an hour, it's totally doable for a weeknight even though it feels fancy. The clams only take about 6-8 minutes to steam before they're ready. Lemon and parsley are the perfect finishing touch for a little brightness.
Gnudi are delectable dumplings with a funny name – they’re essentially “naked” cheese ravioli. The texture is similar to an extra-pillowy gnocchi, and it’s wonderful served up with a classic pomodoro. It’s a regional Tuscan specialty that I just love – it’s a great vegetarian dish to serve up for something different. I recommend a dryer ricotta cheese, such as Galbani, to ensure the gnudi hold together well. If using a wetter ricotta, drain out some of the liquid first!
Authentic homemade Linguine Alla Puttanesca has never been easier than this recipe with these spice packets straight from the south of Italy in Calabria. It's a delicious classic Italian pasta dish that any Italian food lover should know how to make. And with these spice packets from the Giadzy Pantry, you have everything you need!
If you love a classic bolognese but don't have hours to spare, this version is much quicker and easier. You can even whip it up on weeknights! My simple bolognese is a staple in the house, and it’s one of Jade’s all-time favorite dishes. While it’s absolutely delicious with pasta, I often like to make a double batch of the sauce and use it throughout the week to make easy dinners.
This unique summer pasta salad uses an old Italian trick to bump up the flavor. In Italy, it’s common to eat prosciutto and melon in the summertime – especially in the coastal cities. The salty, savory quality of prosciutto pairs amazingly well with the juicy sweetness of cantaloupe! In this recipe, it goes a step further with grilled cantaloupe – which brings out a rich, caramelized flavor – and crisping up the prosciutto for a great crunchy texture.
Ravioli alla Caprese are one of the quintessential dishes in Capri! Pillowy, ricotta-filled ravioli with a homemade tomato sauce and fresh basil – what could be better? 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 not as rustic and chewy as some doughs can be. In the end, it results in a soft, delicate dumpling – it’s absolutely divine.
Summer lends itself to easy dishes like this: a simple pasta dish loaded up with seasonal vegetables. Because this recipe is so simple, it can be easily adapted. Do more or less of certain vegetables – replace some of the asparagus with peas, or throw in some greens. Add pepper flakes or Calabrian chili paste for a kick, or brighten it up with a touch of lemon. Essentially, this recipe is a great blueprint for easy spring suppers.
This golden pomodoro sauce, a simple tomato sauce made with bright yellow tomatoes, is a mildly sweet and velvety pasta sauce that's perfect for summer. In Italy, little yellow tomatoes are prized for their unique, clean and bright flavor… and for that color, too! After trying Corbara’s yellow tomatoes that we now sell on Giadzy, which are grown on the slopes in southern Italy and soak up the sunshine, we just had to make a dedicated recipe with them.
There are many different forms of pesto and different ways to prepare it. This one, however, is Giada's version of the classic basil pesto, or pesto alla Genovese! The most basic, most traditional pesto is this basil-based one that was invented in Genoa, in northern Italy; it’s bright green and wonderfully aromatic. Be sure to add your oil slowly, so that the sauce fully emulsifies – that is, all the ingredients bind together, creating a thick, uniform consistency.
I love pasta alla vodka because it’s incredibly easy to throw together, but it always feels a bit special. The vodka brings out some really incredible flavor in the tomato sauce, and makes it taste extra vibrant – all while the cream gives it a velvety, luxurious texture. It's a great pasta for everyday dinner, but it's also totally occasion-worthy and always impresses dinner guests.
If we had to pick a favorite out of Giada's classic Italian pasta dishes, it might be this one! Lemon spaghetti is just so perfect: simple, elegant, and packed with bright lemony flavor. It's one of the easiest pasta dishes you'll ever make, and it's sure to become a staple in your household, too!
This is a great easy weeknight pasta that I consider a “pantry pasta” – you can use virtually any greens you have on hand, whether it be arugula, baby kale, or the called-for spinach. It’s the kind of dish I almost always have everything on hand to throw together. In Italian cooking, anchovies are extremely common. They don’t add so much of a “fishy” taste as much as a salty, umami punch of flavor.