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Pasta recipes

 pasta recipes

Quick, easy and delicious, pasta recipes are a staple in most homes. Families usually have their own secret twist on the classics like spaghetti Bolognese, lasagne or carbonara, but there are endless variations to suit those on healthier diets, looking for vegetarian options or those with food allergies. We've pulled together the best pasta recipes gransnetters have shared on the forums, remembering their top tip: Almost anything can be saved with a little Parmesan cheese... 


Carbs and pasta | Pasta sauces | Italian-style    

 Healthy | Fish and seafood | Creamy and indulgent   


What you need to know about carbs and pasta 

Carbs supply the body with glucose, which we need for energy, so it is important to include them in your diet. As carbs are found in many types of food it can sometimes be tricky to work out which are beneficial for you and which to avoid. The important bit to note is that there are different types of carbs and it's the good ones (complex carbohydrates) that we need to include in our diet. That is not to say that we can never have any bad carbs (simple carbohydrates), but that we really need to limit the amount we eat. 

When it comes to pasta, what we need to avoid is the refined, white stuff. Having been processed, it contains less fibres and vitamins than its whole grain alternative. Whereas the refined pasta will provide short bursts of energy and quickly fade, the whole grain pasta will keep you feeling fuller for longer. 


Pasta sauce recipes

We think you'll agree that with pasta all you really need is a good tomato sauce. As long as it has garlic, salt, pepper and some fresh herbs, it'll taste lovely. If properly stored, these types of sauces will keep for a very long time, so that you can enjoy the taste of fresh tomato all year round.   


Easy tomato pasta sauce

Prep time: 5 minutes         Cook time: 60 minutes         Serves: 6-10

tomato pasta sauce


  • 1 kg tomatoes (halved)
  • 2 medium onions (chopped roughly)
  • 2 garlic cloves (skinned and sliced)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • A little wine or water


  1. Put tomatoes cut side up on a baking tray. Spread onions and garlic on top and season well. Drizzle with olive oil and cook in a medium or hot oven for 40 to 60 minutes (depending on what else you have in the oven at the same time).
  2. It does not matter if some of it gets a bit brown, that just deepens the flavour.
  3. Cool slightly and turn into a blender. Loosen the stuck bits with wine or water and add to the blender and whizz until smooth. Adjust seasoning to taste, and if it looks peely-wally, add a little tomato purée.


Anchovy and tomato pasta sauce

Prep time: 5 minutes         Cook time: 35 minutes         Serves: 2-3 

pasta sauce 


  • 1 clove garlic, minced 
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Small jar anchovy fillets
  • 16-ounce of chopped Italian cherry or plum tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley


  1. Brown the garlic in the oil over a low heat. Add the anchovies and stir till they melt into the oil.
  2. Add the tomatoes and bring the sauce to a boil. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 to 25 minutes.
  3. Add parsley and season to taste. 

Italian pasta recipes

Is there anything more comforting than a homemade bowl of spaghetti bolognese on a cold evening? Classic Italian pasta dishes made with traditional flavours and ingredients and full of love - just like Nonna made them. 


Spaghetti with meatballs

Prep time: 10 minutes         Cook time: 30 minutes         Serves: 4

pasta meatballs


  • 300g minced beef
  • ½ small onion (chopped)
  • 1 spoonful of chopped chives
  • 1 clove garlic (chopped)
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • ½ beaten egg
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 dash of pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

For the sauce:

  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 small onion (diced)
  • 1 clove garlic (chopped)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • Salt and pepper
  • A few shavings of parmesan cheese
  • 1 packet fresh pasta


  1. Place the meatball ingredients in a food processor and pulsate until it forms into a meat mixture.
  2. Divide the mixture into 20 equal portions. Roll into meatballs.
  3. To make the sauce, heat the olive oil in a pan and sweat garlic and onion without browning. Add in chopped tomatoes and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15 minutes, then season with salt and pepper. Thicken with the cornflour mixed with 1 tablespoon water.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan. Fry the meatballs until they are slightly brown on the outside. Pour in the tomato sauce and simmer for 20 minutes till the meatballs are cooked.
  5. Cook the pasta according to packet instructions and drain.
  6. Place the pasta on a warm plate. Spoon the meatballs and the sauce on top of the spaghetti.
  7. Garnish with shavings of Parmesan and fresh basil (optional).

Perhaps your ideal meaty Italian pasta recipe is the traditional spaghetti Bolognese? Every family has their own handed-down version - but if you don't, this recipe is a keeper!


Tagliatelle with Parma ham, mushrooms and sage

Prep time: 6 minutes         Cook time: 8 minutes         Serves: 4 

tagliatelle with parma ham


  • 1 pack parma ham
  • 125g button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 4 tbsp natural yoghurt
  • 1 tsp grainy mustard
  • 1/2 tsp dried sage, or few fresh leaves
  • 2 packs fresh tagliatelle
  • 4-5 tbsp Parmesan cheese (freshly grated)


  1. Cut the Parma ham into strips and fry in the oil with the sliced mushrooms and sage for 3 mins.
  2. Add the yoghurt and mustard. Season to taste.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the fresh pasta in boiling water for 3-4 mins, drain and stir in the sauce.
  4. Serve sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.


Vegetarian lasagne

Prep time: 30 minutes         Cook time: 90 minutes         Serves: 4-6

veg lasagne


  • 4 medium red onions (sliced into wedges)
  • 3 each small red and yellow peppers, deseeded and chopped
  • 4 medium courgettes, chopped
  • 4 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 450 cherry tomatoes
  • 2 x 400g cans artichokes drained
  • 6 level tbsp tomato 
  • 75g pitted black olives
  • 75g  pitted,  green olives
  • 3 x 125g packs mozzarella cheese coarsely grated
  • 14 – 16 sheets no pre cooking required lasagne

For the sauce:

  • 1.7l (3 pints) milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • pinch ground nutmeg
  • 6 peppercorns crushed
  • 100g plain flour
  • 100g butter
  • 75g pecorino cheese grated
  • 3 level tbsp chopped fresh basil


  1. Preheat oven to 220C (fan 200)
  2. Divide the onions, peppers and courgettes between two large roasting tins, sprinkle over the chopped garlic, drizzle each with olive oil, season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper and toss together. Cook for 30 min on 2 shelves stirring from time to time.
  3. Meanwhile make the sauce by putting the milk in a pan with the bay leaf, nutmeg and peppercorns. Bring to the boil and turn off the heat, leave to infuse for 15 min, then strain. Melt the butter in a separate pan, stir in the flour until smooth and cook for 1 min. Gradually add the strained milk, whisking until smooth. Bring to the boil, stirring and cook for 2 minutes until thickened. Stir in the pecorino cheese and chopped basil and season to taste. Cover with a wet disc of greaseproof paper and set aside.
  4. Remove roasting tins from oven, then toss the cherry tomatoes and artichokes through the vegetables. Switch the position of the tins in the oven and cook for a further 20 min until the vegetables are slightly charred at the edges. Remove from the oven and stir in 3 tbsp of the tomato purée and half the olives. Reduce the oven temperature to 200C (180 fan).
  5. Layer the vegetables, mozzarella, lasagne and sauce into two 2.6 litre deep ovenproof dishes, finishing with the sauce and mozzarella.
  6. Bake for 35–40 min or until bubbling and golden at the edges.

If you're a fan of the vegetarian options, why not try this delicious spinach and ricotta cannelloni?


Healthy pasta recipes

As long as it is eaten in moderation, pasta need not be an unhealthy affair. In fact, there are many pasta dishes that are both diet-friendly and easy to make.  

Lemon and basil pasta

Prep time: 5 minutes         Cook time: 15 minutes         Serves: 4

lemon basil pasta


  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
  • 1 chilli (deseeded and finely chopped)
  • Grated rind of two lemons
  • 400g tagliatelle or other pasta
  • 200g fresh or frozen peas
  • 20g pack basil 
  • A few tsp light pesto (optional)


  1. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a frying pan and cook the garlic and chilli for 2-3 minutes, until very lightly golden.
  2. Stir in the lemon rind.
  3. Cook the pasta according to pack instructions, adding the peas for the final two minutes of cooking time.
  4. Drain, then tip everything back into the pan. Tip in the garlic, chilli and lemon rind mixture, scraping in any bits stuck to the pan. Tear in the basil, season and add the remaining olive oil. Stir well.
  5. If using, serve with pesto. 

A slightly more subtle, but equally tasty alternative is the delicious spaghetti with tomato and fennel. Fennel, which is an antioxidant and a good source of vitamin C, has a fresh and individual taste that goes perfectly with the sweet tomato.  


Chicken and sweetcorn pasta

Prep time: 10 minutes         Cook time: 60 minutes         Serves: 2-4

chicken sweetcorn pasta


  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 chicken breast (cubed) per person OR whole chicken carcass + 1 litre chicken stock 
  • 500g penne pasta
  • 2 tins of sweetcorn
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 1 small onion, sliced


  1. Fry the onion and red pepper for a few minutes. 
  2. Gently fry the chicken cubes in a little oil until they are golden brown, then add chicken stock to cover and simmer, OR place the chicken carcass and the litre of chicken stock in a pot and simmer on hob for 1 hour. When cool, pick off chicken scraps.
  3. Cook pasta according to instructions - add the stock liquid if you like for taste.
  4. Combine and add sweetcorn. 
  5. Season to taste. 


Avocado, spinach and pine nut pasta

 Prep time: 5 minutes         Cook time: 10 minutes         Serves: 2-4 

avocado spinach pasta


  • 500g pasta shells
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • Salt/pepper to taste
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 large avocado
  • 50 g spinach leaves
  • 2 tbsp toasted pine nuts


  1. Cook pasta then drain and rinse under cold water.
  2. Add little olive oil and lemon juice to the pasta and toss thoroughly to coat. Season to taste. 
  3. Add all other ingredients and mix well.  


Fish and seafood pasta recipes

Fresh seafood, tangy tomato and sweet herbs - now all we need is a glass of chilled white and we're back on holiday! Versatile and colourful, fish and seafood pasta recipes are as beautiful to look at as they are delicious to eat...  


Seafood linguine

Prep time: 5 minutes         Cook time: 15 minutes         Serves: 2-3 

seafood linguine


  • 250g linguine pasta
  • 300g fresh seafood
  • Half a lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper to season


  1. Cook linguine as per pack instrustions.
  2. Fry garlic in a pan for 4 minutes.
  3. Add seafood and cook for a few minutes - follow instructions to cook. 
  4. Add in cooked linguine. 
  5. Squeeze over lemon juice, add the parsley and seasoning. 
  6. Serve with warm crusty bread!

Or if you're looking for something a little different, why not try this tasty sundried tomato and prawn spaghetti 


Chilli and honey salmon pasta

Prep time: 10 minutes         Cook time: 20 minutes         Serves: 2 

chilli honey salmon pasta


  • 2 salmon fillets
  • 1 small white onion
  • 2 cups pasta
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes (as many or few as you like)
  • 2 tsp runny honey
  • A little oil for frying


  1. Cook pasta according to packet instructions.
  2. Very finely chop onion and fry in a little oil.
  3. Add the salmon fillets to frying pan with the onions and cook on a gentle heat until the fish is cooked through.
  4. Add chilli flakes to the pan.
  5. Drain pasta and stir through the honey. Divide between two plates and add one salmon fillet to each, then spoon over onions and chilli flakes.

Perhaps you're after a more creamy fish pasta dish? Look no further - this smoked salmon carbonara is a great twist on the classic recipe. 


Tuna pasta bake

Prep time: 10 minutes         Cook time: 35 minutes         Serves: 4 

tuna pasta bake


  • 200g pasta  
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove (crushed)
  • 1/2 head of broccoli (in florets)
  • 200g can chopped tomatoes
  • 4 tbsp yoghurt
  • 198g can tuna chunks (drained)
  • 50g cheddar (grated)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Cook the pasta shapes in boiling salted water for about ten minutes until just tender, then drain.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a frying pan. Add the garlic and broccoli and fry over a medium heat for 2 minutes to soften. Add the tomatoes and yoghurt and season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 mins.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6. Stir the tuna into the sauce, taking care not to break it up too much, add the pasta, mix well and tip into an ovenproof dish. Sprinkle the cheese over the top and bake for 15 mins.

If you're looking for vegetarian option, why not try this yummy vegetable pasta bake


Creamy pasta recipes 

If only creamy, indulgent pasta dishes will do - believe us, we've had those days too -  then perhaps one of these, yummy, decadent classics will inspire you to get out the saucepan and spend some quality time in the kitchen... 

Mac and cheese

Prep time: 15 minutes         Cook time: 30 minutes         Serves: 4 

macaroni cheese


  • 175g macaroni
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 60g cubed pancetta
  • 1 small onion (chopped)
  • 150g ball mozzarella cheese
  • 1 bunch small ripe cherry tomatoes
  • Salt and black pepper

For the four cheese sauce:

  • 2 (227ml) pots double cream
  • 100g butter
  • 50g grated Parmesan cheese
  • 50g grated mozzarella cheese
  • 50g grated provolone cheese
  • 50g grated Pecorino cheese


  1. Preheat the oven to 190C/gas mark 5/375F.
  2. Cut tomatoes in half. Cut the 150g Mozzarella ball into small cubes and grate the cheese for the 4 cheese sauce.
  3. Bring a large saucepan with 4 pints (2.25 litres) of water to the boil, add half a teaspoon of low-salt, add the macaroni and let it boil for 6 minutes.
  4. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan, then add crushed garlic, chopped onion, cherry tomatoes and the pancetta and cook for about 4 minutes on high heat.
  5. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan make the four cheese sauce by combining the butter and cream. Simmer over a medium heat, stirring often until butter melts. Gradually stir in the grated cheeses. Reduce heat to low and continue to stir until all cheese has melted.
  6. As soon as the pasta is ready, not fully cooked, drain the water through a colander and put back into the saucepan. Add the contents of the frying pan, the cubes of mozzarella and the cheese sauce. Top with salt and pepper and stir.
  7. Transfer to a large gratin dish and put on a high shelf of the oven to bake for 25-30 minutes. The cheese should be golden brown.
  8. To serve, sprinkle the surface with a little Parmesan.


Tomato and mascarpone pasta

Prep time: 5 minutes         Cook time: 10 minutes         Serves: 2 

tomato pasta


  • 1/4 red onion (diced)
  • 1 tbsp veg oil
  • 1 small carton tomato passata or a tin of plum tomatoes
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2-3 tbsp mascarpone
  • A handful of basil leaves
  • 150g pasta


  1. Set a pan of salted water to boil for your pasta.
  2. In the meantime, dice the onion and sauté gently in another pan with the veg oil until soft and cooked through.
  3. If you are using plum tomatoes, you need to pass these through a tomato puree-ing machine, (or you can just use passata).
  4. When the onion is ready, then add the tomato passata into the pan and stir. Add a generous amount of black pepper, a dash of salt and 1 teaspoon of sugar. Stir again.
  5. Next, boil your pasta. 
  6. Then add 2-3 tbsp of mascarpone to the sauce, and the basil, torn by hand. Give it a good stir.
  7. Let this simmer very gently for the time it takes for your pasta to cook.
  8. Drain the pasta, return it to the saucepan and pour over the sauce.
  9. Serve straight away. 

For a different, but equally well tasting pasta dish, try this pasta with ham and leeks recipe - perfect for chilly evenings!


Chicken and pesto pasta

Prep time: 5 minutes         Cook time: 15 minutes         Serves: 4 

chicken pesto pasta


  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 500g chicken breast fillets (thinly sliced)
  • 300ml half-fat creme fraîche
  • 2-3 tbsp pesto
  • 375g fettuccine
  • 1 head of broccoli (cut into florets)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and cook the chicken for 5 mins until a light golden colour.
  2. Add the creme fraîche for 8 mins, then add the pesto and simmer for 2-3 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the fettuccine in a large pan of boiling water for 8 mins, then add the broccoli and cook for another 2 mins. Drain and tip back into the same pan.
  4. Add the chicken and pesto sauce to the pan, season and stir over a low heat until the mixture is heated through. Serve straight away.


Do you have a tasty recipe that you'd like to share? Add it to our recipe store cupboard. 

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