20+ Easy and Cheesy Pasta Recipes
Cacio e Pepe
This foolproof method delivers the classic, crave worthy flavors and textures of cacio e pepe—strong peppery backbone (without verging towards too “hot”), earthy saltiness from the Pecorino cheese, and a luscious sauciness that will have you ready to lick the bowl. That said, while our method largely stays true to the iconic dish, one element might catch a traditionalist’s eye: olive oil. Though not exactly typical in cacio e pepe, we found that incorporating olive oil makes emulsifying the delicate cheese sauce a far less finicky process. Grating the cheese (as opposed to shredding) or using a Microplane is also key, as this allows the cheese to melt quickly. And finally, remember that pasta water is your best friend when it comes to making a silky smooth sauce. We developed this recipe for two as it makes for a incredibly impressive—yet budget-friendly—date night dinner when served with a simple green salad and a dry white wine. However, you can easily double the recipe to serve more. We love bucatini for this recipe because the hollow noodle is perfect for capturing the rich sauce, but you can use whatever noodle shape you like; linguine, spaghetti,or fettuccine are all great options.
Skillet-Baked Ziti with Andouille, Tomatoes, and Peppers
This spicy, heavily smoked pork sausage is seasoned slowly and cooked over pecan wood and sugarcane to achieve its distinctive flavor and firm texture. Andouille is sold ready-to-eat, with or without heating. Although it is fully cooked, it must be refrigerated. Commonly associated with jambalaya and gumbo, andouille can be used in place of any spicy sausage, like hot Italian sausage or pepperoni. An Italian-American classic gets a dose of Southern flavor. Other than cooking the pasta, you can pull this casserole together in a single skillet, making it ideal for busy weeknights.
Baked Smokin' Macaroni and Cheese
Roasted Vegetable Baked Ziti
This hearty pasta bake is the ideal dish of cheesy comfort food for cooler weather. We love the depth of caramelized flavor roasted veggies bring to this dish; plus, and you can swap in your favorite vegetables to make your own perfect pan of baked ziti. In fact, this dish is also a delicious way to utilize leftover roasted vegetables you might have hanging out in the fridge. In order to keep the dish entirely vegetarian, be sure to double check the labels on your cheese (especially the Parmesan) to make sure you pick up a package that is free of rennet and vegetarian-friendly.
Sausage and Spinach Spaghetti Pie
This budget-friendly dish (costing under $10) allows you to stretch a small amount of meat over several servings.
Cajun Shrimp Linguine
Classic Cajun flavors--the smoky, spicy seasoning; sweet shrimp; and onion, green bell pepper, and celery trinity--give this pasta toss a New Orleans vibe. A jolt of ground red pepper spices things up nicely, while creamy half-and-half smooths out the edges.
Cheese Ravioli with Toasted Walnuts
Enhance the flavor of store-bought cheese ravioli by topping with toasted walnuts, lemon juice, parsley, and Parmesan cheese. Pair with a bagged green salad for a super-quick supper.
Easy Ravioli Bake
This recipe pairs the convenience of store-bought pasta with a quick, easy homemade sauce. Chop tomatoes right in the can, snipping them with kitchen scissors. We enjoyed chicken ravioli in this dish, though any variety will work.
Baked Macaroni and Cheese
Classic Lasagna with Meat Sauce
This simple lasagna is perfect for when you're short on time, but craving a comforting meal. Ready in just over an hour, it requires only 50 minutes of cooking in the oven.
Extra-lean ground beef (which sometimes cooks up dry) works well here because it's combined with marinara to keep it moist. For a quick and easy variation, feel free to use 9 whole lasagna noodles instead of 6 broken noodles, using 3 noodles per layer. You also can sub fresh basil leaves for the parsley sprinkled on at the end.
Instant Pot Lasagna
Weeknight dinner doesn't get easier than this—we're talking cheesy, gooey, and ready in a flash. The next time the craving for hearty, comfort food strikes, just remember, Instant Pot Lasagna has your back.
Baked Four-Cheese Spaghetti with Italian Sausage
Open sausage casings using kitchen shears; then just squeeze the sausage into the pan for browning.
Best-Ever Macaroni and Cheese
Taco Mac & Cheese
When taco night meets mac and cheese, magic happens. Melty cheese, hearty ground beef, and a creamy Tex-Mex inspired sauce come together in this taco-mac skillet for a maximum comfort food meal. You can absolutely prep this cheesy dinner bake ahead of time to make for even easier weeknight prep; simply assemble (following the recipe through step 4), then cover tightly and refrigerate until you’re ready to bake (add a few minutes to the bake time if you’re going from the fridge to the oven). You can typically find taco skillet sauce shelved near the dry taco seasoning and tortillas in the supermarket.
Blue Cheese Mac-And-Cheese
This incredibly rich baked mac and (blue) cheese might be the one dish that even the most staunch blue cheese hater will embrace with open arms. If a side dish better suited to accompany your next steak dinner exists, we sure don’t know what it could be.
Beefy Baked Ravioli with Spinach and Cheese
Everyone will be excited to dig into this comforting skillet supper. Look for ravioli in the refrigerated section—our Test Kitchen prefers Buitoni brand. Substitute ground turkey or chicken for the beef, or replace the spinach with Swiss chard leaves.
Caprese Pasta Salad
Cheesy Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower
Roasted Tomato, Salami, and Mozzarella Pasta
This recipe gives you all the favorite flavors of a baked pasta dish without heating up the oven. Round out this easy weeknight meal with a simple and satisfying dessert. When a recipe calls for a small amount of an ingredient, such as the cup of arugula in this recipe, save money and buy what you need from the salad bar at your grocery store instead of purchasing an entire package.
Creamy Kale and Pasta Bake
Even self-professed kale haters will fall in love with this cheesy baked pasta with crispy breadcrumbs. Round out the meal with a simple side of roasted carrots.
Classic Pasta Carbonara
This simple, classic pasta carbonara recipe is the perfect dish when you need a special night in. And with this foolproof method for nailing the signature creamy sauce, you can go into the kitchen with confidence. Traditionally, you would toss your hot pasta with the eggs and cheese right in the skillet you’ve used to cook the pork (over low heat) to create a smooth, emulsified sauce. However, this method takes practice to get right—and crossing the fine line between gently cooking the eggs and scrambling them is all too easy, even for a pro. With this smart test kitchen technique, you essentially create a double boiler to provide just enough heat to melt your cheese and emulsify the silky sauce, without running the risk of breaking it. Finally, drizzling pancetta drippings over the pasta disperses rich porky flavor throughout the sauce even without ever having the pasta in the skillet. We use pancetta for this recipe as it is easily found in most supermarkets, but guanciale is traditional and worth trying if you can find it. Gemelli pasta is a great noodle shape to pair with this rich and saucy dish, but feel free to use whatever noodle you prefer.