Some of the world's most iconic dishes are built around noodles, from spaghetti with meatballs to pasta salad to creamy, gooey macaroni and cheese. If you're making pasta recipes using dried wheat-flour pasta (the default for most Italian dishes), it's important to follow some simple pasta cooking tips: Salt the water liberally (don't add oil, it will make the noodles repel sauce), cook the pasta just to al dente (nothing's worse than gummy pasta), and never, ever rinse after cooking: You want the starch on the pasta to act as a magnet for sauce. Pasta comes in many shapes, and not just to entertain the kids - each cut is perfectly suited to a purpose. Thin, delicate angel hair pasta (cappellini) is best dressed with a light sauce like tomato, garlic and olive oil, while the wide tubes of manicotti (cannelloni) work great for stuffing with ricotta. Penne (rigate) has ridges that are great for capturing hearty sauces, and corkscrew shape of fusilli is perfect suited for creamy cheese sauces.
Pasta salad is a no-brainer for potlucks or other occasions when you're asked to bring a course or side dish. It's simple to make, easy to transport, and can be prepared ahead of time. And since pasta salad lends itself so easily to ingredient substitutions or additions, creating a "signature" salad is a breeze.
Jarred pasta sauces have come a long way, but, still, none of them hold a candle to homemade. If you've been relying on jarred stuff because you don't think you have the time or skills to learn how to make pasta sauce from scratch, you'll be pleasantly surprised by the recipe below.
Diavolo is the Italian word for devil and refers to sauces seasoned with hot chiles. In this quick and easy recipe, the sauce is made with stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce, and red pepper flakes.
Packaged light cheese ravioli not only cut the cooking time for this pasta recipe, they also help trim the fat and calories.
Soba noodles, hot sauce, ginger, and soy sauce give a spicy Asian touch to this chicken and broccoli main-dish recipe.
Jarred sauce makes this sausage, vegetable, and pasta a quick dinner recipe.
Fun shaped pasta joins forces with turkey bacon and chickpeas in a spicy tomato sauce. This dinner recipe takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.
The cheese sauce for this classic recipe uses skim milk and 2 percent sharp cheddar cheese to make a low-fat meal in less than 30 minutes.
Turn the classic pasta dish into a low-fat recipe by using turkey bacon and fat-free half-and-half. Asparagus is a flavorful and healthy addition.
Grilling the vegetables and sausage gives an outdoorsy smokiness to this main-dish salad.
This vegetable and pasta casserole dish includes penne pasta tossed with summer vegetables--eggplant, zucchini, and tomatoes--and a tart goat cheese sauce.
Serve this recipe, which includes whole wheat noodles, when you crave classic comfort food but want to add a healthy spin.
Whole grain orzo is full of flavor yet low in fat. It cooks quickly, making this butternut squash dish an easy dinner.