While pasta may have started in Italy, it’s one of the most popular meals around the world. But, with so many types of pasta, recipes to choose from and herb and spice combinations to try, what are some of the best options for an easy weeknight family meal?
1. Italian Marinara
The classic marinara sauce includes tomatoes, oregano, basil and garlic as the base, with the option to add onions, peppers and your choice of meat.
To keep things simple for a weeknight meal, fry the spices with your ingredients before adding the tomato. And, rather than fresh tomatoes, use a jar of passata to cut down prep time. Then, once everything is in the pot, leave it on low heat to reduce it for 30 minutes (or more).
2. Italian Pesto
Another crowd pleaser is the humble pesto pasta and you can make your own pesto from scratch with dried or fresh basil, olive oil, pine nuts and parmesan. Linguine is a top choice of pasta for basil pesto, and you can add feta, cherry tomatoes and grilled chicken at the end.
3. Italian Cream Sauce
Alfredo pasta is another hot Italian favorite, and the fact that you can have dinner on the table in under 30 minutes is just one of the reasons why it’s popular around the world. You’ll want to add oregano and basil to this sauce, along with lots of butter and cream. You can change around the rest of the ingredients, but a good base is grilled chicken or bacon, onion and garlic.
4. Inspiration from Around the World
American Inspired Pasta – Macaroni Cheese
Macaroni cheese is the ultimate comfort food. With a white sauce as the base, add bacon or chicken and mushrooms, a generous amount of grated cheese, oregano, salt and pepper. Mix together and put in a glass casserole dish, cover with grated cheese, bake for 20 minutes at 375 degrees, and you’ve got a meal that will please even the pickiest eater.
Asian Inspired Pasta
An Asian pasta, served cold, is perfect for lunches or even busy weeknights as it can be prepared in advance. Pre-cook the pasta and chill overnight, then combine with sesame oil, sesame seeds, soy sauce and broccoli. Other variations could include chopped peanuts, peppers and ginger.
Mexican Inspired Pasta
Mexican pasta salads are delicious for lunch or dinner and so simple to make. Start with a bowl of cooled cooked pasta, then add your standard Mexican ingredients, like onion, red pepper, cumin, tomatoes, cilantro, black beans, jalapenos, cumin and chili powder.
Whether you stick to traditional Italian pasta recipes or innovate with some American, Asian or Mexican influences, you’re bound to find the perfect weekday pasta meals with Belle Donne Spices.