20 Fancy Pasta Recipes That Are Actually Super Easy to Make

Italian Sausage Spaghetti
Italian Sausage Spaghetti. Photo: Chef John

You don't have to go to a fancy Italian restaurant to have a delicious pasta dish. Make dinnertime more gourmet with these fancy pasta recipes that are actually easy to make. They're so good your family will think you spent all day in the kitchen — don't worry, we won't tell!

01 of 21

Creamy Pesto Shrimp

shrimp in pesto over linguine

This pesto shrimp recipe is ready in only 30 minutes. To make it even easier, you can use a pre-made pesto. "This was absolutely wonderful!!!! My family gobbled it all up, 2nds and 3rds for everyone. I highly recommend this recipe to anyone who loves shrimp and wants something really easy to make. mmmm good," according to reviewer LLEABROOKS.

02 of 21

Tomato-Cream Sauce for Pasta

Tomato-Cream Sauce for Pasta
Tomato-Cream Sauce for Pasta | Photo by CookinBug.

Top your favorite pasta with this creamy tomato sauce. You can puree all the ingredients for a smoother sauce, and add toppings — such as sautéed mushrooms, chicken, or pork.

03 of 21

Kaese Spaetzle

Kaese Spaetzle
Kaese Spaetzle. rn4flight

We're traveling north of Italy for this dish, which is often referred to as Germany's version of macaroni and cheese. It's made with homemade egg noodles and Emmentaler, a type of Swiss cheese. Many reviewers suggest adding bacon to the recipe, which eliminates the need for butter, as you can use the bacon fat instead. "This recipe is better than any I had in Germany or Austria. My husband loved it (he grew up in Germany eating tons of spaetzle) as did everybody else, including the kids," says reviewer jalexandropoulos.

04 of 21

Champagne Shrimp and Pasta

Champagne Shrimp and Pasta

Nothing says fancy quite like champagne. For this recipe, the elements of the sauce are cooked in champagne, then tossed with angel hair pasta and topped with fresh parsley and shaved Parmesan. Reviewers say you can use any type of sparkling wine, but not to skimp on quality. "Incredible! Probably the best pasta I have ever eaten, and I have eaten in Michelin starred restaurants in Italy," according to reviewer doctorsnafu.

05 of 21

Rustic Sausage Pasta

Pasta with sausage, tomatoes, squash, and parmesan
Deb C

This colorful dish is packed with vegetables in a savory red tomato sauce. The recipe calls for Italian sausage, so you can use sweet or hot depending on preference. To save time, reviewers suggest using frozen vegetables.

06 of 21

Habanero Pepper Cream Pasta

Habanero Pepper Cream Pasta in a grey bowl
Anthony C.

"This is a wonderfully spicy cream pasta with a hint of garlic and shallots. You also can add sautéed chicken or shrimp. Very easy and quick sauce to make if you are looking for a spicy entrée," according to recipe creator Stefanie Magee Magnuson.

07 of 21

Gnocchi I

Gnocchi on a blue plate

Homemade gnocchi may sound intimidating, but this recipe only requires three ingredients and takes just an hour. All you need are potatoes, flour, and eggs, plus your favorite sauce to finish the dish.

08 of 21

Garlic Noodles

Garlic Noodles
Chef John

These exceptionally easy garlic noodles are inspired by a dish from San Francisco restaurant Thanh Long. The "secret sauce," which combines soy, oyster, Worcestershire, and fish sauces with sesame oil and cayenne pepper, comes together to make a delicious end result. Creator Chef John uses spaghetti noodles in his recipe, but he says you can replace them with Chinese egg noodles or ramen.

09 of 21

Teena's Spicy Pesto Chicken and Pasta

Teena's Spicy Pesto Chicken and Pasta

Teena's spicy pesto pasta is ready in less than an hour and can be easily adjusted to your desired heat level. Reviewers say that using the recommended chili paste is a must, and that if you can't find it to look in your grocery store's fresh produce aisle, try a specialty grocery store, or make your own.

10 of 21

Cajun Chicken Pasta

a colorful plate of chicken breast strips and red and green bell peppers tossed with spaghetti

This Cajun pasta is a robust dish that packs tons of flavor. Some reviewers say the sauce is a little thin, but you can add more Parmesan cheese to thicken it.

11 of 21

Italian Sausage Spaghetti

Italian Sausage Spaghetti
Italian Sausage Spaghetti. Chef John

"This is my favorite method of making Italian sausage spaghetti. By browning the sausages first and then cooking them in the sauce at a long, slow simmer, the sausage is loaded with flavor and firm, but tender--almost meatball-like in texture. And we hardly need any seasonings because the long cook time allows the sauce to get infused with all the sausage-y goodness," says creator Chef John.

12 of 21

To Die For Fettuccine Alfredo

To Die For Fettuccine Alfredo

Quench your cheesy Alfredo craving with this five-ingredient fettuccine Alfredo recipe. Simply combine butter, heavy cream, salt, pepper, Romano and Parmesan cheeses in a pot until thick and serve over fettuccine noodles. You can top the dish with your favorite protein, such as chicken, scallops, or shrimp.

13 of 21

Baked Ziti I

a serving of mozzarella-topped baked ziti in a white bowl, garnished with a basil sprig
chibi chef

Baked ziti is a great, easy recipe to have in your pasta wheelhouse for weeknight dinners or casual entertaining. And with over 5,000 5-star reviews, this recipe is sure to be a crowd pleaser. Recipe creator Colleen B. Smith says the dish can be made with or without ground beef. Either way, it's always well-received.

14 of 21

White Cheese Chicken Lasagna

White Cheese Chicken Lasagna

This lasagna is filled with chicken, spinach, and ricotta cheese and topped with a creamy, cheesy sauce. For easier prep, you can use rotisserie chicken and no-boil lasagna noodles.

15 of 21

Spaghetti alla Carbonara: the Traditional Italian Recipe

Spaghetti alla Carbonara: the Traditional Italian Recipe
Buckwheat Queen

This traditional Italian dish originated in the Lazio region after World War II. It only requires a few ingredients: guanciale (cubed pork cheek), eggs, Pecorino Romano cheese, and black pepper. Reviewers say if you can't find guanciale to use pancetta instead. Serve this creamy pasta carbonara over spaghetti noodles.

16 of 21

Authentic Pad Thai

Authentic Pad Thai

Inspired by the pad Thai at Thai Tom, a restaurant in Seattle, this recipe features a tamarind paste, vinegar, sugar, and fish sauce mixture over stir-fried eggs, chicken breast, and rice noodles that are garnished with peanuts, chives, and fresh bean sprouts. Some reviewers suggest doubling the tamarind paste.

17 of 21

Sauce Rosee

sauce rosee on pasta
Hanny Manny

This sweet rosée sauce is perfect atop tortellini with sautéed shrimp and scallops. "YUMMY – very delicious! A great blend of seasoning makes this sauce a definite keeper. Plus, it's very quick and easy to prepare. This sauce tastes EVEN better a day or two later," says reviewer COOKINGIRLLJ.

18 of 21

Rigatoni al Segreto (Rigatoni with Secret Sauce)

Rigatoni al Segreto (Rigatoni with Secret Sauce)
Chef John

This secret sauce recipe is said to come from a famous Italian restaurant in New York City. It combines onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, blended tomatoes, basil, butter, and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Serve over rigatoni pasta topped with basil and grated cheese for a true restaurant experience.

19 of 21

Penne Russo a la Vodka

penne russo a la vodka

Wow your family and friends with this vodka pasta that only takes 30 minutes to make. "Delicious! My husband and I felt like we were dining in Italy. The parmesan cheese and red peppers were divine. Make this recipe...tonight," says reviewer mrs. harris.

20 of 21


48652 Manicotti 13883 GodivaGirl

With over 500 5-star reviews, this stuffed manicotti recipe will be a dinnertime hit, and one even the picky eaters will love. These manicottis are stuffed with ricotta, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheeses, as well as eggs, parsley, salt, and pepper. Reviewers have also added meat, such as sausage or ground beef, to make it a heartier meal.

Was this page helpful?
You’ll Also Love