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Quick and Easy: Fall’s Simplest Pasta Recipes

Got a box of pasta? You’ve got a great autumn meal waiting to be made.

When the days get shorter and the nights grow cooler, away goes the grill and out comes the pasta pot. These three super-simple meals require almost no measuring and can be ready in about the time it takes for the pasta to cook and the wine to be uncorked. Making it even easier: a new pot-filler, of course. (All recipes serve four.)

Pasta with Bacon, Garlic and Spinach

Combining two of the greatest foods ever—bacon and garlic—with leafy greens makes this dish a supper standout.

Ingredients:

1 lb. pasta

Splash of olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

8 strips bacon, diced

Two generous handfuls of spinach, cut into bite-size pieces

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Cook pasta according to package directions.

2. Heat oil in large, deep skillet over medium heat, add garlic and cook for 1 minute or until softened.

3. Add bacon and fry until brown and crispy.

4. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water, then drain pasta and toss immediately with garlic-bacon mixture. Add spinach and toss again. Salt and pepper to taste.

Pasta with Brussels Sprouts, Garlic and Pine Nuts

Roasting Brussels sprouts brings out this root vegetable’s sublime nutty flavor; adding garlic and toasted pine nuts gives the dish sweetness and crunch.   

Ingredients:

1 lb. pasta

1 lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed and sliced

2 garlic cloves, minced

Olive oil

2 Tbsp. butter

2 oz. pine nuts (about ¼ c.)

¼ c. grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

1. Cook pasta according to package directions.

2. Toss Brussels sprouts and garlic with enough oil to coat and roast in a 375-degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until lightly browned.

3. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large, heavy skillet and add pine nuts, stirring until they turn golden and fragrant, about 1 minute.

4. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water, then drain pasta and toss with Brussels sprouts, garlic and pine nuts. Salt and pepper to taste, top with Parmesan.

Pasta with Tomatoes, Garlic and Basil

Too many different taste buds to please? You can’t go wrong with this classic combination.

Ingredients:

1 lb. pasta

4 Tbsp. olive oil

2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped

28 oz. can whole plum tomatoes, chopped (reserve juices)

Handful of basil leaves, chopped

½ c. grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

1.  Heat one tablespoon of oil over medium heat in a saucepan large enough to hold the tomatoes. Add garlic and cook about 1 minute or until softened.

2. Add the rest of the oil to saucepan, then add tomatoes and the reserved liquid.                                          

3. When sauce starts to simmer, lower heat to maintain a slow simmer for 45 minutes.

4. Cook pasta according to package directions.

5. Salt and pepper sauce to taste, toss in basil leaves, stir and pour over pasta. Top with grated cheese.