6 Pasta Recipes That Every 20-Something Should Know

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I had to take some long, hard looks at all these delicious dinners when I was at the studio shooting this "Foodiversity: Pasta 101" feature, and I don’t think I have ever been more tortured. Pasta is already my weakness, but — OMG! — these recipes! They are so good! Whether you are new in the kitchen and want to learn some easy dishes to whip up, or you are a seasoned pasta eater (like me!) and want some new ideas for fast weeknight fare, we got you. From a one-pot meal to one that uses breakfast ingredients in a totally novel way, these pages are truly good enough to eat. I personally don’t think Foodiversity had ever looked, or tasted, better. But bring some water to a boil and see for yourself. Signed, The Pasta Monster.

The Only Pasta Bake Recipe You'll Ever Need

Photographed by Eric Helgas; Food Styled by Michelle Gatton.
Sure, autumn leaves and crisp, cooler weather are great and all, but the best thing about fall by far is getting to indulge in gooey, creamy baked pastas. Although baked pastas can be labor-intensive, the below recipe is super-easy to pull off — besides, if you make it on a Sunday, you'll have leftovers for the entire week!

Primavera Pasta Bake With Autumn Vegetables
Makes 6-8 servings

Ingredients
8 oz rigatoni
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cups thinly sliced leeks
3 cups small cubes butternut squash
2 cups sliced crimini or button mushrooms
1/2 cup milk or cream
2 oz cream cheese
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp thyme
1/4 teaspoon salt — plus 1 teaspoon more for pasta water
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving.

Instruction
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Bring water and 1 teaspoon salt to a boil in a large Dutch oven. Add the rigatoni and cook for 10-13 minutes or until al dente.

2. Meanwhile, sauté the leeks, squash, and mushrooms in olive oil in a large pan over medium heat until the vegetables start to turn brown. Remove from heat and stir in milk, butter, cream cheese, thyme, salt, and pepper, and stir until the cream cheese is melted and incorporated.

3. Drain the pasta and return it to the Dutch oven. Stir in the veggies, cream mixture, and mozzarella. Top with Parmesan cheese and bake for 20-25 minutes, If your pan/Dutch oven is not oven-safe, transfer to a 2 quart oven-safe casserole dish first.
Photographed by Eric Helgas; Food Styled by Michelle Gatton.