6 Pasta Recipes That Every 20-Something Should Know

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.

Spinach Linguini With Walnut Pesto

Photographed by Eric Helgas; Food Styled by Michelle Gatton.
There's really nothing I love more than pesto (I even wrote a whole story about it). But personal bias aside, making your own pesto at home is really no big deal and it's SO GOOD. And listen, take my advice and make way too much pesto. You can refrigerate or freeze it and use it on almost anything — toast, crackers, fish, meat, eggs — anything! Use this as a general rule of thumb: When in doubt, slather it in pesto.

Spinach Linguini With Walnut Pesto
Makes 4-6 servings

Walnuts are less expensive and easier to find than the traditional pine nuts, and we think they taste even better. Plus, they’re loaded with healthy fats.

For Pesto
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 well-packed cups fresh basil leaves
2/3 cup good quality olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan-Romano blend
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp salt
For Pasta
1 lb dry spinach linguini
1 tsp salt for the pasta water
1 cup prepared walnut pesto
1 cup Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1. Process all of the pesto ingredients in a food processor until well combined. Refrigerate any unused portions.
2. Fill a large pot or dutch oven 3/4 full with water, (about 4 quarts). Add the salt and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook, stirring frequently until al dente, 5 to 8 minutes.
3. Drain, but do not rinse the pasta; you want a tiny bit of the pasta water in the sauce.
4. Return to the pot and stir in the pesto and Parmesan cheese, add salt and pepper to taste. Save any extra pesto in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
5. Garnish with a few small basil leaves if you have any left over, and serve with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and freshly ground pepper on top.