Creative but easy pasta recipes for when you get tired of pesto

If you just can’t face making another basic pesto or tasteless tomato sauce-based dish, but are sitting on a stockpiled goldmine of pasta, don’t fret – we’ve got you.

You don’t need to be a chef to make delicious pasta, nor do you need to leave the comfort of your self-isolation to go hunting for speciality ingredients (please don’t, stick to your local supermarket).

We asked eight chefs to share their best pasta recipes that are both easy-to-make yet not your average spag bol.

Put the apron on, it’s time to cook.

(Garlic bread optional, but we really would).

Anelletti al forno

  • 400g of anelletti pasta
  • 400g of ground beef minced meat
  • 500ml of tomato sauce or a bottle of passata
  • 50g of grated Caciocavallo Ragusano or parmesan cheese
  • 50g of Primosale cheese or any soft cheese
  • Two eggs
  • 50g ham
  • 50g salami
  • 200 g of peas
  • Tomato concentrate
  • Half a glass of red wine
  • Celery, carrot and onion for the sauce
  • One bay leaf
  • Four slices of aubergine
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Butter and breadcrumbs for the pan
  • Salt and pepper

First prepare the sauce base on the pot, frying the finely chopped, onion celery and carrots until they soften. Add the meat to the sauce and stir it until browned, then add one bay leaf. Pour the wine into the mixture, let it evaporate. Let the tomato sauce cook for at least one hour.

Once an hour has passed, add a spoonful of tomato paste and season with salt and pepper. Cook for another 20 minutes on low heat. Tip: the sauce or (ragu) can be prepared a day before but cool it down before you put it in the fridge.

Boil the peas and add them to the sauce along with the grated cheese (Caciocavallo Ragusano) and Primosale cheese cut into small cubes. Mix well and set aside. Fry four slices of aubergines. Boil the eggs and cut them into slices.

Boil the Anelletti pasta for half the time indicated on the package, the rest of the cooking will be done in the oven. Drain well and add half of the sauce, mix well.

Grease a baking tray with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Take the excess away. Lay the four slices of aubergines down on the breadcrumbs and then pour a layer of anelletti pasta that has already mixed with the sauce. 

Put more meat sauce on top, then add the cut eggs, small cubes of ham and salami, and the remaining anelletti pasta. Finally, add the remaining half of the sauce and sprinkle more breadcrumbs on top. Bake at 180 ° for 30 minutes. Let rest for 15 minutes before serving.

You can use any type of small pasta instead of anelletti, what you have available in your kitchen will likely work. You can also swap the ham and salami with any other cured meat.

Created by: ‘The Sicilian Chef’ Enzo Oliveri

Tagliatelle with aubergines, tomato and basil

  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • Two large aubergines cut into discs, 1cm thick
  • One garlic clove, finely sliced
  • 400g can of chopped tomatoes
  • Eight basil leaves, torn
  • A pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • 250g fresh tagliatelle (or dried egg tagliatelle)
  • 75g pecorino cheese, grated
  • Sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper

Heat five tablespoons of the oil in a large frying pan and fry the aubergines, in batches, until light golden on the outside and soft all the way through. As each batch is done, place on kitchen paper to absorb the excess oil.

Heat the remaining olive oil in a pan, add the sliced garlic and cook gently until softened. Add the tomatoes, bring to the boil and simmer until reduced by half. Season to taste. Cut the fried aubergines into strips 2cm thick and add to the tomato sauce with the basil, dried chilli and some seasoning.

Cook the tagliatelle in a large pan of boiling salted water for about three minutes, until al dente (or cook according to the packet instructions for dried tagliatelle). Drain, reserving a little of the cooking water, and add to the sauce.

Toss well, adding a couple of spoonfuls of the pasta water to loosen the sauce if necessary, and cook gently for a couple of minutes. Serve with the grated pecorino and some black pepper.

Created by: Chef Theo Randall from the Intercontinental

Arrabbiata sauce (works with any pasta)

  • Two shallots finely diced
  • Two gloves garlic crushed into a paste
  • Two red chilli’s finely chopped
  • Half a teaspoon dried red chilli
  • 70g Fresh basil Chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • 1 litre passata
  • 1 tin chopped tomato
  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree
  • 10 ripe cherry tomatoes quartered
  • 2 teaspoons fresh oregano
  • 2.5 tsp. smoked paprika
  • Sea salt and black pepper

In a large saucepan gently heat your olive oil and then add in your garlic paste, stir gently for around 20 seconds, next add in your shallots and soften gently for a couple of minutes.

Once your shallots are softened add in your oregano, and chilli, cook this out for another minute, then add in your tomato puree and smoked paprika and cook for another minute stirring frequently.

Next go in with your quartered cherry tomatoes, and then add your passata and your tin of chopped tomatoes and cook the sauce gently for 30 minutes, stir in your chopped basil. Cook for another 20 seconds, season, taste and then serve.

Created by: Masterchef champion Simon Wood

Leftover veggie pasta with crumbled Roquefort cheese and croûtons

  • 150g short pasta, such as penne
  • Salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • Any leftover roasted vegetables, such as butternut squash, peppers, onion and aubergine
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp thyme leaves
  • 3 tbsp ricotta cheese
  • grated zest of one lemon
  • 100g Roquefort cheese
  • Croûtons

For the croûtons brush sourdough slices with oil, cut into squares then pan-fry until crisp. Set to one side.

Cook the pasta in lightly salted boiling water according to the packet instructions. Drain whilst reserving a little of the cooking water. Fry the roasted veggies in olive oil until warmed through. Then add the thyme leaves.

Remove from the heat and stir through the ricotta and lemon zest. Add the pasta and the reserved water to loosen everything. Crumble in three-quarters of the Roquefort and stir. Season with black pepper.

Serve in warm bowls with the remaining crumbled Roquefort and the croûtons on top.

Created by: Alex Hollywood

Lentil and walnut bolognese

  • Three carrots peeled and chopped
  • One stick celery chopped
  • One tsp chilli flakes
  • Two tins chopped tomato
  • Three cloves garlic minced
  • One courgette chopped
  • Handful of fresh basil
  • Fresh lemon juice to taste
  • Spaghetti
  • 150mg chopped mushrooms
  • One and a half cup of red lentils
  • One Red onion
  • One chopped red pepper
  • Two sprigs of rosemary, picked and chopped
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 120ml vegetable stock
  • One cup of ground walnut

Warm a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan. Toss in the onion and cook for a couple of minutes on a medium to low heat. Stir in the garlic and cook until lightly golden. Next, add the celery, carrots, red pepper, rosemary, tomato puree and chilli flakes and cook until fragrant – one to two minutes.

Pour in the chopped tomatoes and vegetable stock. Bring to the boil, then simmer until rich and lightly thickened (20-30 minutes), stirring often to prevent it from catching. Place in the blender and blitz smooth.

Add your tomato sauce back to the pan, then stir in the lentils, walnuts and mushrooms, adding in a touch of water if needed. Cook on a simmer until rich, thick and tomatoey and the lentils have softened (25-30 minutes). Stir often to prevent the bolognese from catching, adding more water if needed.

When almost ready, cook your pasta according to packet instructions. Drain, reserving some of the pasta water. Stir 3 tbsp of pasta cooking water through your cooked bolognese.

Mix in the fresh basil leaves and lemon juice, then season to taste.

Created by: Rejuvenated.

Pasta carbonara

  • 150g streaky bacon, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and grated
  • ½ onion, finely diced
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 100g chestnut mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • Pinch of flaked sea salt
  • Grind of black pepper
  • 400g spaghetti
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 150ml single cream
  • 50g Parmesan block, finely grated
  • 1 sprig of parsley, leaves finely chopped

In a dry pan, cook the bacon until it starts to get crispy, then set aside. Using the same pan, fry the garlic and onion in a tablespoon of oil until they are soft and translucent. Set aside, then fry the mushrooms until well cooked through and season. Take the pan off the heat.

Cook the pasta in a large saucepan of boiling water for six to 10 minutes (depending on whether it’s fresh or dry). Cook until al dente, take a piece out carefully with a fork to taste, then drain and place back in the saucepan with a drizzle of olive oil. Use tongs to move it around so it doesn’t all stick together.

While the pasta is cooking, in a large bowl, combine the egg yolks, cream and Parmesan with some salt and pepper. Mix well then add the cooked pasta into the bowl of sauce, so it coats the pasta really well.

Add the bacon, garlic, onions and mushrooms, using tongs to distribute everything well. Sprinkle the carbonara with more black pepper and fresh parsley to serve, adding extra parmesan if you like.

Created by: Chef Justine Murphy, author of My Muy Bueno

Pepper and tomato sauce (just add pasta)

  • 400g tin tomatoes
  • Rqo roasted peppers from a jar
  • One veg oxo (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Dried onion
  • Dried garlic
  • Paprika
  • Chilli flakes
  • Oregano
  • Dash of worcester sauce
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil

Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a saucepan on medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, chilli flakes, paprika, and fry off.

Add in the tin tomatoes, peppers, veg oxo, Worcester sauce, honey, and oregano.

Turn down heat and simmer to cook down for 30 mins. Stir into spaghetti or pasta with some rocket leaves and grated parmesan.

Add a few sundried tomatoes for a rich flavour. Roast a handful of pine nuts and add to the sauce or garnish on top of the finished pasta dish.

Freeze portions in a freezer bag or tub. Pour into an old jar and cover sauce with a little olive oil to preserve

Also great as a dip with tortillas, spooned onto a jacket potato, or potato skins topped with grated cheese.

Created by: Dualit

Tomato and lentil pasta

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • One onion, chopped
  • One clove of garlic, crushed
  • Two carrots, finely chopped
  • 250g split red lentils
  • 800g tinned tomatoes
  • 4 tbsp tomato paste
  • 500ml hot water
  • Two handfuls of fresh spinach (can replace with two blocks of frozen spinach)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a saucepan and sauté the onion for three to five minutes until soft. Add the garlic and carrot and sauté for another five minutes.

Add the lentils, tomatoes, tomato paste, hot water and seasoning. Bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer, covered for about 15-20 minutes, until the lentils are soft then stir in the spinach until wilted (or defrosted in the case of frozen).

Serve mixed with cooked penne pasta.

Created by: ‘The Lunchbox Doctor’ Jenny Tschiesche

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