27 Pasta Dishes You Can Make in 30 Minutes or Less

For those times when you just don't have the time...pasta is one of the best and most versatile ingredients, for getting dinner on the table in less than half an hour, it can't be beat! 

  • 01 of 27

    Pasta in Pesto Sauce: 10 minutes

    Trofie in pesto sauce
    Trofie pasta in pesto sauce. Thomas Barwick/Getty Images

    One of my favorite quick pastas, this is especially great in summer, when fresh basil is in abundance. But it's easy to make a big batch of pesto sauce and freeze the extra in ice-cube trays, so that you can always have some pesto on hand even outside of summer. Just mix a few frozen cubes into your cooked pasta together with some of the pasta-cooking water. 

  • 02 of 27

    Mascarpone and Lemon Pasta Sauce: 15 minutes

    Jennifer Meier

    This pasta sauce is so simple and quick, yet so satisfying! It takes only about 15 minutes, and the combination of creamy mascarpone cheese and lively lemon is sure to please even the pickiest eaters. Use any type of noodles with this sauce and add whatever vegetables you like. Chicken or shrimp is also highly recommended for this mascarpone and lemon pasta sauce!

  • 03 of 27

    Trofie with Pesto and Fresh Tomatoes: 12 minutes

    Kirk Mastin/Getty Images

    Trofie al pesto con pomodori freschi

    A great way to make use of abundant late-summer basil and tomatoes, paired with toothsome, chewy trofie pasta.

  • 04 of 27

    Pasta alla Puttanesca: 13 minutes

    Spaghetti alla puttanesca
    Spaghetti alla puttanesca. Oxana Denezhkina/Getty Images

    This spicy, pungent Neapolitan classic is so easy to whip up in just about the same amount of time it takes to boil the pasta. Also find out about the true origins of the slightly scandalous name! ("Puttanesca" translates literally to "prostitute-style.")

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  • 05 of 27

    Pasta in Tomato-Basil Sauce: 15 minutes

    Spaghetti in tomato-basil sauce
    Spaghetti in tomato-basil sauce. Adam Kulesza/Getty Images

    A super-simple sauce made with tomato puree, shallots and fresh basil leaves. Light and uncomplicated.

  • 06 of 27

    Simple, No-Cook Walnut Sauce: 15 minutes (or less!)

    Ravioli in Walnut Sauce
    Ravioli in Walnut Sauce. Cliver Streeter/Getty Ima

    Salsa di noci

    This easy, no-cook sauce from Liguria is great on gnocchi or filled pastas such as ravioli or tortellini, as well as on spaghetti or even simply spread on bread.

  • 07 of 27

    Spicy Spaghetti with Garlic and Olive Oil: 15 minutes

    Spaghetti with Garlic, Chile Pepper, Olive Oil, Parsley and Breadcrumbs
    Spaghetti with Garlic, Chile Pepper, Olive Oil, Parsley and Breadcrumbs. Lauri Patterson/Getty Images

    Spaghetti all'aglio, olio e peperoncino

    A simple but savory staple from Naples -- spaghetti tossed with extra-virgin olive oil in which a bit of garlic and red chile pepper (either dried or fresh) have been sauteed -- is one of the simplest, quickest, and yet most satisfying, pasta dishes of all. I like to top it with a bit of chopped parsley and toasted breadcrumbs as well. 

  • 08 of 27

    Pasta with Broccoli: 15 minutes

    Pasta with broccoli
    Pasta with broccoli. Danette St. Onge

    Pasta ai broccoli

    A quick and nutritious weeknight go-to, in which the pasta and broccoli cook together in the same pot.  

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  • 09 of 27

    Penne all'Arrabbiata: 20 minutes

    Penne all'arrabbiata
    Penne all'arrabbiata. imagenavi/Getty Images

     A simple classic -- pasta tossed in a spicy tomato sauce and topped with grated Pecorino Romano cheese.

  • 10 of 27

    Pasta all'Amatriciana: 20 minutes

    Spaghetti all'Amatriciana
    Spaghetti all'Amatriciana. piazzagabriella/Getty Images

    A favorite from the town of Amatrice, near Rome, made with spaghetti or long, hollow bucatini pasta tubes (also known as perciatelli), this zesty, slightly spicy tomato sauce is flavored with crisp-fried pancetta or guanciale.

  • 11 of 27

    Sicilian-Style Tomato-and-Almond Pesto: 20 minutes

    Pasta with pesto alla trapanese sauce, almonds and fried eggplant
    Pasta with pesto alla trapanese sauce, almonds and fried eggplant. L. Alfonse/Getty Images

    Pesto alla trapanese

    A refreshing twist on the classic Genovese basil-and-pine nut pesto, this version from the town of Trapani, in Sicily, uses almonds and fresh tomatoes.

  • 12 of 27

    Pasta Primavera With Shrimp

    Shrimp Pasta Primavera Pasta

     Elaine Lemm

    In Italian, primavera means "spring." This dish was named after the spring vegetables that add fresh flavor and beautiful color. Haricot verts and peas, along with broccoli and cherry tomatoes are tossed in pasta with plump shrimp and a bit of Parmesan cheese.

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  • 13 of 27

    Tagliatelle with Baby Artichokes: 20 minutes

    Fresh tagliatelle with baby artichokes
    Fresh tagliatelle with baby artichokes. Danette St. Onge

    A simple but elegant dish for spring or fall, when artichokes are in peak season.

  • 14 of 27

    Tagliatelle with Fried Zucchini and Ricotta Salata: 20 minutes

    Tagliatelle with fried zucchini and ricotta salata
    Tagliatelle with fried zucchini and ricotta salata. Danette St. Onge

    A Sicilian summer favorite: fresh tagliatelle tossed with fried zucchini slices, grated ricotta salata cheese and fresh mint leaves.

  • 15 of 27

    Pasta with Asparagus, Peas and Sun-Dried Tomatoes: 20 minutes

    Fusilli with asparagus, sun-dried tomatoes, peas and chives
    Fusilli with asparagus, sun-dried tomatoes, peas and chives. Joff Lee/Getty Images

     A quick and easy springtime dish.

  • 16 of 27

    Spicy Spaghetti with Tomatoes, Chives and Fresh Arugula: 20 minutes

    Spaghetti with Tomatoes and Arugula
    Spaghetti with Tomatoes and Arugula. Danette St. Onge

    A wonderfully fresh take on aglio, olio and peperoncino spaghetti, with lightly sauteed cherry tomatoes and topped with chopped fresh arugula and chives -- perfect for hot summer days.

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  • 17 of 27

    Shrimp and Arugula Orecchiette: 20 minutes

    Orecchiette rose con gamberetti e rucola at Hosteria I Buoni Amici in Rome
    Orecchiette rose con gamberetti e rucola at Hosteria I Buoni Amici in Rome. Danette St. Onge

    Orecchiette rose' con gamberi e rucola

    Crisp, peppery fresh arugula perfectly balances tender shrimp and thick, chewy orecchiette, lightly coated with a savory, creamy tomato sauce. 

  • 18 of 27

    Chickpea Pasta: 30 minutes

    Chickpea Pasta

    Anita Schecter 

    Topped with a creamy sauce of puréed chickpeas, lemon, spices, and olive oil, this vegan chickpea pasta is creamy and delicious without any dairy or eggs.

  • 19 of 27

    Green Spring Vegetables Pasta Salad: 20 minutes

    Westend61/Getty Images

    Insalata di pasta al verde

    A springtime green pasta salad made with fresh green peas, fava beans, asparagus, spinach and watercress.

  • 20 of 27

    Pasta with Oil-Packed Tuna, Garlic, Lemon, Capers and White Wine: 25 minutes

    Pasta with Oil-Packed Tuna, Capers, Lemon, Garlic and White Wine
    Pasta with Oil-Packed Tuna, Capers, Lemon, Garlic and White Wine. Danette St. Onge

    Fusilli al tonno con capperi e limone 

    One of my all-time favorite recipes, this dish is great on a warm summer's night with a crisp, dry white wine.

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  • 21 of 27

    Spaghetti alla Carbonara: 25 minutes

    Spaghetti alla Carbonara
    Spaghetti alla Carbonara. Danette St. Onge

    A comforting classic with a savory, creamy sauce of eggs, garlic and crisp pancetta...there is really no need to add cream, if you've made this dish correctly, because the egg sauce is already so rich and velvety.

  • 22 of 27

    Penne alla Vodka: 25 minutes

    Penne alla Vodka
    Penne alla Vodka. Joseph O'Connell/Creative Commons

    A rich, pink tomato-cream sauce in which the vodka, while it can't be tasted itself in the final dish, helps to bring out flavor in the tomatoes, keep the tomatoes and cream from separating, and balance the heaviness of the cream. 

  • 23 of 27

    Four-Cheese Pasta: 25 minutes

    Four-Cheese Pasta
    Four-Cheese Pasta with Gorgonzola, Fontina, Parmigiano and Pecorino. Ian O'Leary/Getty

    A creamy four-cheese sauce (Gorgonzola, Fontina, Parmigiano and Pecorino) that works great on any type of pasta or gnocchi. It works particularly well on short shapes, like penne, farfalle (bow-tie pasta), or shells. 

  • 24 of 27

    Tagliatelle with Chanterelle Mushrooms: 25 minutes

    Tagliatelle with Chanterelle Mushrooms
    Tagliatelle with Chanterelle Mushrooms. Danette St. Onge

    Golden chanterelles (known as gallinacci, galletti or finferli in Italian and girolles in French) are in season from approximately July to September, depending on the area, so that's the time to take advantage of these highly prized and flavorful mushrooms. 

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  • 25 of 27

    Mafalde with Prawns and Zucchini: 25 minutes

    Mafalde pasta with prawns and zucchini
    Mafalde pasta with prawns and zucchini. Joff Lee/Getty Images

    Mafalde con gamberi e zucchine

    This summery, zesty dish combines refreshing mint and lemon with tender prawns, chewy pasta and aromatic capers.

  • 26 of 27

    Pasta alla Norma: 30 minutes

    Pasta alla Norma
    Pasta alla Norma. Creative Commons

    Pasta alla Norma is a classic dish, made with fried eggplants, tomato sauce, and ricotta salata, originating in the Sicilian city of Catania. Allegedly it was created by a Catanese chef in tribute to the opera 'Norma,' by 19th-century composer Vincenzo Bellini, also from Catania.

  • 27 of 27

    Creamy Pasta with Ham and Peas: 30 minutes

    Creamy garganelli pasta with ham and peas
    Creamy garganelli pasta with ham and peas. Rick Lew/Getty Images

    Pasta con prosciutto cotto e piselli

    A simple and comforting dish from the Emilia-Romagna region, which can be made with fresh or frozen green peas.