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A Short Guide to Quick and Easy Spaghetti Dishes

There are lots of reasons why you will find a pasta dish at the top of most people's lists of preferred comfort foods. Spaghetti dishes are quick, easy to prepare, filling and delicious, which is why they are the go-to option for so many occasions.

Whether you are looking to prepare a super easy weeknight dinner or a decadent, delicious feast for a special event, you can't go wrong with classic Italian pasta dishes.

This article will explain some of the world's most popular spaghetti recipes from the Italian culinary tradition that you can prepare easily at home.

Family-Favorite Spaghetti Recipes

Anyone who has spent more than a little time in the kitchen probably has a favourite Italian spaghetti recipe. This iconic Italian pasta shape is incredibly versatile, but it is better suited to some recipes than others. Literally translated as "thin strings," spaghetti comes in long, thin cylindrical strands that works best with relatively simple sauces.

A spaghetti recipe doesn't have to be complicated to be delicious. In fact, many of the best spaghetti recipes out there use only a few basic ingredients to achieve a result that is greater than the sum of its parts. All it takes is a few kitchen staples at your disposal, such as:

  • Olive oil
  • Garlic
  • White wine or red wine
  • Ground black pepper
  • Grated parmesan cheese

All it takes is these few basics and you can whip up an easy spaghetti recipe in no time. Here are some of the tried-and-true spaghetti classics that are easily prepared at home:

Spaghetti aglio e olio

This spaghetti dish traces its origins back to Naples, but it can now be found virtually anywhere in the world. Literally as "spaghetti with garlic and oil" in Italian, the timeless recipe of aglio e olio is as easy as it sounds.

Involving a bit of fresh garlic, a tasty olive oil and a high-quality Italian spaghetti, pulling off this recipe takes only slightly longer than the cook time of your noodles. Simply combine your oil and garlic in a skillet over medium heat while the noodles cook. Once the noodles have cooked, add the spaghetti to the infused oil and top with freshly ground black pepper!

Spaghetti alla puttanesca

Although regional recipes may vary slightly, puttanesca pasta dishes are easily prepared with ingredients most people have in their pantries. Adding fresh herbs is always a nice touch, but this dish can be made without ingredients that require refrigeration, which makes it an easy and reliable pasta recipe.

To make this delicious dish happen, start by opening a can of plum tomatoes while your spaghetti is cooking. Throw the tomatoes in a skillet over medium heat and let them cook for several minutes before adding capers, black olives and red pepper flakes. After the noodles have cooked, add them to the tomato sauce with a touch of olive oil. Voila!

Spaghetti Carbonara

Spaghetti carbonara is another relatively simple dish with humble origins. This dish is easy to make, but it takes a bit more care and attention than some other easy spaghetti recipes. As always, there is a lot of room for interpretation and variation in this recipe, but any carbonara worthy of the name involves a pork product like bacon or pancetta, a hard cheese like parmesan or pecorino, eggs, and, of course, Italian spaghetti.

To make a carbonara sauce, start by cooking down the bacon while the spaghetti cooks in salted boiling water. From there, mix together liberal amounts of grated cheese and ground black pepper with several egg yolks.

Once the bacon and spaghetti are cooked, remove them from direct heat and combine everything in one pot. Although people swap in all kinds of pasta shapes, this dish is best suited to spaghetti because their large surface area relative to their volume makes them perfect to bring the egg to the right, creamy consistency.

Spaghetti Relatives

While spaghetti gets most of the press when it comes to Italian pasta dishes, there are a number of Italian pasta shapes that could easily be swapped in the next time you want to make a recipe that calls for long noodles.

  • Spaghettoni - Thicker than your standard spaghetti, they take a little more cooking time
  • Spaghettini - Thinner than normal spaghetti and cooks quickly
  • Capellini - Also called "angel hair" pasta, these thin noodles cook in less than 5 minutes
  • Linguine - Long spaghetti-like noodles that are wide and flat
  • Mafaldine - Similar to linguine bit with ruffled sides
  • Pappardelle - Another form of flattened spaghetti, normally 2-3 centimeters wide
  • Stringozzi - Long Italian whole wheat pasta, rectangular in shape
  • Bucatini - Long cylindrical pasta, similar to thick spaghetti with a hole through the middle

Delicious Meals in Less than 20 Minutes

When it comes to easy and delicious pasta ideas, the options abound. Whether you prefer a meat sauce, creamy sauce, something between the two like a carbonara or a classic like spaghetti and meatballs, making them happen only takes a few basic sauce ingredients and about 15 minutes to spare.

For people with jam-packed schedules or lots of responsibilities to juggle at home, an even better option than these sauce recipe ideas is to get the best pre-made Italian pasta sauces to go with authentic Italian pasta. When you start with the best products, you are sure to have a great meal!