If you’re looking for simple pasta dishes, perfect for speedy after school dinners then why not try one of these three easy pasta recipes?
We all have those days when we haven’t thought about what’s for dinner until dinner time. What do you do? Well, apart from making a sandwich, many of us turn to pasta. I certainly do this, especially with my youngest child who loves pasta.
So, when Barilla challenged me to come up with three easy pasta recipes using their pastas and sauces, I was delighted to see what I could come up with. And maybe, if I was really lucky, would I be able to make something to tempt my older non-pasta loving child too?
Barilla makes Italy’s number one pasta in a wide range of traditional and wholewheat shapes. As I tried out the pastas I realised how ignorant I’ve been about pasta until now. I usually buy penne but I’d never thought about how some penne is smooth on the outside and some has little ridges to catch more of the sauce. Now I know which one I’ll be buying in the future!
I was really impressed by the sauces too. They are made from traditional recipes and contain 100% Italian tomatoes with no added preservatives. They tasted very natural and definitely helped when making these three easy pasta recipes. Not only are these pasta recipes easy, they are absolutely delicious too!
Lamb, Mint and Feta Meatballs with Olive Pasta Sauce
My children both love olives and my first recipe was inspired by Greek flavours and so I decided to use the olive sauce which is a tomato based sauce but with green and black olives in it as well as capers. I hoped the stronger flavours in the olive sauce would go well with the lamb and feta meatballs and they did. The meatballs were delicious and so quick to make. You might think meatballs take time but you can roll them into balls really quickly and then they cook in the same time it takes for the pasta to cook. These meatballs are so delicious I promise you’ll think they’re worth it.
Ingredients – Serves 4
- 400g lamb mince
- 75g feta cheese, crumbled or cubed
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
- 1 egg
- 300g Barilla spaghetti
- 1 jar Barilla Olive pasta sauce
How to Make Lamb, Mint and Feta Meatballs with Olive Pasta Sauce
- Heat a large frying pan with a little oil. Put the lamb, feta, mint and egg into a bowl and mix together with your hands. Form into meatballs and put them into the frying pan. Turn them over when they are crisp underneath.
- At the same time, cook the pasta according to the pack instructions.
- When the pasta is ready, drain and stir in the pasta sauce. Heat through.
- When the meatballs are ready, take them out of the frying pan and put on a plate covered with kitchen roll to soak up any excess fat.
- Either serve the meatballs on top of the pasta or stir them into the sauce.
Cheesy Roasted Vegetable and Pasta Bake
My next recipe is a roasted vegetable and pasta bake and I promise you, with just a little forward planning, it really is quick to get on the table. The beauty of this recipe is that you can prepare the different elements in advance, even the night before and then just heat it through in the oven before serving. Just put the vegetables in the oven to roast whenever is convenient and after they’ve cooled, leave in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble the dish. You can cook the pasta in advance too. Once it’s ready, stir in a little olive oil to prevent it sticking together. It’s then just a matter of assembling the ingredients and baking when you’re ready to eat it. We loved it and it will definitely become a regular mealtime choice.
Ingredients – Serves 4
- 2 aubergines, sliced lengthwise
- 1 orange pepper, sliced
- 250g mushrooms, sliced in half
- 70g mozzarella ball, diced into 1 cm pieces
- 160g Barilla Pasta, I used Barilla Mezze Penne Tricolore
- 1 jar Barilla Tomato and Basil Pasta Sauce
- 100g grated mozzarella
How to Make Cheesy Roasted Vegetable Pasta Bake
- Toss the vegetables in a little olive oil and roast in the oven for 20 minutes.
- Cook the pasta until al dente.
- Stir the pasta sauce into the pasta and stir to coat all the pasta.
- Put the roasted vegetables in an ovenproof dish and dot pieces of the mozzarella ball on top. Then add a layer of pasta and top with the grated mozzarella.
- Put in the oven at 180C for 20 minutes if freshly made and the ingredients are still warm/hot or 35-40 minutes if it’s been in the fridge.
Chorizo and Pepper Arrabbiata
My third dish takes one of my favourite ingredients – chorizo – and pairs it with my favourite Italian pasta sauce – arrabbiata. My children also love chorizo and the flavours in this are guaranteed to make everyone happy. I usually like to add a few extra vegetables to my pasta and for this dish I’ve chosen red peppers as they go so well with both the chorizo and the arrabbiata sauce. This is a truly simple dish and I wouldn’t be surprised if it becomes that standby pasta dish you keep on making for years to come.
Ingredients – Serves 2
- 160g Barilla pasta, I used Barilla Tortiglioni pasta
- 2 cooking chorizo sausages, sliced in half lengthwise
- 1 red pepper, sliced into strips
- About 16 cherry tomatoes
- Jar of Barilla Arrabbiata pasta sauce
- Parmesan to serve (optional)
How to Make Chorizo Arrabbiata
- Fry the chorizo for about 4 minutes on each side until it browns.
- Put the pasta on to boil while the chorizo is frying. It will take about 10-12 minutes.
- Remove the chorizo from the pan and place on kitchen paper to mop up any excess oil. Add the peppers. Cook for about 3 minutes then add the whole cherry tomatoes. Cook Just until the tomatoes begin to split but not break down.
- When the pasta is ready, drain, put back in the pan and stir in the jar of sauce.
- Serve topped with a little parmesan.
Finally, did I tempt my oldest child to eat the pasta? Unfortunately not, but she did enjoy the meatballs and chorizo and my littlest one ate everything.
Disclosure: This post was commissioned by Barilla but the recipes and opinions are my own.