Dinner doesn't get much more simple than a bowl of pasta, but why serve it with a plain old red sauce? Get creative with these recipe options. Each features a handful of ingredients, and the dishes come together in 30 minutes or less!
Love shrimp? Fresh and bright with large shrimp, tomatoes, mushrooms, garlic and a sprinkling of fresh parsley, Capellini al gamberetti, a pasta dish from Napoli restaurant in Loma Linda, doesn't get any easier. Make it in less than 30 minutes.
Breadcrumbs work magic here: A touch of fresh-toasted bread crumbs can literally transform a dish, whether sprinkling them over vegetables or gratins, they even work magic drizzled over desserts. And they can elevate a simple pasta dish, too, as Food editor Russ Parsons shows in this amazing (and simple) recipe for spaghetti with arugula and garlic bread crumbs.
Hit bright notes with basil and lemon: Fresh basil and a touch of lemon are infused with a little heavy cream, which is cooked down just until it thickens, and is poured over pasta. Topped with fresh-grated Parmesan and fresh-cracked pepper, it makes for a remarkably easy but elegant meal.
For more ideas, click through our easy dinner recipes gallery and check out our Dinner Tonight page, devoted to recipes that can be made in an hour or less. Looking for a particular type of recipe? Comment below, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NAPOLI'S CAPELLINI AL GAMBERETTI
Total time: 25 minutes
Note: Adapted from Napoli Italian Restaurant in Loma Linda
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound large (16 to 20 count) shrimp, peeled and cleaned
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 pound sliced mushrooms
1 cup diced tomatoes
1 cup drained jarred artichokes
Salt and pepper
1/2 pound capellini (angel hair) pasta, cooked al dente in salted water
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
1. Heat a 12- to 14-inch sauté pan over medium-high heat until hot. Add the olive oil, shrimp and garlic and cook, tossing or stirring frequently until the shrimp is just cooked, about 2 minutes.
2. Add the mushrooms, tomatoes and artichokes and continue to cook until the mushrooms are softened, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
3. Stir in the pasta and parsley, and toss to combine and warm the pasta. Remove from heat and serve immediately.
Each serving: 519 calories; 29 grams protein; 50 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams fiber; 22 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 168 mg cholesterol; 4 grams sugar; 328 mg sodium.
SPAGHETTI WITH ARUGULA AND GARLIC BREAD CRUMBS
Total time: 30 minutes
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
1 clove garlic, split in half lengthwise
1 pound spaghetti
1/2 cup finely chopped arugula
1. Combine the bread crumbs in a small saucepan with the garlic and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Stir to coat well; there should be only a light trace of oil in the bottom of the pan. Season with a pinch of salt and place over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the crumbs have darkened and toasted, about 5 minutes. Transfer them to a small bowl and set them aside to cool slightly. When cool, discard garlic.
2. Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of liberally salted, rapidly boiling water. When it is tender but still slightly chewy, drain it and combine it in a mixing bowl with 2 tablespoons olive oil and the chopped arugula. Add 5 tablespoons toasted bread crumbs and toss to coat well.
3. Divide among 4 to 6 shallow pasta bowls. Sprinkle with the remaining bread crumbs and Parmigiano-Reggiano to taste. Serve immediately.
Each of 6 servings: 370 calories; 10 grams protein; 58 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams fiber; 10 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 0 cholesterol; 2 grams sugar; 48 mg sodium.
ANGELINI OSTERIA'S TAGLIOLINI AL LIMONE
Total time: About 30 minutes
Note: Adapted from Angelini Osteria in Los Angeles
1/2 pound tagliolini pasta
2 tablespoons butter
8 large basil leaves, julienned
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Fresh ground black pepper
Lemon wedges, garnish
1. Cook the pasta: In a large bowl of salted boiling water, add the pasta. Cook until al dente according to the package instructions. Drain the pasta.
2. While the pasta is cooking, start to make the sauce: In a medium sauté pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the basil and cook, stirring frequently, until aromatic, about 3 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and continue to cook until the lemon juice is reduced by half. Reduce the heat to low and add the cream. Slowly cook the cream until it thickens to a sauce consistency, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
3. Divide the pasta between 4 to 6 serving bowls and ladle the sauce evenly over the servings. Divide the cheese between the portions, sprinkling it evenly over the sauce, and top each serving with a few grinds of pepper. Serve each portion with a lemon wedge on the side.
Each serving: 490 calories; 9 grams protein; 45 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 30 grams fat; 19 grams saturated fat; 101 mg cholesterol; 2 grams sugar; 59 mg. sodium.