Stuck in a rut with the same old jar of pasta sauce? Want to make your weeknight staple extra special but pressed for time? Up your supper game with some fresh pasta and one of our favourite speedy combos – all on the table in under 20 minutes.
1. Tapenade & goat’s cheese
Serves 4 Prep 5 mins Cook 5 minsStir 100g of tapenade through 500g cooked fresh spaghetti and season. Crumble 100g goats cheese, a few thyme leaves and a handful of pitted black olives over the top before serving with a rocket salad.
Make your own black olive tapenade.
2. Spaghetti alle vongole
Serves 4 Prep 10 mins Cook 10 minsPour 2 tbsp olive oil into a large saucepan and add 3 crushed garlic cloves, 2 finely chopped red chillies and 140g cherry tomatoes. Fry for 3-4 mins then add 1kg clams and 100ml dry white wine then quickly pop the lid on. Cook for 3-4 mins, shaking the pan occasionally until all or most of the clams have opened. Discard any that don’t open. Boil 400g fresh linguine for 4 mins (or following pack instructions), drain and add to the clams, tossing well in the pan juices. Chop up a large bunch of flat-leaf parsley and scatter over the top just before serving.
Full recipe: Spaghetti alle vongole
Prepping clams – top tip
Sort through the clams and get rid of those with broken shells. Tap any clams that are open on the work surface – if they don’t close, throw them away. Wash the remaining clams in two changes of cold water.
3. Spicy fennel linguine with sardines and capers
Serves 2 Prep 10 mins Cook 10 minsDrain the oil from 120g can sardines piccanti (in chilli-infused oil) into a large frying pan over a medium heat and use it to soften 1 large sliced fennel bulb, 2 sliced cloves of garlic, and the zest of 1 lemon for around 10 mins. Boil and drain 250g fresh linguine, reserving a little of the cooking water. Tip the sardines (and the whole chillies from the can, if you like) onto the fennel mixture, with 1 tbsp capers, and a handful chopped flat-leaf parsley, the cooked pasta and 2 tbsp lemon juice. Season to taste. If the pasta seems a little dry, add 2 tbsp of the cooking water and stir gently. Pile onto plates and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, if you like.
Full recipe: Spicy fennel linguine with sardines and capers
4. Courgette and lemon linguine
Serves 4 Prep 8 mins Cook 5 minsCook 400g fresh linguine following the pack instructions, drain then tip back into the pan. Add 3 coarsely grated courgettes, 3 tbsp olive oil, 1 clove crushed garlic, zest 1 lemon, a pinch of chilli flakes and a handful of fresh basil leaves. Toss everything together, season well and serve with more basil leaves and a drizzle of olive oil over the top.
Full recipe: Courgette and lemon linguine
5. Marmite and pancetta spaghetti
Serves 4 Prep 5 mins Cook 10 minsHeat 1 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan, add 200g diced pancetta and fry for 8-10 mins or until crispy. Cook and drain 500g fresh spaghetti, saving some of the pasta cooking water. Tip the pasta back into the pan with a splash of pasta water, pancetta, a knob of butter, 2 tsp Marmite and 50g grated cheddar. Use tongs to coat the spaghetti in the sauce and season with a little black pepper. Serve in bowls with grated Parmesan sprinkled over the top.
Full recipe: Marmite and pancetta spaghetti
6. Avocado and smoked salmon spaghetti
Serves 2 Prep 5 mins Cook 10 minsBlend the flesh of 1 ripe avocado in a food processor along with 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 1 garlic clove, a handful of chopped fresh parsley, a squeeze of lemon juice and a good pinch of salt and pepper until very smooth. Boil 200g fresh wholemeal or spelt spaghetti following pack instructions and hold back 100ml of cooking water. Drain the pasta and add the avocado sauce, pasta water and 100g smoked salmon trimmings and toss everything together to coat the pasta. Scatter over more chopped parsley before serving.
Full recipe: Avocado & smoked salmon spelt spaghetti
7. Garlic butter prawns
Serves 2 Prep 10 mins Cook 10 minsVery gently cook 2-3 chopped garlic cloves in 50g butter in a pan until softened. Add 175g pack raw shelled king prawns and cook until they just turn from grey to pink. It is important not to overcook them or they will be tough. Remove from the heat and stir in the zest of 1 lemon and seasoning. Boil and drain 200g fresh linguine and stir into the prawn mixture with a small chopped pack of parsley, until well mixed. Divide between two bowls and serve with lemon wedges.
Full recipe: Linguine with garlic butter prawns
8. Creamy salmon & chive bows
Serves 4 Prep 5 mins Cook 10 minsBoil 350g fresh fusilli or farfalle pasta following the pack instructions. Once cooked, drain and reserve some of the pasta water. Pour the water and cooked pasta back into a pan along with 200g light soft cheese, squeeze of lemon juice, 145g gravadlax or smoked salmon (torn into pieces) and a pinch of black pepper. Stir and heat gently then sprinkle with a few chopped chives.
Full recipe: Creamy salmon & chive bows
9. Instant meatballs with penne pasta
Serves 2 Prep 10 mins Cook 10 minsSqueeze 3 fat sausages from their skins, then roughly break the meat into 12 pieces. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large frying pan, add the sausage pieces then cook until golden for about 5 mins. Add in 250g spinach and cook with the sausage until the leaves wilt. Season with salt and pepper then add 3 tbsp toasted pine nuts. Boil 200g fresh penne pasta following the pack instructions, drain and add to the sausage mixture then stir in 25g of grated Parmesan. Serve with another 25g grated Parmesan sprinkled over the top.Full recipe: Instant meatballs with penne pasta
10. Tortellini & pesto minestrone
Serves 4 Prep 5 mins Cook 5 mins
Bring 1.5 litres of strong vegetable stock to the boil in a large pan. Tip in 500g spinach & ricotta tortellini and cook for the time stated on the pack. With 1-2 mins to go on the pasta cooking time add 500g shredded spring greens, 140g fresh or frozen peas and 4 tbsp pesto. Season and serve the soup when the vegetables are tender and the broth is piping hot.
Full recipe: Tortellini & pesto minestrone
What’s your favourite quick pasta recipe? Let us know in the comments below…