What to Eat: Spring Pastas

Pasta isn’t just for those cold, wintery nights—these recipes pack seasonal flavors into dishes that are perfect for the many warm, summery days ahead.

This week, the site What The F--- Should I Make For Dinner? went viral, and with good reason. “What should I make for dinner?” (with or without the expletive) is a familiar refrain among working Americans around the five o’clock hour, and the answer is never as simple as it seems. Here at Cookstr, we thought long and hard about our most common answers, and we settled on a few adjectives, if not actual dishes: light, easy, quick, and seasonal are all things we crave on a weeknight. And so we settled on the age-old solution of pasta. In the time it takes to boil water and cook dry pasta to al dente, a fresh seasonal sauce can be prepared using ingredients in the fridge and anything lying around in the pantry. A few quick grates of Parmesan and dinner can be on the table in less than 30 minutes. And just like that, the question is answered.

Pasta Salad with Salmon, Peas, and Herbs by Ellie Krieger

A Food Network star sates your appetite with a spring-perfect salmon recipe that is as healthy as it is delicious.

Cream sauce is a little heavy for a weeknight meal, but creamy sauce is totally acceptable. The key to this dish’s luxurious sauce is Greek yogurt, which is perfectly thick and tangy, and pairs beautifully with rich salmon. And though peas are in season now, frozen peas are a suitable time-saving substitute.

Click here for the recipe.

Orecchiette with Asparagus, Ricotta, and Prosciutto by Diane Rossen Worthington

Broaden your pasta horizons with this funky, filling noodle dish from a two-time James Beard Award recipient.

One of the keys to a great pasta dish is matching the pasta shape with the sauce. Orecchiette, which means “little ears” in Italian, have a small indent that’s just the right size for containing the bits of asparagus and prosciutto that are the stars of this dish.

Click here for the recipe.

Fettuccine with Spring Vegetables by Giuliano Hazan

As the son of one of the greatest names in Italian cooking, Marcella Hazan, this chef knows a thing or two about pasta—and just one bite of this robust creation will prove it.

Also known as Fettuccine Primavera, this is one of those pasta dishes that is so easy to prepare at home you’ll never order it at a restaurant again. A medley of spring vegetables—including asparagus, peppers, and squash—is sautéed until soft, bringing out their rich flavors, then cloaked in just enough cream to make a Wednesday night feel like a Saturday.

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Click here for the recipe.

Mediterranean Orzo Pilaf by Sara Moulton

A celebrity chef brings you a fun and flavorful dish that will make you a star at your next dinner party, paparazzi not included.

Of all the pastas, orzo may win the prize for most overlooked. Easier to cook than risotto, more toothsome than couscous, orzo is in fact one of the greatest pastas, as it can be paired with nearly any combination of fantastic ingredients. Here, orzo is prepared with artichoke hearts, olives, dill, lemon zest, and garlic, but shrimp or scallops can easily be added to make this a super-satisfying meal.

Click here for the recipe.

Farfalle with Carbonara and Spring Peas by Jamie Oliver

Forget spaghetti and meatballs, this recipe from one of the culinary world’s most entertaining Brits will leave you full and still able to fit into that skimpy swimsuit.

Spell-check the word “carbonara” and your computer’s first suggestion is likely “coronary” (no joke). While no one wants to follow a quick weeknight dinner with a heart attack, the appeal of this simple dish is undeniable. Pancetta, peas, and mint form the base of the sauce, and a raw egg is added to the hot pasta at the last minute to form a silky sauce in the way that only an egg can.

Click here for the recipe.

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