Easy dinner recipes: Three simple pasta ideas in 30 minutes or less

Pasta dishes
(Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

Keep it fast and easy with dinner tonight. These three pasta recipes, perfect for Meatless Monday, come together in 30 minutes or less:

Shell pasta salad with lemon zest: Sweet cherry tomatoes and vibrant zucchini strips lend bright colors to this pasta salad, and the fresh lemon zest adds a nice zing. The pasta salad comes together in minutes, the flavors rounded out with fresh chopped basil and rich Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Spaghetti with crushed black pepper and pecorino cheese: Why clutter pasta with sauces and too many add-ins when you can keep it simple? A little fresh cracked pepper and grated cheese is all it takes to turn basic noodles into a tempting dish. 

Tagliolini al limone: You’ll love the simplicity of this dish: 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. You can find the recipe below.



Total time: About 30 minutes | Serves 4
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 saute 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 among 4 to 6 serving bowls and ladle the sauce evenly over the servings. Divide the cheese among the portions, sprinkling it evenly over the sauce, and top each serving with a few grinds of black 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.

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