This pasta is all about simplicity. Front and center in this recipe are the nutty flavor of the pecorino romano, the bite of the black pepper along with the great chew of the spaghetti. Since there are only a few ingredients, use your favorite pasta and the most flavorful cheese you can get. (Adapted from Cooks Illustrated)
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I normally associate lasagna with summer veggies. This is a great winter version, that uses butternut squash, Kale and mushrooms along with the warm flavors of nutmeg, sage and thyme to create an earthy and filling lasagna to be enjoyed as the snow falls and summer is a distant memory.

Pasta Puttanesca

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Pasta Puttanesca This is a great pantry pasta that you can pull together in no time, with ingredients that you likely have sitting around in your house. I love the salty and spicy ingredients here, like capers, olives, anchovies and red pepper flakes, that give this pasta its kick. Feel free to include your own additions or take out those that don’t suit you.
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If you want a pasta dish that is a little off the beaten path and beautiful, this is the one! The pasta turns bright purple from the beets and the white ricotta on top creates a bright contrast. I’m calling this a pesto, but it has a very different flavor profile from your standard basil/garlic/pine nut pesto. The beets and walnuts, along with the sundried tomatoes create an earthy depth of flavor – but don’t leave out the ricotta on top. It really rounds out the dish with a creaminess that pulls it all together.
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Have you ever made a pasta dish where you cook the pasta in the sauce itself? The advantage of this method is the pasta absorbs so many good flavors, instead of just pouring the sauce on top and coating it. This is a relatively simple sauce and the spinach adds great color and a deep flavor – I always add extra spinach, to get the extra veggies in and make this a full dinner. (Adapted from Cooking Light)

Hungarian Cabbage and Noodles

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This is a simple Hungarian weeknight pasta meal. Instead of the traditional tomato based pastas that so many of us are used to, this pasta gets its flavor from the sweet carmelized onions and salty sautéed cabbage that get mixed in with the noodles. When I make this, I like to have almost equal ratio of cabbage/onions to noodles. The cabbage and onions are the best part!
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Sometimes the best pasta dishes are the simple ones, with a few powerful ingredients. This dish uses anchovies, which impart a deep (but not fishy flavor) and lots of garlic and some pepper flakes for a kick. The spinach and the breadcrumbs add some additional brightness and crunch. And the best thing is, you can throw this pasta dinner together in the last minute.
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Butternut squash and Sage are a classic fall combination. This pasta dinner with carmelized butternut squash, leeks and crispy sage, topped with parmesan cheese has that great combination of salty and sweet.

Easy Rolled Manicotti

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This is the only way to make manicotti, as far as I’m concerned. Thanks to this hack from Cooks Illustrated, instead of stuffing cheese filling into already cooked noodles, this manicotti uses softened no-bake lasagna sheets, into which you roll the filling. Once you make this Manicotti, with its creamy ricotta basil filling, and topped with marinara and gooey mozzarella, you too will be sold on this method. Serve this with steamed broccoli and your meal is complete!

Mac ‘N Cheese

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Mac n cheese is THE comfort food, for both kids and adults. This mac n cheese has all of the creaminess of your standard recipe, but instead of cream, you can use skim milk or any reduced fat milk you have. To add some color, throw in some frozen peas at the end. And you can also flake in some tuna, if you want to turn this into tuna mac n cheese.