These 5-Ingredient Pantry Pastas Practically Make Themselves

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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Welcome to Snapshot Cooking, the home of Kitchn’s easiest recipes. These mini recipes are so simple you can practically cook from the before-and-after snapshot itself.

Pasta is the ultimate weeknight dinner. Not only is it exactly the kind of satisfying bowl we crave after a long day, but more importantly, it’s easy to make with whatever’s in the pantry. If you have a box of dry spaghetti or a bag of frozen ravioli and a few odds and ends in your pantry, fridge, or freezer, I guarantee you have a pretty spectacular dinner on your hands (even if it might not appear that way at first glance).

These five pantry pastas prove my point. They combine pasta with four common pantry ingredients to make a meal that’s more inspired than buttered noodles — but equally as easy and just as comforting.

5 Snapshot Recipes for 5-Ingredient Pantry Pastas

  • Each recipe calls for five ingredients, all of which are basic pantry items that are found in regular grocery stores.
  • We assume you have olive oil, salt, and pepper, so those aren’t included in our ingredient count.
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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Linguine with Cheesy Breadcrumbs

Cook 1 pound dried linguine in a large pot of boiling salted water according to package directions until just barely al dente. Reserve 1 cup cooking water; drain pasta and set aside. Heat a splash of olive oil in a large skillet over medium. Add 1 cup panko breadcrumbs; sauté until lightly browned. Transfer to a small bowl; stir in 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese.

Add a generous drizzle of olive oil to the skillet along with 4 sliced garlic cloves and a big pinch red pepper flakes. Sauté for 1 minute until fragrant. Add the pasta and a big splash or two of the cooking water; toss until sauce thickens and coats the pasta, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the cheesy breadcrumbs. Top with chopped fresh parsley, if desired.

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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Gnocchi Puttanesca

Cook 1 pound fresh or frozen potato gnocchi in a large pot of salted boiling water according to package directions. Drain and set aside. Warm 1 (24-ounce) jar marinara sauce in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Stir in 1/2 cup pitted, chopped Kalamata olives, 2 tablespoons capers, and a splash of red wine vinegar. Add the gnocchi, toss to combine, and serve with chopped fresh parsley, if desired.

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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Ravioli Florentine

Cook 1 pound fresh or frozen cheese ravioli in a large pot of boiling salted water according to package directions until al dente. Drain and set aside. Melt 1 stick unsalted butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the butter browns, about 3 minutes. Stir in 2 cloves minced garlic and sauté 30 seconds more. Remove from heat and add ravioli and 2 cups bagged frozen spinach. Toss for a minute or two to defrost the spinach. Serve topped with plenty of grated Parmesan cheese.

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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Creamy Pesto Penne & Peas

Cook 1 pound dried penne in a large pot of salted boiling water according to package directions until al dente. Drain and return to the pot. Add 1/4 cup jarred basil pesto, 1/4 cup whole-milk plain Greek yogurt, 1 cup frozen peas, and the zest and juice of a small lemon. Toss to evenly combine. Serve topped with chopped fresh basil, if desired.

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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Sesame Spaghetti

Cook 1 pound dried spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water according to package directions until al dente. Reserve 1 cup cooking water. Drain pasta; return to pot. Add 1/3 cup tahini, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, a generous drizzle of Sriracha, and 2 tablespoons chopped salted peanuts. Toss to combine, adding a splash of cooking water to loosen the sauce, if needed. Add more Sriracha to taste. Serve with chopped scallions, if desired.

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