7 Easy, Family-Friendly Pasta Recipes That Take Just 20 Minutes

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If lunch or dinner prep takes much longer than you’d like, it’s time to become BFFs with the pasta aisle at your local supermarket. Since pasta is the type of food you can leave to cook while doing other things nearby, you’ll likely have the energy to be creative with sauces or mix-ins, and many aren’t time-consuming at all. Below, seven family-friendly pasta recipes courtesy of PastaFits.org to get you started, from a seafood pasta to a vegan take on a classic—and all of them take just 20 minutes or less total to prep and cook.

Total Time (Prep + Cook): under 20 minutes

Serves 4

4 oz spaghetti or 12 oz cooked leftover spaghetti or other pasta
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cups/8 oz finely chopped onion
2 cups/8 oz finely chopped red pepper
8 eggs, well-beaten
1 Tbsp sriracha or other hot sauce, or to taste
¼ oz chopped parsley

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Cook the spaghetti according to package directions. Drain and reserve. If using leftover, just have it ready.
  2. Heat a large nonstick sauté pan over medium heat. Add the oil, and sauté the onions and peppers until softened and starting to brown, about 3 minutes. Stir in the eggs and sriracha and continue to move everything in the pan using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to scramble the eggs.
  3. When eggs are mostly cooked but still look a little wet, stir in the spaghetti, about 3 minutes. Continue to cook until the eggs are done and the spaghetti is warmed through, about 2 minutes more.
  4. Divide between 4 bowls, and sprinkle with parsley.

Total Time (Prep + Cook): 20 minutes

Serves 4

6 oz campanelle
8 oz mustard greens, tough stems removed, roughly torn or chopped
6 oz pancetta, roughly chopped
¼ cup/1 oz sliced garlic
4 tsp/~½ oz lemon juice
3 Tbsp/1 oz toasted pine nuts

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Cook the campanelle according to package directions. Two minutes before it’s ready, add the mustard greens. Cook for the last two minutes. Drain and reserve.
  2. Heat a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Add the pancetta and cook until the fat has rendered and the meat is golden and crisp. Add the garlic, and cook until aromatic and starting to brown.
  3. Toss with the reserved pasta and mustard greens. Heat through and drizzle with lemon juice. Divide between 4 bowls, and sprinkle with pine nuts.

Total Time (Prep + Cook): 20 minutes

Serves 4

4 oz wide egg noodles
2 Tbsp/1 oz vegetable oil
12 oz beef tenderloin, sliced into approximately ¼” by 2” strips
1 cup/4 oz onion, thinly sliced
1 ½ cups/6 oz button mushrooms, thinly sliced
¼ cup/2 oz cognac
1 cup/8oz no-sodium added beef stock
1 Tbsp/½ oz Dijon
¾ cup/6 oz Greek yogurt
2 Tbsp/½ oz dill, finely chopped
1 tsp paprika

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Cook the egg noodles according to package directions. Drain and reserve.
  2. Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Toss the beef with salt and pepper to taste. Heat the oil, and sauté beef just long enough to get some browning, about 1 minute per side. Remove to a plate.
  3. Add the onion and mushroom to the pan. Cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the cognac. Add the beef stock and Dijon. Cook until reduced by about one quarter. Off heat, stir in the yogurt, dill and reserved beef.
  4. Divide noodles between 4 bowls. Top with Stroganoff. Sprinkle with paprika.

Total Time (Prep + Cook): 20 minutes

Serves 4

4 oz cavatappi
2 Tbsp/1 oz vegetable oil
1 lb fennel, white part only, thinly sliced
20 each/20 oz “dry” sea scallops
¼ cup/1 oz finely chopped shallots
½ cup/4 oz white wine
¼ cup/2 oz heavy cream
3 Tbsp finely chopped dill

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Cook the cavatappi according to package directions. Drain and reserve.
  2. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add 1 Tbsp of the oil. Add the fennel and season with salt and pepper. Cook, allowing the fennel to caramelize on one side, about 3 minutes, before flipping and doing the same on the second side. It should be caramelized on the outside and soft on the inside when pierced with a knife. Remove from pan.
  3. Add the remaining 1 Tbsp of oil to the pan. Increase heat to high. Season the scallops with salt and pepper. Place them in the pan in a single layer. If they don’t fit, do them in 2 batches. Do not overcrowd the pan. Allow scallops to brown on one side, about 1 minute, then flip and brown the second side. Remove from pan.
  4. Add the shallots to the pan and cook until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Deglaze the pan with the white wine. Cook down just to take the away the raw alcohol flavor, about 1 minute. Add the cream and cook another minute. Stir in the dill. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Add the pasta and fennel to heat through.
  5. For each serving, divide the pasta between 4 bowls. Place 5 scallops on each plate.

Total Time (Prep + Cook): 20 minutes

Serves 4

2 oz ditalini
2 Tbsp/1 oz lemon juice
½ tsp grated garlic
2 Tbsp/1 oz extra virgin olive oil
1 (5 oz) can tuna, drained
3 cups/3 oz escarole, torn or roughly chopped
1 cup/6 oz chickpeas, drained
½ cup/2 oz thinly sliced red onion

  1. Bring a small pot of salted water to the boil. Cook the ditalini according to package directions. Drain and reserve.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, whisk together the lemon juice, garlic and olive oil. Reserve.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the tuna, escarole, chickpeas, red onion and pasta. Toss with the pasta. Taste and adjust seasoning. Divide between 4 bowls.

Total Time (Prep + Cook): 20 minutes

Serves 2

Pasta
4 oz spaghetti
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cracked black pepper

Cashew Parmesan
1/2 cup raw cashews
2 tsp nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp sea salt

Pasta: In large pot of boiling water, cook spaghetti according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1/3 cup cooking liquid.

Cashew Parmesan: Meanwhile, in food processor, mix together cashews, nutritional yeast, garlic powder and salt until ground. Set aside.

Toss together pasta, reserved cooking liquid, olive oil, pepper and Cashew Parmesan until pasta is well coated.

Tips

  • You can find nutritional yeast in some grocery stores, health food stores or bulk food stores.
  • Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley or chives if desired.

Total Time (Prep + Cook): 20 minutes

Serves 4

4 oz whole wheat elbow macaroni
1 Tbsp/½ oz extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup/1 oz finely chopped garlic
2 Tbsp capers
1 (28 oz) can whole tomatoes
2 cups/4 oz cooked chicken, diced
8 cups/8 oz roughly chopped spinach
1 oz Grana Padano

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Cook the spaghetti according to package directions. Drain and reserve.
  2. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil and garlic. Cook until aromatic about 30 seconds.
  3. Add the capers and tomatoes. Use a whisk or a large fork to break up the tomatoes. Heat to a simmer. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  4. Stir in the spinach and chicken. Heat chicken through and allow the spinach to wilt, about 2 minutes.
  5. Divide between 4 bowls. Grate Grana Padano over the pasta.

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