18 Summery Pasta Recipes to Make for Dinner

updated May 1, 2019
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When you want a dinner that still involves some cooking during the summer, pasta will always be your best bet. With all the types of pasta and additional ingredients you can mix in, pasta is an infinitely versatile dinner that can help you clear out your fridge or try a new ingredient without worry.

To get your mouth watering and your culinary creative juices flowing, here are 18 perfect-for-summer pasta dishes to enjoy now.

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Adding almonds to your pasta dish might not be the first thing that comes to mind, but it can add a bit of crunch and protein to this vegetarian dish.

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There’s no bad time to fix a pot of penne alla vodka. It’s a classic pasta dish that is good year-round, and our version adds in some crispy pancetta for an extra kick of flavor.

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Pasta, sausage, and greens — has there ever been a better dinner combination? We’d be hard pressed to find one. This dish is completely customizable depending on what you have in your fridge or available at the farmers market.

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We love using orecchiette for pasta salad since it cooks more evenly than bow-tie pasta, and is easier to scoop up a couple of them with the other ingredients on your fork. With this eggplant version, start with a block of feta and crumble it yourself for the freshest taste.

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Pasta is a total crowd-pleaser — especially when it’s a vibrant shade of fuchsia like this dish made with beet pesto. Just be careful, as this pesto will stain your clothes.

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Putting tortellini in a pasta salad is one of our favorite tricks. Why? Because it’s an easy way to add cheese (or cheese and spinach) without a lot of extra prep work.

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This traditional Italian pasta dish is called pizzoccheri. It has simple, hearty ingredients and plenty of butter for delicious results.

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If you want to class up pasta night, make this dish complete with freshly cooked shrimp and a garlicky, buttery white wine sauce.

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Fresh ricotta and fresh basil make all the difference in this lemony pasta dish. You can use any small-shaped pasta, but we’re partial to long and tubular strozzapreti.

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This pasta salad is one of the easiest dishes to whip up. Toss together cooked bow-tie pasta with broccoli florets, crumbled feta, and an oil and red wine vinegar dressing, and let it marinate in the fridge.

(Image credit: Faith Durand)

If you want comfort food, this simple pasta bake is the one to try — especially if you can use fresh spinach and greens from your farmers market or CSA.

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Simple noodles and garlic-lemon chicken are the perfect base for this salty, briny pasta salad.

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The cracked black pepper really gives this dish a punch of flavor, so don’t be shy about adding more. If you can’t find chard, you can use any other hearty green.

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For the nights when you need a quick meal, reach for a package of fresh pasta and some olives from your grocery store’s antipasti bar. Tossing the hot pasta with the olives, oil, and a few veggies and herbs makes for an instant meal.

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Don’t waste your time boiling pasta before you bake it into this chicken and tomato casserole. Not convinced? This dish also includes a “cheesy basil topping” made with breadcrumbs.

(Image credit: Coco Morante)

Aside from tuna-noodle casserole, you don’t normally see tuna mixed in with your pasta dishes, but this pasta salad will change your mind. The roasted red peppers and tuna are only made better by the addition of fresh oregano.

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You’ll want tomatoes that are as fresh as possible for this dish, mostly because this recipe is so simple and you’ll want the flavors to really shine.

(Image credit: Kimberley Hasselbrink)

Finally, if you’re looking for an out-of-the-ordinary pasta dish with unexpected flavors, look no further that this one. The creamy tahini sauce is a refreshing change from traditional pasta sauces.