Pasta may be our go-to comfort food in cold-weather months, but it also makes for some of our favorite easy summer recipes.
As the temperature rises, trade out heavier ingredients like braised meats or long-cooked sauces for fresh vegetables, bright herbs, and seafood. Linguine and clams with olive oil, white wine, and chiles is one of the greatest classic Italian recipes, ever. For a more extravagant seafood feast, try bucatini ai frutti di mare—pasta with clams, shrimp, squid, and lobster.
Of course, the greatest culinary gift of the season is the beautiful, abundant summer produce. Our buckwheat and ricotta gnocchi are tossed in a cream sauce lightened with fresh spinach and peas while our bright summer bolognese eschews red sauce for tomatoes and fresh basil. On especially hot days, look to cool pasta salad, like our classic Greek version tossing rotini with crisp tomato, onion, cucumber, and tangy feta cheese.
Find all these dishes and more in our gallery of summer pasta recipes.
This recipe for summer bolognese has the classic comfort of bolognese, but without the heaviness of a red sauce, instead embracing the summer’s bounty of gorgeous tomatoes and fresh basil. Get the recipe for Summer Bolognese »
The North African tradition of serving almonds in savory dishes is reflected in the pesto for this dish, in which the nuts are mixed with tomatoes and basil and tossed with busiate, the traditional corkscrew-shaped pasta from Trapani. Though we call for homemade pasta, you can substitute 12 ounces of dried busiate, available from Alma Gourmet, or your favorite noodle. Get the recipe for Corkscrew Pasta with Eggplant and Tomato-Basil Pesto (Busiate con Pesto alla Trapanese) »
Buckwheat flour gives this gnocchi weightiness and an earthy flavor that pairs perfectly with a spring mix of peas and spinach. Get the recipe for Buckwheat and Ricotta Gnocchi with Cream, Peas, and Spinach »
Once served at the end of a meal—post dessert—this simple, classic Roman pasta dish has become a staple first-course across the city. Get the recipe for Spaghetti with Garlic, Olive Oil, and Peperoncino Chiles »
A combination of pesto, parmesan, and reduced cream makes a rich sauce for fettuccine or other long, thin pasta. Get the recipe for Fettuccine with Pesto Cream Sauce, Roasted Red Peppers, and Spinach »
Pasta salads are essential summer food: they travel well; they’re easy to adapt to whatever produce you have on-hand; and they’re simple to make in large portions, making them perfect dishes to carry to parties, picnics, and barbecues. Get the recipe for Sausage and Arugula Pasta Salad »
The always-comforting combination of peas, bacon, and cheese, which comes from Romeo Salta’s The Pleasures of Italian Cooking, comes together in less than half an hour. Get the recipe for Noodles with Peas (Pasta e Piselli) »
In this classic Genoese dish, fettuccine pasta is combined with string beans, baby red potatoes, and tossed with basil pesto. Get the recipe for Trenette with Pesto, Beans & Potatoes »
We like to serve this pasta topped with a little shaved bottarga, the dried salted roe of tuna or gray mullet; a sprinkle adds a briny, salty note that beautifully offsets sweet, oven roasted plum tomatoes. Get the recipe for Spaghetti with Oven-Roasted Tomatoes and Caramelized Fennel »
We whipped up this tasty dish during a trip to Venice, using fresh ingredients we found at the local markets. You won’t find Venetian scampi in this country; substitute good-quality baby shrimp. Get the recipe for Fusilli With Scampi, Cranberry, and Peas »
For a creamy texture—without the cream—Philadelphia chef Marc Vetri purées fresh, starchy corn into a thick sauce that he then tosses with smoky scallions for a succulent summer pasta. Get the recipe for Fettucine with Corn Crema and Charred Green Onions »
This classic pasta, from award-winning chef Fulvio Pierangelini at his restaurant, Irene, in Florence, Italy, is enriched with the lobsters’ coral, or roe sac. It adds a pop of briny flavor to the pasta, but can be omitted if the lobsters you buy don’t contain it. Get the recipe for Lobster Linguine with Chiles »
Carrot ribbons cooked al dente and lightly braised red endive add color to this simple vegetable-packed pasta dish, brightened with lots of lemon zest. Josita Hartanto of Berlin’s Lucky Leek uses multicolored carrots for a beautiful presentation. Get the recipe for Spaghettini with Carrots, Olives, and Red Endive »
Tangy feta and crunchy veggies get extra body from rotini in this classic Greek-inspired pasta salad. Get the recipe for Greek Pasta Salad »
Slightly bitter rapini (also known as broccoli rabe) marries well with tangy goat cheese in a pasta recipe that’s ideal for summer picnics and potlucks. Get the recipe for Orecchiette with Rapini and Goat Cheese »
Roasting garlic scapes with tomatoes and red onion sweetens them and enriches their flavor; toss them with pasta, lemon juice, and arugula for a simple summer meal. Get the recipe for Garlic Scape and Cherry Tomato Pasta »
In this adaptation of a popular southern Italian specialty, king crab legs are a meatier alternative to blue crabs. Get the recipe for Crabs and Spaghetti »
The flavors of a richly spiced Moroccan tagine come together in this pasta salad, savory and bright with olive, lemon, and cinnamon. Get the recipe for Moroccan Pasta Salad »
Tender gnocchi tossed with a classic pesto genovese is a popular first course in Liguria. Get the recipe for Gnocchi al Pesto »
This homemade fettuccine is simply tossed with heirloom tomatoes and basil. Get the recipe for Fettuccine with Heirloom Tomatoes »
As olive oil mingles with white wine and sweet clams in this classic pasta dish, it creates a fragrant sauce that coats the pasta. Get the recipe for Linguine with Clams and Chiles »