The 6 Fastest Italian Dinners on the Planet
These simple recipes for classic meals let you have a home-cooked Sunday dinner on a busy Wednesday night.
The No-Bake Lasagna
Mario Batali's no-layering, no-stress dish treats lasagna noodles the same as any other pasta. The chef boils the sheets until they're al dente and then tosses them with a five-minute tomato sauce flavored with olive paste (which you can buy or easily make) and pitted green olives.
Get the recipe: Not-Baked Lasagne
The Throw-in-Whatever-You-Have Clam Sauce
Jenny Rosenstrach, who writes the blog Dinner: A Love Story
, which inspired a book with the same name, counts this quick seafood pasta as one of her go-to weeknight suppers. All you need is spaghetti, an onion or a shallot, garlic, olive oil, littleneck clams and a half-cup of white wine. Fresh herbs, tomatoes and corn are nice but definitely not necessary.
Get the recipe: Spaghetti with Clams
The Complete-Meal Pasta
There's no reason to make a salad or anything else when you have this dish, which combines tender rigatoni, browned sausage and crisp broccoli rabe in a bright pesto sauce. Although whizzing walnuts, basil, garlic, and olive oil in a food processor takes just minutes, if you're really pressed, store-bought is more than fine.
Get the recipe: Pasta with Walnut Pesto, Sausage and Broccoli Rabe
Meatballs That Don't Take All Afternoon
Chicken meatballs are lighter than beef or pork, and deliver deep, savory flavor, thanks to fennel seed, black pepper, parsley and white wine. This recipe calls for baking the golf-ball-size rounds in a 450° oven for 14 minutes instead of frying them, which makes cleanup about a zillion times easier.
Get the recipe: Chicken Meatballs
A Cheater Homemade Pizza You'll Be Proud Of
We're all about repurposing leftovers, but one use that had escaped us—until now—is pizza. Pita, pizza dough or wheat tortillas all work for the crust; top them with whatever extras you have. A container of tomato sauce? Just add mozzarella and red chili flakes. Roasted vegetables? Layer shaved Pecorino Romano over them. Any kind of cooked greens, from kale to spinach? Throw on some sliced Spanish chorizo and crumbled blue cheese.
Get the recipe: Gigi "Skizza" with Arugula Pesto, Ricotta and Chicken
Photo: Food & Wine/Frances Janisch
Shrimp Scampi, the Ultimate Weeknight Supper
There's no point in taking shortcuts when it comes to this buttery, garlicky Italian-restaurant classic—it's inherently speedy. The shellfish cooks in 10 minutes, and the ingredient list is blessedly short: butter, garlic, herbs, and lemon zest and juice. Add a loaf of crusty bread and you've got supper.
Get the recipe: Sizzling Shrimp Scampi
Next: Sauces that cook while the pasta does