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5 Quick Meals to Satisfy Your Cheesy Pasta Cravings

Craving for pasta is no joke: you need your comfort food, and you need it now! Rightly so: this high-carb meal is a great source of energy that nourishes the body and elevates the mood. Thus, there is something to be said for a recipe that you can prepare from start to finish in under half an hour, especially when it is a mouthwatering, cheesy pasta.

It is no secret that cheese and pasta go splendidly together: whether hard or soft, strong or mild, grated, melted, cream — cheese is the best thing to happen to this staple Italian dish. Here are some easy and quick recipes for exquisite meals based on the combination of pasta and cheese. Enjoy!

Cheesy Pasta Meals

Ziti With Chicken and Cheese

cheese ziti

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp basil
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups tomato puree
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • Red pepper flakes to taste
  • 2 tbsp dried basil
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 ½ cup grated mozzarella
  • 12 oz (340 g) ziti pasta
  • Salt, pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Cut chicken into pieces, season them with garlic powder, basil, salt and pepper. Add the chicken pieces to the hot pan and cook for 2–3 minutes. Stir, then cook for 2 more minutes. Pour the tomato puree into the pan. Add crushed garlic cloves, salt and pepper, red pepper flakes, dried basil, then reduce heat and let simmer.
  3. When pasta is done, drain the water and add it to the pan. Mix in Parmesan cheese and top the dish with mozzarella. Cook under the lid until the cheese melts (approximately 3 minutes). Serve hot.

Three-Cheese Tortellini

three-cheese tortellini

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb (450 g) mild bulk Italian sausage
  • 24 fl oz (700 ml) marinara sauce
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 ¼ lb (570 g) cheese tortellini
  • 3 cups baby kale
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan
  • ½ cup grated mozzarella
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • Salt, pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Place sausage in a pan and cook over medium-high heat until browned. Add marinara sauce and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and let simmer. Add tortellini and kale and let cook for 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, combine Parmesan, mozzarella, ricotta, basil, and oregano in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Place spoon-sized balls of the cheese mixture on the tortellini; do not stir. Cook under the lid for 4–5 minutes. Serve right away.

Rigatoni With Sausage and Shrimp

rigatoni

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz (225 g) rigatoni pasta
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 links spicy sausage
  • ½ cup shrimp
  • 1 bell pepper
  • ¼ cup diced sweet onion
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup tomato marinara sauce
  • 4 oz (115 g) butter
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 ½ tsp dried basil
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ½ tsp black pepper

Instructions:

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions, drain the water and set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in a pan, add the onion. Cook over medium-high heat for 3 minutes.
  3. Add sausage and cook until brown (approximately 5 minutes).
  4. Add garlic and bell pepper and cook until the bell pepper has softened. Combine cream, butter, Parmesan, marinara, and spices in a separate pan and simmer over medium heat.
  5. Add shrimp to the pan and cook for 3 minutes until pink and opaque. Stir in the sauce and pasta and let simmer for a few more minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan before serving.

Cheesy Lasagna

cheesy lasagna

Instructions:

  • 8 oz (225 g) lasagna noodles
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • ½ sweet onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 1 lb (450 g) ground beef
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp basil
  • 4 oz (115 g) mozzarella
  • ½ cup ricotta
  • 8 basil leaves
  • Parmesan to taste

Instructions:

  1. Break lasagna noodles into thirds and cook them in boiling water for approximately 5 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Heat a large oven-safe pan over medium heat. Add olive oil, half of the butter, and onions with ¼ teaspoon salt. Cook while stirring until soft (3–4 minutes). Add garlic and cook for one more minute, then add ground beef, seasoned with 1 teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of pepper, stirring slowly from time to time. Cook until browned.
  3. Add tomatoes with the remaining butter and 3 tablespoons of fresh basil; mix thoroughly. Add the noodles, evenly distributing the beef and sauce over them using a spatula. Add sliced mozzarella and scoops of ricotta. Preheat the oven to 425 °F and bake for 10 minutes. Garnish with torn basil leaves and grated Parmesan.

Checca Pasta With Burrata

checca pasta

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz (225 g) capellini pasta
  • ½ cup basil leaves
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan
  • 3 small tomatoes
  • 4 scallions
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 4 oz (115 g) burrata cheese
  • Salt, pepper to taste

Instructions:

  • Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserving half a cup of the cooking water. Transfer the pasta to a large bowl and set aside.
  • Mix basil, Parmesan, tomatoes, coarsely chopped bottom half of scallions, olive oil, and chopped garlic cloves in a food processor until the tomatoes are coarsely chopped.
  • Add the sauce to the pasta. Gradually introduce the cooking water until the pasta reaches the desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Transfer the pasta to a platter. Place dollops of burrata on top and garnish with torn basil leaves. Serve right away.

When you’re craving cheesy pasta so much that you just have to have it, give these recipes a go: your delicious and nutritious Italian meal will be ready in under half an hour. Bon appétit!

Valerie

I am an English major with a love of languages and fiction, and with an incurable travel bug. In my free time, I read fantasy, drink copious amounts of coffee, and like to go see movies. Culinary art means everything to me. My main hypostasis is the taster, though. The music school has taught me to appreciate the symphony of airy meringues, to create harmonious overtures of light snacks, hard rock of meat, fish, and vegetables on the grill. Choir classes have accustomed me to hear and feel the people nearby and create perfect harmonies of sounds.

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