Best Spaghetti and Meatballs Recipe for a Comforting Home Cooked Meal from Scratch. Best pasta recipes. Copyright © 2022 Terence Carter / Grantourismo. All Rights Reserved.

Best Pasta Recipes from Bigoli con Salsa to Tagliatelle alla Bolognese

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Our best pasta recipes include everything from traditional Italian recipes for ragù alla Bolognese and lasagne from Bologna in Northern Italy to a spaghetti Bolognese of the Italian-Australian kind our mums made when we were kids to recipes for Italian pastas that are less-known outside Italy, such as Venice’s bigoli con salsa and Sardinia’s spaghetti con vongole e bottarga.

Some of our best pasta recipes – such as the Venetian bigoli con salsa and Sardinian spaghetti con vongole e bottarga I mentioned, along with our orecchiette con sugo al pomodoro recipe from Puglia – date way back to 2010, the year we launched Grantourismo with a year-long grand tour of the world.

That was the year we began our quest to travel more slowly and more sustainably, and more locally and experientially, with the aim of really scratching beneath the surface of the places we settled into, to better engage with locals and get an insight into how they lived their lives.

One of the main ways we did that was through food, because what better way to connect with people than in their kitchen or around a dinner table, learning about their cuisine and culinary heritage or how to cook a beloved local dish or just share some delicious food and stories.

While we had delicious food experiences which gave us a taste of places and their people, history and culture everywhere we settled into that year, some of the best food experiences were in Italy. There we did everything from shop Venice’s Rialto markets with a local chef and restaurateur to learn how to make wood-fired pizza and handmade pasta from the lovely Maria in Puglia.

We’d been cooking Italian food for many years before that trip, and we’ve continued to cook Italian food since, no matter where we’ve travelled or lived in the world. From Buenos Aires to Bangkok, if we’ve needed a break from local food, we’ll typically cook an Italian pasta. How about you?

Now, before I tell you more about our best pasta recipes, I have a favour to ask. Grantourismo is reader-funded. If you’ve cooked our recipes and enjoyed them, please consider supporting Grantourismo by supporting our epic Cambodian cuisine history and cookbook on Patreon, which you can do for as little as the price of a coffee. Or you could buy us a coffee and we’ll use our coffee money to buy cooking ingredients for recipe testing.

Another option is to use links on our site to buy travel insurance, rent a car or campervan or motorhome, book accommodation, or book a tour on Klook or Get Your Guide. Or buy something on Amazon, such as these cookbooks for culinary travellers, James Beard award-winning cookbooks, cookbooks by Australian chefs, classic cookbooks for serious cooks, travel books to inspire wanderlust, and gifts for Asian food lovers and picnic lovers. We may earn a small commission but you won’t pay any extra.

Lastly, you could browse our Grantourismo store for gifts for food lovers, including food themed reusable cloth face masks designed with Terence’s images. Now let me tell you all about our best pasta recipes.

Best Pasta Recipes from Bigoli con Salsa to Ragu alla Bolognese

Like so many cuisines, Italian food is rooted in quality local ingredients, so whenever possible try to use a good quality extra virgin olive oil or a decent quality olive oil and canned San Marzano tomatoes. The elongated plum tomatoes are full of flavour and loads of natural sweetness.

Also try to use a proper Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese. Try to avoid the grated ‘parmesan cheese’ that looks like saw dust, if you can, as there’s a reason for that: tests over the years have found that some parmesan brands contain cellulose, made from wood pulp.

Bigoli con Salsa Recipe for a Classic Venetian Pasta

This bigoli con salsa recipe from Venice, Italy, is made with wholewheat pasta with an onion and anchovy sauce, sprinkled liberally with parsley. It’s a classic Venetian pasta dish that is deceptively simple and decidedly delicious, and it’s one of our best pasta recipes.

This bigoli con salsa recipe could not be simpler. But as Francesco, the owner of Antiche Carampane told us when we sought his advice on what we should make from Venice for our series The Dish, on the quintessential dishes of places: “It’s the salty seafood taste of the anchovies combined with the sweetness of the onions that make bigoli con salsa so special.”

Bigoli con salsa is most certainly a local specialty too. There isn’t a chef worth their salt in Venice who can’t make this dish. And while you won’t see it on every menu, you can just do what we did at a couple of favourite restaurants, such as Vini da Gigio, and just ask for it and they’ll make it for you.

After eating a sublime plate of the stuff at Vini da Gigio, we asked the waitress exactly what they put in their sauce. “Olive oil, anchovies, onion, parsley, and seasoning,” she said. That’s it. Brilliant. And for those who turn up their nose at anchovies, taste the dish first, you’ll be surprised at how subtle the anchovy taste is.

For this dish, the pasta is all important. Originally made with duck eggs and buckwheat flour, these days it’s wholewheat flour and chicken eggs. Look for dried bigoli, such as the one in the photo below, made in nearby Bassano, which you should find at specialist Italian food shops.

Bigoli con Salsa Recipe – How to Make This Classic Venetian Pasta Dish


Spaghetti con Vongole e Bottarga Recipe Made in Teulada on Sardinia in Italy

This spaghetti con vongole e bottarga recipe was taught to us by locals in Teulada, Sardinia when we were on the island during that year-long grand tour of the world that launched Grantourismo. Terence made it for the same people a couple of nights later for a dinner party – and they liked it!

When we checked into our colourful casa in Teulada, Sardinia, our host Antonio showed us around the charming apartment. In addition to the many thoughtful little extras he and his wife, Christina, provide for their guests, Antonio also left us a Sardinian cookbook and a packet of powder that looked a little like the spice turmeric, telling us that, as we liked to cook, this was the local specialty.

But it turned out, it wasn’t a powder at all, it was bottarga – salted, pressed, dried, and ground grey mullet roe. It might not sound that appetising, but for seafood lovers its aroma is amazing and it has a very moreish quality.

The classic, simple, fisherman’s version of this dish consists of spaghetti, olive oil (home-pressed, of course!) and a little chilli, and the bottarga is left in a bowl on the table, so each person can vary the amount they sprinkle on their plate depending on individual taste. It’s so good and this is easily one of our best pasta recipes.

Spaghetti con Vongole e Bottarga Recipe Made in Teulada on the Island of Sardinia, Italy


Orecchiette con Sugo al Pomodoro Recipe from Alberobello in Puglia in Southern Italy

Our orecchiette con sugo al pomodoro recipe comes courtesy of Maria, the caretaker of the traditional trullo we settled into in Alberobello in Puglia in southern Italy in 2010 and it’s easily one of our best pasta recipes. Maria, who quickly became a friend, taught us to make it in the rustic kitchen of the conical shaped white house.

Maria arrived one day with her pasta board (a portable wooden board that covers a table or bench for making pasta) and a huge bag of flour, Semola di Grano Duro, which she used to make the pasta, pizza bases, and bread dough. (We have more on the pizza making process in another post.)

Maria ended up giving us lessons in pasta making, teaching us how to make handmade orecchiette and this rich sugo al pomodoro with ingredients she had grown herself. We began with a lesson on how to make the local Puglian pasta shaped to look like a little ear. All pasta has a shape for a reason and this shape is perfect for holding a little sugo al pomodoro (tomato sauce) in each piece.

We’d just written about the simplicity of Italian cuisine after eating at a couple of trattorias in the village of Teulada on the island of Sardinia, and once again Italy had blown us away with its attitude towards food. Simple honest dishes, made using the best ingredients, treated with respect.

But that doesn’t mean that the best ingredients have to be expensive ingredients as Maria showed us, as she taught Terence how to make her orecchiette con sugo al pomodoro recipe using ingredients she had grown and made herself, from vine-ripened cherry tomatoes to first-pressed olive oil. More about the experience and the recipe on the link below.

Orecchiette con Sugo al Pomodoro Recipe from Alberobello in Puglia in Southern Italy


Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe Recipe for A Puglian Classic with a Twist

This orecchiette with sausage and broccoli rabe recipe is one that Terence cooks when he can’t bring himself to make another carbonara or puttanesca, my most requested pastas. Orecchiette with sausage and broccoli is a classic Italian combination from Puglia, but broccoli rabe or rapini, and broccolini also work, and crispy pancetta adds salt and crunch.

While we like the combination of the bitterness of the radicchio against the sweetness of the sausage and the salty hit of Parmigiano Reggiano, sometimes the radicchio can be a little bit too bitter.

When rapini or broccoli rabe, as our American readers call it, started turning up in Siem Reap markets (generally labelled as Chinese broccoli, although that’s different yet again), Terence thought the leafy green vegetable with florets would be a perfect substitute for radicchio, with its slightly less bitter notes.

We first sampled orecchiette with sausage and broccoli, as well as with rapini, in restaurants around Alberobello in Puglia, with Maria and her family. Using rapini, sometimes as the centrepiece of a dish, is very popular in the south of Italy.

This orecchiette with sausage and broccoli rabe recipe is one that Terence cooks when he can’t bring himself to make another carbonara or puttanesca, my most requested pastas. Orecchiette with sausage and broccoli is a classic Italian combination from Puglia, but broccoli rabe or rapini, and broccolini also work, and crispy pancetta adds salt and crunch.

Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe Recipe – A Puglian Classic with a Twist


Ragu alla Bolognese Recipe for a Traditional Bolognese Sauce from Northern Italy

This ragu alla Bolognese recipe is based on the traditional recipe for the classic meat sauce from Bologna in Emilia Romagna, Northern Italy, which is used for both pasta and lasagne, and it’s one of our best pasta recipes. Follow Terence’s exacting ingredient list and cooking directions and the result will be a perfect ragù alla Bolognese.

Our ragu alla Bolognese recipe makes the rich and very moreish pasta sauce from the city of Bologna in the region of Emilia Romagna in Northern Italy that is known all over the world as the hearty, meaty sauce on ‘spaghetti bolognese’. (Worth noting: in Bologna, they actually use tagliatelle not spaghetti.) This ragu alla Bolognese recipe is used for both tagliatelle all Bolognese and lasagne alla Bolognese.

It’s a recipe we go to when we’re in need of comfort food and our comfort food recipes have long been the most visited on Grantourismo.

Ragu alla Bolognese is one of the most misinterpreted dishes dishes in the world. While a carbonara sauce recipe is often abused with the introduction of cream, ragu alla Bolognese has all sorts of crimes committed against this staple of the Italian cuisine cannon.

This is how to make the traditional ragu alla Bolognese recipe from Bologna that’s used for both a tagliatelle all Bolognese and a lasagne alla Bolognese, both of which begin with a classic Bolognese sauce.

Ragu alla Bolognese Recipe for a Traditional Bolognese Sauce from Northern Italy


Classic Lasagne alla Bolognese Recipe from Emilia Romagna

This classic lasagne alla Bolognese recipe from Bologna in the Emilia Romagna region of Northern Italy makes the best lasagne recipe ever and it’s another of our best pasta recipes. Rich and comforting, this traditional lasagne Bolognese begins with a great Bolognese ragù that’s layered between flat pasta sheets and besciamella, Italy’s béchamel sauce, and Parmigiano Reggiano.

Our lasagne alla Bolognese recipe makes a very traditional version of the Italian comfort food in the style that you’ll find in Bologna in Emilia Romagna in Northern Italy, one of our favourite regions in Italy. That means thinner sheets of pasta, a sparing use of besciamella, Italy’s version of France’s béchamel sauce, no mozzarella, and a flavour profile that’s more savoury than sweet.

Just a short drive from the Italian Lakes and its wonderful gastronomy, grand hotels and gorgeous gardens and villas, the Northern Italian region of Emilia Romagna is a paradise for foodies and wine lovers.

Home to Italian specialties such as Parmigiano Reggiano (parmesan cheese), Prosciutto di Parma (Parma ham) and balsamic vinegar from Modena, along with so many wonderful Northern Italian wine varietals, the region is Italy’s gastronomic heart, and Bologna is its capital.

The origin of Mortadella, a tiny macaroni-like pasta called gramigna, and tagliatelle alla Bolognese (spaghetti isn’t used), Bologna has also gifted the world lasagne alla Bolognese, or Bolognese lasagne – not lasagna, which refers to one sheet of pasta; lasagne is plural.

Classic Lasagne alla Bolognese Recipe from Emilia Romagna – Best Lasagne Recipe Ever


Spicy Italian Sausage Pasta Recipe from Calabria in Southern Italy

This spicy Italian sausage pasta recipe comes from Calabria in Southern Italy, where the rich, spicy, tomato-based sauce is made with the famously fiery spreadable Calabrian chilli pepper and pork sausage paste called ’nduja and peperoncino Calabrese or Calabrian chilli pepper.

We first fell in love with Calabrian food on a months-long road trip spent criss-crossing Italy’s southernmost mainland region, researching the first English-language Calabria travel guidebook. Calabrian cuisine boasts some of Italy’s spiciest food, courtesy of those Calabrian chilli peppers and ’nduja.

The peperoncini or chilli peppers are used in everything from bomba Calabrese, a spicy chilli relish, and Calabrian soppressata, a spicy salami, to Calabria’s fiery spreadable chilli pepper and pork sausage called ’nduja, which you can read more about in our guide to ’nduja and how to use it.

Traditionally, this classic Calabrian spicy Italian sausage pasta recipe calls for ’nduja, although you’ll also find these tomato-based pastas made with spicy Italian sausages at restaurants in Calabria that don’t feature ’nduja. Instead they are given a good kick of heat from the fresh Calabrian chillies in the sausage meat and a generous sprinkle of peperoncini or dried chilli flakes.

We can source Calabrian soppressata, but can only occasionally get hold of Calabrian ’nduja here in Cambodia. So when we can’t find ’nduja, I make this pasta with chilli flakes ground from local dried red chillies and spicy Italian skinless sausages produced by a European butcher here. Fortunately, it’s easy to buy ’nduja online.

Spicy Italian Sausage Pasta Recipe from Calabria in Southern Italy

Sausage Mushroom Pasta Recipe to Celebrate Wild Mushroom Season

This quick and easy sausage mushroom pasta recipe is inspired by the popular pasta dishes of Calabria’s mountain town of Camigliatello Silano, Southern Italy’s wild mushroom capital.

There, dishes are made with spicy Calabrian sausages and local porcini or another earthy wild mushroom. We use meaty shiitake mushrooms, piquant Italian sausages, chilli flakes and celery leaves, which bring freshness.

I published this recipe to coincide with wild mushroom season in Camigliatello Silano in Italy’s southernmost mainland region, where the annual October mushroom festival, Sagra del Fungo, runs from early October until early November.

Every year, come early October, no matter where we are in the world, I find myself dreaming of Calabria, its wonderful food, and wild mushrooms – and creating and cooking mushroom dishes at home. This is the latest recipe, inspired by Camigliatello Silano’s beautiful local produce.

Sausage Mushroom Pasta Recipe to Celebrate the Wild Mushroom Season


Spaghetti and Meatballs Recipe from Southern Italy

My best spaghetti and meatballs recipe makes an incredibly delicious version of the much-loved comfort food classic with juicy meatballs and a rich tomato sauce made from scratch, and I reckon it’s another of our best pasta recipes.

The spaghetti is combined with the sauce before serving in true Italian style (not spooned over the pasta when it’s on the plate), and is topped with the meatballs, plenty of Parmigiano Reggiano and fresh basil. Serve the second it’s ready with crusty bread.

This is the best spaghetti and meatballs recipe as the key ingredients are made from scratch, from a rich deeply flavoured tomato sauce to the juiciest, tastiest homemade meatballs that simmer in the sauce, which the spaghetti is stirred in before being plated.

A generous sprinkle of Parmigiano Reggiano and fragrant fresh basil leaves complete this classic comfort food favourite. The only things we haven’t made are the dried pasta and Parmigiano Reggiano, because Italians do both better.

My spaghetti and meatballs recipe incorporates two recipes I’ve shared in recent weeks, the rich tomato sauce recipe (below) – which I also used on this classic chicken parma recipe – and my homemade Italian meatballs recipe, however, for your convenience I’ve combined both recipes into this recipe.

Best Spaghetti and Meatballs Recipe for the Comfort Food Favourite from Southern Italy


Rich Italian Tomato Sauce Recipe for Pasta, Pizza, Meatballs, Parmas and More

Make this classic Italian tomato sauce recipe for an incredibly rich tomato sauce that can be served with pasta or meatballs and spread onto pizza bases or parmas and you’ll never buy a store-bought jar of ready-made Italian pasta sauce again. Quick and easy, it tastes like it’s been simmering for hours. The key ingredient: a can of tomatoes.

This quick and easy Italian tomato sauce recipe for pasta, meatballs, pizza, and parmas will make you a deliciously rich homemade tomato sauce based on the classic Italian tomato pasta sauce made in kitchens all over Italy every single day – with just a few tiny tweaks I’ll explain below.

This recipe gets used in my juicy Italian meatballs recipe, my spaghetti with meatballs recipe and my recipe for Italian-Australian chicken parmigiana or chicken parma, as we call the breaded chicken cutlets topped with tomato sauce and mozzarella.

Although I have to confess that in Italy there is no such thing as one all-purpose tomato sauce, rather there are tomato sauces, passatas and tomato pastes that each have different uses. But we are not in Italy and don’t have access to an abundance of beautiful, plump, ripe Italian tomatoes to make our own passata. Having said that, my recipe is actually quite similar to the classic Italian tomato sauce recipe for sugo al pomodoro that Maria taught us, above.

If you can’t source good quality canned Italian tomatoes – look at them and taste them from the tin and you’ll quickly be able to ascertain the quality; if they’re not a vibrant red colour and are more orange-red with a little yellow-green and they taste a tad acidic, then they’re not going to be great – then add the optional sugar and maybe a little extra salt.

Rich Italian Tomato Sauce Recipe for Pasta, Pizza, Meatballs, Parmas and More


Easy Broccoli Pasta Recipe with a Deliciously Creamy Broccoli Pesto Sauce

My easy broccoli pasta recipe with a creamy broccoli pesto sauce makes a delicious alternative to basil pesto pasta. Broccoli is a super-food, rich in fibre, vitamins and minerals, making it a healthy pasta sauce. While the dollop of sour cream or cream is optional, don’t skip the lemon juice, which enlivens the dish, or the chilli flakes, which add warmth.

The recipe takes just half an hour to make a fantastic year-round pasta. If you’re like me, that is, and can eat pasta no matter what the weather. In summer, you could skip the cream, serve a light salad on the side, and do as the Italians do and serve a starter-size pasta.

In winter, when you’ll welcome the carbs and take comfort in the richness of the dish and gentle warmth courtesy of the the chilli flakes, you could double the cream, plate up generous main-size portions, and serve thick slices of crusty sourdough bread on the side to mop up the creamy sauce.

This is definitely one for the broccoli lovers, and for those of you who, like me, love a good Italian basil pesto pasta but aren’t a fan of store-bought pesto and can’t source fresh Italian basil to make homemade Genoese pesto. If you fit that description, you’re going to adore this dish.

Easy Broccoli Pasta Recipe with a Deliciously Creamy Broccoli Pesto Sauce

Australian-Style Spaghetti Bolognese Recipe Courtesy of Matt Preston

This spaghetti Bolognese recipe and surprising Italian-Australian history of spaghetti Bolognese comes courtesy of food writer Matt Preston, whose World of Flavour, The Recipes, Myths and Surprising Stories Behind the World’s Best-Loved Food is a cookbook as much as a myth-busting culinary history that sets the record straight: ‘spag bol’ is not Italian, it’s Italian-Australian.

Terence and I were both raised in Australia in the 1970s by mothers who made spaghetti Bolognese – or spaghetti Bolognaise as it was written back then; ‘spag bol’ for short, because Australians shorten everything. I grew up in the western suburbs of Sydney to a Russian-Australian mum and Aussie-as-meat-pies dad; Terence in Brisbane’s northern suburbs to Anglo-Australian parents, yet our mothers made a ‘spag bol’ similar to this recipe.

Matt Preston’s spaghetti Bolognese recipe makes the sort of spaghetti Bolognese that Terence and I used to cook in our compact basement flat kitchen in Balmain when we first moved in together in 1986, and it’s easily another of our best pasta recipes on Grantourismo. It’s the kind of spaghetti Bolognese we grew up thinking was Italian until we moved abroad in 1998 and started travelling to and later writing on Italy.

Spaghetti Bolognese would turn out to be a dish of the Italian diaspora, and while, since our enlightenment in Italy, we’ve long thought that spaghetti Bolognese was Italian-American, cookbook author Matt Preston has discovered that the roots of ‘spag bol’ lie in Australia, where the first spaghetti Bolognese recipe was published, and in the UK, where its early origins might also lay.

Matt Preston charts these surprising origins and the secret history of spaghetti Bolognese in his just-released cookbook World of Flavour, The Recipes, Myths and Surprising Stories Behind the World’s Best-Loved Food, and we’re publishing an extract from the book and Matt Preston’s spaghetti Bolognese recipe, below, thanks to his publisher, Penguin Random House Australia.

Spaghetti Bolognese Recipe and the Italian-Australian History of ‘Spag Bol’ According to Matt Preston


Chicken Cacciatore Pasta Recipe for Spaghetti Cacciatore for a Retro-Classic from the 1970s

This easy chicken cacciatore pasta recipe makes spaghetti cacciatore – although you could use any pasta you have in the pantry. Created to use up leftover chicken cacciatore, the hearty chicken pasta is a 1970s retro-classic from the Italian-Australian diaspora that’s completely inauthentic – Italians don’t eat pasta as a main course dish – but delicious all the same.

This spaghetti cacciatore, like the chicken cacciatore recipe, is a result of reminiscing over glasses of wine about our Australian childhoods, which inevitably turns to recollections of food memories.

Terence was telling me about an Italian restaurant his parents took he and his sisters to when he was a kid that specialised in chicken cacciatore and spaghetti cacciatore, so I took it as a challenge to create the best chicken cacciatore recipe and spaghetti cacciatore recipe she could. Let us know what you think.

For Italians, chicken cacciatore, a main course or second course, should never be combined with pasta, a first course. Chicken cacciatore is only eaten with rustic bread to mop up the sauce. But in the Italian diasporas in Australia and the USA and elsewhere, that’s exactly what happened.

While we love authentic Italian food, we have no problem tucking into a bowl of Italian-Australian pasta or Italian-American pasta, as long as it’s delicious. Because ‘authenticity’ is a loaded concept, and let’s face it: this recipe is ‘authentic’ for Italian-Australian cooks, not to mention Italian-Americans, for whom chicken cacciatore is almost always eaten with pasta.

Chicken Cacciatore Pasta Recipe for Spaghetti Cacciatore for a Retro-Classic from the 1970s


Smoked Salmon Pasta Recipe for Spaghetti with Smoked Salmon, Dill Pickles, Capers and Fresh Dill

Our best smoked salmon pasta recipe makes spaghetti with smoked salmon, dill pickles, capers, fresh dill, sour cream, and lemon juice, making this a pasta that is quintessentially Eastern European in flavour. My inspiration was my Russian-Ukrainian heritage.

It’s versatile – add more sour cream for a creamier texture or a dollop of caviar for a special occasion – and comes together quickly, in less than half an hour. It’s the best smoked salmon pasta recipe to make if you have leftover smoked salmon in the fridge, and, like us, always have jars of capers and dill pickles, and it’s easily another of our best pasta recipes.

When I first made this we had smoked salmon leftover from Christmas and New Year’s Eve, when we made these devilled eggs with smoked salmon and caviar, this creamy smoked salmon dip from scratch, and these blini with smoked salmon, dill, gherkin and sour cream, and I knew I wanted to make a pasta with the same ingredients.

I’ve been dreaming about smoked salmon pasta recipes for some time. Because while I adore smoked salmon and I always enjoy the classic smoked salmon pastas with capers and lemon, I’ve never fallen in love with one. I knew I had to add the more quintessentially Russian-Ukrainian flavours of my heritage.

Although capers were grown in Southern Russia and Ukraine, most capers are sourced from the Mediterranean, with capers from Pantelleria considered the finest. I’ve used extra virgin olive oil from Valencia but if we were in Australia we’d probably use gorgeous Australian virgin olive oil.

We have a recipe for homemade dill pickles or gherkins, however, you can certainly use store-bought. If you enjoy this recipe, you’ll love my Russian salmon potato salad recipe inspired by a family recipe.

Best Smoked Salmon Pasta Recipe for Spaghetti with Smoked Salmon, Dill Pickles, Capers and Fresh Dill


Avocado Pasta Recipe for a Retro Italian-Australian Pasta Classic

My avocado pasta recipe makes an easy creamy avocado pasta sauce that you can serve at room temperature or heat up, combine with any fresh or dried pasta of your choice, and jazz up with grilled chicken or smoked salmon, and it’s arguably another of our best pasta recipes.

A popular Italian-Australian pasta of the 1980s and 1990s, we think it’s time this retro-classic made a comeback. We don’t get out much these days. When we’re not testing recipes for our Cambodian culinary history and cookbook, we’re either testing my Russian-Ukrainian family recipes for another cookbook, or we’re digging deep into our past for culinary inspiration.

Our distant past in Australia is where I found this easy avocado pasta recipe for a creamy avocado pasta sauce that you can serve at room temperature with a spiral-shaped fusilli pasta, as I love to do, or you can heat it up, and you can combine it with any fresh pasta or dried pasta of your preference.

You can also serve this avocado pasta with grilled chicken or smoked salmon, both of which were hugely popular additions for this avocado pasta in Australia when we used to order the popular Italian-Australian pasta way back in the late 1980s and 1990s. However you wish to serve it, we think it’s time this retro-classic made a comeback.

Easy Avocado Pasta Recipe for a Retro Italian-Australian Pasta Classic that Deserves a Comeback


Green Minestrone Soup Recipe that Changes Like the Seasons

This green minestrone soup recipe makes an easy, versatile, year-round soup that starts out as a light fresh spring soup the first day, but leave it overnight and it evolves into a warming, hearty autumn broth. Vegetables can be substituted according to the season but use frozen peas and beans in autumn/fall and you can pretend it’s spring.

You’ll love this green minestrone soup recipe if you like slurping soups as much as I do – whether they’re chicken soups, noodle soups, chicken noodle soups, fish soups, warming winter soups, cold summer soups, I enjoy them all. But I especially love those hearty European-style broths that are almost like stews, such as this Italian ribolitta soup and Italian wedding soup.

What I love most about this green minestrone soup recipe is that the soup evolves just like the seasons, transforming from a fresh light spring soup on the first day of making it to a warming hearty autumn broth if you refrigerate the leftovers overnight and reheat it the next day.

While we’re eating it the first night, I leave the remaining soup to simmer longer, until the potatoes are soft and starting to break apart, until the butter beans are rich and creamy, and the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese rind is melting and oozing. I refrigerate it overnight and the next day we have a hearty stew-like broth that’s easily another of our best pasta recipes.

Green Minestrone Soup Recipe that Changes Like the Seasons from a Light Spring Soup to Hearty Autumn Broth


Spaghetti alla Puttanesca Recipe for the Piquant Southern Italian Pasta

Our spaghetti alla puttanesca recipe makes a hearty, rustic pasta dish with a piquant sauce from Southern Italy and it’s a dish that Terence has been making for over 25 years. Infused with the flavours of garlic, capers, olives, anchovies, and crushed red pepper, it makes a tomato based pasta sauce like no other.

Like Terence’s ragu alla Bolognese recipe, this spaghetti alla puttanesca recipe is Terence’s go-to pasta when we are in need of comfort food and it’s easily one of our favourite comfort food recipes.

It’s a great year-round pasta recipe, too. Our northern hemisphere neighbours in the midst of summer can serve a smaller portion with a Mediterranean style salad, while a big hot bowl will warm up our Australian friends in the southern hemisphere in the midst of an extremely chilly winter.

Note that the sauce doesn’t taste like anchovies as the anchovies are ‘mushed’ into the sauce. It’s the combination of all of the ingredients that make this an umami bomb that is balanced by the sweetness of the tomatoes. If you’re making this for guests who don’t like anchovies, just don’t tell them that there are any in the sauce. Ask if guests have allergies of course, but an allergic reaction to anchovies is very rare…

Spaghetti alla Puttanesca Recipe – How to Make this Piquant Southern Italian Pasta


Mushroom Pasta Soup Recipe for a Centuries Old Russian Vegetarian Soup

My comforting mushroom noodle soup recipe with handmade pasta called ‘lapsha’ makes a centuries-old Russian vegetarian soup. Historically eaten during the Orthodox Great Lent period of fasting, when eggs and sour cream would have been forbidden, this hearty nourishing soup with hand-cut noodles can be enjoyed at any time. Serve with plenty of fresh fragrant dill and rye bread.

I love my soups, especially hearty Russian soups and Ukrainians soups, such as shchi and borscht, and I adore mushroom recipes, and there are few soups more satisfying to make and more enjoyable to eat than a soup with handmade noodles and mushrooms.

However, it was with a heavy heart that I shared this recipe early this year. As I wrote the introductory text, Russian president Vladimir Putin’s forces were arriving in armoured vehicles and tanks in the Ukraine capital, Kyiv, having invaded the country the day before. Let’s hope for the sake of innocent Ukrainians, that the war will end soon.

Mushroom Noodle Soup Recipe with Handmade Pasta for a Centuries Old Russian Vegetarian Soup



Nostalgic Russian Navy Style Macaroni Recipe for Makarony Po-Flotsky

This Russian navy style macaroni recipe for Makarony Po-Flotsky or Макароны По-Флотски makes my spicier rendition of Fleet Macaroni or Soviet Bolognese. A dish cooked up for naval forces, particularly submarine crew, it was popularised during the Soviet period when it became a canteen staple.

A nostalgic favourite of the Russian diaspora, it’s one of the few dishes Russian grandfathers cooked. My Russian navy style macaroni recipe makes my spicier take on Makarony Po-Flotsky, which translates to ‘fleet macaroni’ or ‘navy-style macaroni’, which gives an indication as to the early origins of this USSR canteen staple.

It was a dish cooked for the naval forces, particularly submarine crew, who got to eat better food than other seamen to make their months underwater more tolerable. Their rations even included cases of red wine!

A quick, easy and affordable dish to prepare during the Soviet era, when a standard fleet macaroni recipe included no more than a handful of ingredients – pasta, minced beef, onions, oil, and salt and pepper – the old-fashioned dish evolved in the diaspora, becoming a comfort food favourite for nostalgic Russian immigrants.

Nostalgic Russian Navy Style Macaroni Recipe for Makarony Po-Flotsky or Макароны По-Флотски


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A travel and food writer who has experienced over 70 countries and written for The Guardian, Australian Gourmet Traveller, Feast, Delicious, National Geographic Traveller, Conde Nast Traveller, Travel+Leisure Southeast Asia, DestinAsian, TIME, CNN, The Independent, The Telegraph, Sunday Times Travel Magazine, AFAR, Wanderlust, International Traveller, Get Lost, Four Seasons Magazine, Fah Thai, Sawasdee, and more, as well as authored more than 40 guidebooks for Lonely Planet, DK, Footprint, Rough Guides, Fodors, Thomas Cook, and AA Guides.

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