By definition, comfort foods are flavorful, have soft consistencies and are high in nutrients – and calories. A good pasta dish, coincidentally, should be all of these things, too. Made with a variety of shapes and sizes of noodles, lathered in rich and creamy sauces and topped with melting cheeses, these dishes will satisfy the tummy and the soul.
Pancetta Carbonara with Fresh Baby Spinach
When his wife was pregnant, chef Tyler Florence took on the task of creating a dish that would satisfy her cravings for creamy carbonara pasta. The result was a rich creation he endearingly calls “My Wife’s Pregnancy Pasta.” Milk, cream, eggs, pancetta, spinach, garlic and cheese come together to make this sticky, filling and undoubtedly tasty pasta dish you can enjoy when you’re with – or without – child.
Macaroni and 4 Cheeses
What’s better than mac and cheese? Mac and cheese with four different cheeses, that’s what. Monterrey jack, ricotta, extra-sharp cheddar and Parmesan make this the cheesiest and tastiest mac you’ve ever had. It’s quick, too, with a combined prep and cook time of about 45 minutes. Find the recipe at the Cooking Channel.
Cheese, Peas and Pasta
This creative vegan comfort food pasta from Healthy.Happy.Life is a sure hit – and a great way to get kids to eat their peas. The sauce is made from sweet potato and a nutritional yeast “cheese” sauce that is dairy-free without a compromise of flavor. The peas settle in the orecchiette pasta to make each spoonful fun and colorful.
Angel Hair with Garlic and Olive Oil
With comfort foods, simpler is often better. This recipe for pasta with garlic and olive oil from Savoir-Faire takes simplistic ingredients and creates an irresistible pasta bursting with roasted garlic flavor. The author of the recipe says pasta aglio e olio is “the food that I want to eat when I’m extremely happy and the food I want if I’m stressed, too.”
Butternut Squash and Shrimp Pasta Bake
Nothing says comfort food like bubbling, crispy cheese on top of a casserole dish. Don’t be intimidated by the butternut squash part of the recipe, as the dish uses a can of soup as the base of the sauce. The colors of spinach and bell peppers make this one festive and flavorful, perfect for a dish to pass at upcoming holiday parties. Find the recipe on Babble.com.
This seafood pasta may be one to save for a special date night, but brave or curious kids may want to try the clams and shrimp in this gourmet dish from Simple Comfort Food. The sauce is simple (tomatoes, white wine, garlic) – but again, simplicity is key. Enjoy with chunks of bread ripped from a rustic Italian or French loaf.
Rosemary Herbed Meatballs and Pasta
Sometimes our bodies crave a protein fix. In that case, try this pasta and meatball dish that’s heavy on the latter. The sauce is tangy, and the meatballs are full of flavor from rosemary and onions. The meatballs can even be enjoyed on their own or in a meatball sandwich. The recipe calls for gluten-free penne, but can be made with any type of pasta. Get the recipe from Daily Forage.
Creamy Pumpkin Pasta with Sweet Italian Sausage
After a cold, rainy fall day, treat your family to a warm pasta dish that could become an autumn classic. This recipe incorporates pumpkin and sweet Italian sausage to make a creamy yet not-too-heavy pasta for warming up on cold nights. The pumpkin flavor isn’t too strong, according to Recipe Girl, but creates a perfect texture and complement to the savory sausage.