6 Quick Summer Pasta Favorites

6 Quick Summer Pasta Favorites

These light, simple, and delicious dishes are just right for hot summer days.

By Lorraine Allen

Pasta dishes are perfect for lazy summer evenings when the weather is warm and you don’t want to make a meal that’s too heavy or time-consuming. These crowd-pleasing dinners are simple to assemble and cook up fast, leaving you more time to sit back, unwind, and enjoy the season. I serve pasta for dinner with a large green salad – that’s really all you need to complete these meals without much extra effort.

1. Pasta with roasted tomatoes and herbs: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Slice two cups of grape tomatoes in half, and toss with olive oil, a handful of fresh chopped thyme, and three cloves of minced garlic. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, cook a pound of your favorite pasta, reserving a cup of cooking liquid when you drain it. Toss the cooked pasta with the roasted tomatoes (and an extra drizzle of olive oil, if you like). Use pasta liquid to moisten, if necessary. Top with freshly grated pecorino cheese.

2. Pasta with eggplant and basil: Dice eggplant into small cubes until you have two cups, and mince two garlic cloves. Sauté them together in olive oil for about four minutes, until lightly browned. Stir in a jar of marinara sauce (or a can of crushed tomatoes). Season, and let simmer about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, cook a pound of your favorite pasta; drain and toss with sauce. Garnish with a large handful of fresh basil, thinly chopped or torn, and Parmesan or fresh mozzarella cheese.

3. Pasta with tuna and olives: This Mediterranean dish is salty, satisfying and delicious. Toss cooked pasta (smaller shapes work best,) with a drizzle of olive oil, two cans of drained tuna, and a cup of chopped pitted green olives. You can add chopped small tomatoes, too. This dish tastes great served room temperature, warm, or slightly chilled—perfect for picnics or potlucks!

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4. Pesto pasta: This Italian classic is very versatile. Use a jar of store-bought basil pesto for a super-fast meal: Simply toss with cooked pasta of your choice, and serve with grated cheese. Or get creative and make your own pesto quickly in a blender with a mix of olive oil, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, and fresh basil, arugula, or spinach leaves instead. This quick, light dish is always a summer favorite. Add cooked shrimp or chicken, or chunks of mozzarella cheese for extra protein, if desired.


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5. Pasta with roasted chicken and sun-dried tomatoes: Use another shortcut from the supermarket and buy a pre-cooked bird to prepare this simple, tasty summer supper. Shred the cooked chicken and toss with cooked pasta, then stir in chopped sundried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, a pinch of fresh or dried oregano, a drizzle of olive oil, and a cup of grated pecorino or Parmesan cheese.

6. Pasta with shrimp: While the pasta cooks, sauté shrimp in a hot pan in olive oil with chopped garlic and dried red pepper flakes, if you like things spicy. Add a splash of white wine, or a tablespoon of tomato paste and a drizzle of heavy cream, and cook down for just a couple of minutes to create a fast, flavor-packed sauce. Toss together with pasta and garnish with a handful of chopped fresh parsley.

What are your favorite summer dinners?

Lorraine is a freelance parenting and food writer, and she shares her cooking adventures and family recipes at FeedingLina.com. She lives in New York with her family and one squirrel-obsessed dog. Follow her @feedingLina.

Image ©iStock.com/ALLEKO

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