Light Pasta Recipes For Spring And Summer

Pasta isn’t just about hearty sauces and cozy nights in. Enjoy these fresh pasta recipes as the weather warms up.

Think pasta dishes aren’t well-suited for sunny spring and summer days? Think again. Just because the temperature is rising doesn’t mean you have to hide the pasta at the back of the pantry.

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These yummy recipes feature fresh veggies, light sauces and delicious flavor combos that transform everyone’s favorite carb into a summer meal that can be enjoyed year round.

Simple summer pasta


  • 12 oz pasta shells, or pasta of your choice
  • Large handful of mixed yellow and cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Large handful of fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped, plus leaves to garnish


  1. Cook pasta according to the box instructions. Reserve a little of the cooking water, and then drain and return pasta to the pan with the cooking water. Set aside
  2. Meanwhile, add the tomatoes to a bowl and season well with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Mix well
  3. Pour the olive oil over the tomatoes, and then add the basil and toss to coat. Toss with the hot pasta and top with a few basil leaves to garnish. Serve with crusty bread and an arugula salad with a light dressing

Spaghetti summer salad


  • 1 lb spaghetti, broken in half
  • 1 bottle (16 oz) Italian dressing
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons seasoning salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cucumber, chopped
  • 1 red onion, chopped


  1. Cook pasta according to the box instructions. Drain and rinse in cold water. Set aside in a large mixing bowl
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together Italian dressing, Parmesan cheese and all spices until well blended. Stir in the cucumber and onion. Pour mixture over spaghetti and toss lightly to evenly coat. Cover and chill for 2 hours or up to 24 hours. Top with tomatoes before serving

Leek and mushroom pasta bake


  • 3 cups milk (2%)
  • 1 slice of onion
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 black peppercorns
  • ½ oz dried wild mushrooms
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 medium leeks, thinly sliced
  • 8 oz button mushrooms, halved
  • ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
  • 12 oz dry farfalle pasta
  • 2 teaspoons whole-grain mustard
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
  • 4 oz mozzarella ball, torn into pieces
  • ½ oz grated Parmesan


  1. Put the milk, onion, bay leaf and peppercorns in a pan and bring to just under a boil. Set aside for 20 minutes to infuse. Put the dried mushrooms into a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave to rehydrate for 20 minutes, and then strain and finely chop the mushrooms
  2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a pan over low heat. Cook leeks for 20 minutes until softened. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Turn up heat to medium, add fresh mushrooms and fry for 5 minutes until golden
  3. Strain the milk, discarding the onion, bay leaf and peppercorns. Return leeks to the mushroom pan with any juices. Sprinkle flour into mixture and whisk. Cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the burner, gradually add the milk and stir constantly to make a sauce. Return to heat, stir until thickened and then simmer for 2 minutes
  4. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the box instructions. Drain
  5. Preheat the oven to medium. Stir the pasta into the sauce with the soaked, chopped mushrooms, mustard and oregano. Check seasoning. Dot with the mozzarella and sprinkle with the Parmesan. Broil for 4 to 5 minutes until bubbling, and then serve

Tip: Did you know Mr. Clean Magic Erasers are, well, magic in the kitchen? Keep one on hand to clean stuck-on cooking splatters from countertops and oven ranges.

Pasta and arugula pesto


  • 12 oz linguine or spaghetti
  • 5 oz arugula
  • 4 oz pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 oz fresh Parmesan, grated, plus extra to serve (optional)
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra if needed


  1. First, make the pesto. Put the arugula, pine nuts and garlic in a food processor and blitz until finely chopped. Add the Parmesan and blitz again. Slowly pour in the olive oil and keep blitzing until it reaches the required consistency, adding extra oil if needed. Add a pinch of sea salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Taste and adjust as needed, and set aside to allow the flavors to mingle
  2. Add pasta to a large pot of boiling, salted water, and cook according to the package instructions. Drain, reserving a little water, and then tip back into the pot with the reserved cooking water and swirl around
  3. Add the pesto to the pasta a spoonful at a time until the pasta is coated but not swimming in sauce. Serve with an extra topping of freshly grated Parmesan, if desired

Skinny Vegetable Lasagna


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 red onions, chopped
  • 2 small zucchini, sliced
  • Pinch of chili flakes (optional)
  • Pinch of oregano
  • 6 sheets of lasagna, snapped into strips
  • 10 oz bag of spinach leaves, wilted and chopped
  • 7 oz ricotta
  • 6–8 large tomatoes, sliced


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the onion, season and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the zucchini, chili flakes (if using) and oregano. Fry gently until zucchini are soft, about 3 to 4 minutes
  2. Transfer half of the zucchini mixture to an ovenproof dish. Top with three lasagna sheets, half of the spinach, half of the ricotta and three sliced tomatoes
  3. Repeat step 2 finishing with a layer of tomatoes. Sprinkle with a pinch of black pepper, cover with foil and cook in the oven until lasagna is soft, about 40 minutes. Leave to stand for 10 minutes, and then serve with a salad and light dressing

Tip: Greasy, saucy casserole dish? Gunked-up food processor? Cascade Platinum ActionPacs help make dishes sparkling clean, no pre-rinse required. And for dishes that can’t go in the dishwasher, use Dawn Platinum Dish Soap to harness four times the grease-cleaning power per drop* to clean baked-on, stuck-on food.

*Based on cleaning ingredients per drop vs. non-ultra Joy.

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