Pasta tends to be a last-minute, nothing-else-in-the-fridge kind of dinner, but it doesn’t have to be boring. Even if you’re short on time, just a few extra ingredients can turn plain ol’ noodles into a satisfying meal (and we don’t mean a jar of Alfredo sauce). Lemon juice, chicken or shrimp, a little cheese… there are all kinds of options, and you need only four ingredients to make ’em happen. Get ready to be in and out of the grocery store in 10 minutes flat.
1. Pesto Pasta With Chicken
Pesto is one of those ingredients that makes any meal 10 times better with very little work. You can always make your own, but these are four-ingredient meals, so obviously store-bought is your friend. Add it to cooked linguine with some grilled chicken strips leftover from last night’s dinner, then sprinkle Parm on top.
2. Baked Gnocchi With Fresh Mozzarella
Step one: Buy a bag of your favorite gnocchi, like this whole-wheat gnocchi with sweet potato, and cook on the stove until they float to the top of the pot. Step two: Cover with mozzarella, marinara, and fresh basil, and bake. Step three: Devour.
3. Spaghetti Carbonara
Egg yolks bring the flavor in this easy, four-ingredient carbonara. Mixed with Pecorino cheese, the yolks make a super-creamy sauce without the need for heavy cream or butter. Add to pasta with some chopped bacon, and you’re good to go.
4. Garlic Parmesan Zoodles
You’re swapping pasta for zoodles, so you definitely should feel happy about the remaining three ingredients being butter, Parmesan, and garlic. Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes if you’re craving a kick.
5. Easy Ravioli Lasagna
This is actually the easiest lasagna we’ve ever seen. Grab your favorite veggie-filled pasta to make it a little healthier (Trader Joe’s has some great ones) and layer in a baking dish with marinara, mozzarella, and Parmesan. If you have fresh basil, sprinkle some of that on top too. Bake until bubbly.
6. Lemon Butter Shrimp Pasta
All you need for this fresh pasta: a lemon, angel-hair noodles, shrimp, and butter (feel free to reduce the amount of butter to make it a little lighter). Salt, pepper, and garlic powder are ideal too, but you’ve got those in your cabinet already.
7. Cheesy Taco Pasta
Taco-style pasta? Don’t mind if we do. Add ground beef, salsa, and Mexican-style cheese to rotini pasta for a meal that combines two of the best foods. If you like, you can also add tomatoes, avocado, or cilantro on top for a full-on taco effect.