You’ve made it to the day before Thanksgiving, and by now you’re practically counting down the hours until T-Day, right? Even with all of the prep work that likely needs to be finished before tomorrow, the question of tonight’s dinner remains. While it may be tempting and admittedly easy to rely on pizza or takeout, if you’re planning on pulling off the ultimate Thanksgiving feast tomorrow, you can surely handle a no-fuss made-at-home dinner tonight, especially if that dinner is quick-cooking pasta.
One of the easiest meals to make in a hurry, pasta is endlessly versatile, and when you’re cooking for what’s possibly a houseful of extended family, simple, adaptable dinners are downright necessary. Check out a few of Food Network’s favorite pasta recipes, each ready to enjoy in just 25 minutes or less.
Rich and comforting, Food Network Magazine’s Penne With Vodka Sauce (pictured above) is a top-rated pasta that’s packed with decadent ingredients. To prepare, sauté sweet shallots with fresh garlic and just a pinch of red pepper flakes, then add a splash of vodka, tomatoes and smooth heavy cream. Since the sauce will need to cook for at least 10 minutes after the vodka is added, the alcohol in it should cook off, and what will be left is a thick mixture just waiting to be tossed with noodles and nutty Parmesan cheese.
If you prefer not to cook with alcohol but are still seeking something indulgent, look to this Lemon-Pepper Fettuccine (pictured right) recipe from Food Network Magazine to curb your craving. Like the penne pasta, this dish, too, is made with sautéed shallots and cream, but here the sauce is made with a refreshing lemon zest. Since you’re only using the zest of the lemon, not the juice, the citrus taste won’t overpower the dish but instead will add a burst of brightness to the pasta.
For something a bit lighter in preparation for tomorrow’s eating extravaganza, try Giada’s Spaghetti With Olives and Bread Crumbs. She tosses al dente spaghetti with golden brown, toasted breadcrumbs, a duo of black and green olives and a blanket of cheese to prepare a barely cooked meal that’s simple but satisfying. Before you drain the noodles, be sure to save at least one cup of the pasta water — you may need it to moisten the dish before serving.
Visit Food Network’s Thanksgiving Headquarters for top Turkey Day tips, last-minute solutions to common bird-cooking issues and no-fail ideas from your favorite Food Network chefs to help you host the ultimate holiday dinner.