Pasta with Cauliflower in a Spicy Pink Sauce

Is there anything more comforting than a baked pasta? Some of our best pasta recipes call for a casserole dish and some oven mitts. Perfect for fall dinners, these dishes typically come topped with a layer of hot bubbling cheese. From vegetarian main courses like spinach lasagne to day-after-Thanksgiving turkey tetrazzini and everything in between, these recipes will warm your house, your body, and your soul.

Truffled Macaroni and Cheese

The addition of truffle and truffle-infused oil heightens an already indulgent dish. To make this dish more wallet friendly, use jarred black truffles packed in water for the sauce and splurge on fresh for garnish.

Vegetarian Lasagne

Our favorite lasagne is a vegetarian take on the classic, creamy lasagne bolognese. In it, the meat is replaced with earthy shiitake mushrooms and the noodles aren’t boiled before baking, so they’re less mushy when they come out of the oven.


This hearty lasagne from Rubirosa in New York City is made with sweet fennel sausage and tiny meatballs. This recipe first appeared in our December 2011 issue along with the special feature Italian America.

Classic Manicotti

Every Thanksgiving, before the traditional turkey, my Italian-American family eats a pasta course: my mother’s manicotti. Many years ago, to bring the family closer together, she decided to invite my cousins over the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and enlist the kids in making the pasta cylinders with a filling of cheese and ham bound with egg. Nobody knows exactly when the first “manicotti night” was, but I remember that cracking an egg was still a daunting task for me. Nowadays, my four sons and niece and nephew do just about all the work, and I’ve watched Mom teach each of them how to avoid getting eggshells into the filling—and how to sneak a little extra cheese in at the last second so it’s just right.

Artisanal Macaroni and Cheese

Chef Terrance Brennan of the Manhattan restaurant Artisanal uses penne instead of the standard elbow macaroni for his take on the dish, which is topped with a crisp panko-Parmesan crust.

Classic Easy Lasagna

Lasagna gets a bad rap for being a labor-intensive dish, but with a few shortcuts, like starting with store-bought lasagna sheets, you can make a great version any night of the week.

Mexican Noodle Casserole (Sopa Seca)

This recipe from cookbook author Diana Kennedy is a comforting casserole dense with thin fideo noodles bathed in chile sauce. Serve it with a salad or pickled chiles on the side. This recipe first appeared in our August/September 2012 issue with Beth Kracklauer’s article The Expat.

Pasta with Cauliflower in a Spicy Pink Sauce

Cauliflower and pasta is baked in a spicy tomato-cream sauce in this comforting recipe adapted from Johanne Killeen and George Germon’s Cucina Simpatica (Harper Collins, 1991) by Tim Mazurek for his column Cucina Simpatica.

Turkey Tetrazzini

Though purportedly named after the Italian opera singer Luisa Tetrazzini, this baked noodle dish is American, not Italian, and recipes for it only date back to the early 20th century. I think tetrazzini is something that everyone adapts into their own thing. Some people add ketchup. Others use canned mushrooms and omit the red bell pepper. But this version, with a smattering of colorful vegetables and a sauce enriched by sherry and parmesan, is my favorite.

Thomas Keller’s Macaroni and Cheese

The foundation of this creamy casserole is a classic mornay sauce, a béchamel sauce to which cheese has been added—in this case, Comté, a French cheese with a complex, nutty flavor that melts beautifully. With lots of freshly grated nutmeg to season it and a golden, crunchy breadcrumb topping, it’s a luscious, satisfying side dish for the Thanksgiving table. The dish comes from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bistro, in the Napa Valley, where the staff makes it as part of their annual Thanksgiving dinner for veterans and their families.

Veal and Spinach Lasagna

Unlike the heavy red-sauced lasagnas served in America, this Abruzzo-style version relies on an ethereal egg and tomato sauce that puffs when the lasagna is cooked, giving it a soufflé-like appearance.