Angel hair pasta, or capellini, is a long, thin, and versatile pasta that can be used in many delicious recipes. Because it is more delicate than most kinds of pasta, it works best with lighter, simpler sauces and preparations. Often overlooked because spaghetti is so popular- and often considered nothing more than a replacement for it – capellini provides a different textural sensation and should be treated as its own unique noodle that can enhance a variety of dishes.
With summer just a few weeks away, angel hair pasta can serve as the base for some wonderful, light, warm-weather dishes that don’t sacrifice flavor. If you’ve only been using the “heavenly” noodle as a replacement in spaghetti and meatballs, read on to learn how you can really get the most out of it.
1. Brown Butter Garlic Angel Hair Pasta
The name of this pasta alone really gets the tastebuds going. Brown butter is one of the most decadent flavors one can imagine, and garlic is a welcome, pungent addition to almost any dish. When you finish cooking this simple dish, you’ll be welcomed by a subtle nuttiness thanks to the brown butter, and infusing it with garlic gives it just enough of a punch to round out the flavors.
Make sure to pay attention to the butter when cooking it – it will begin to foam and eventually turn light brown. If you don’t take it off the heat immediately, it will burn, and you will have to start over again. While the recipe uses parmesan and parsley, feel free to use another cheese like pecorino, and to experiment with different herbs.
Get the full recipe and directions at The Stay at Home Chef.
2. Angel Hair Pasta with Garlic and Herbs
Garlic and herbs can take the simplest dishes and turn them into something downright delectable. This recipe doesn’t specify herbs, though we recommended a mixture of parsley, chives, and basil. Again, this is very customizable, and the garlic-infused combination of butter and olive gives the noodles a delicious fat to cling onto.
Chopped cherry tomatoes add a burst of sweetness and acidity, and parmesan cheese makes it rich enough to serve as a meal. However, it is still light enough to use as a side dish, and pairs perfectly with something like baked salmon or grilled chicken. We also love adding other vegetables like broccoli, zucchini, or eggplant to accommodate vegetarian diets.
Get the full recipe and directions at Dinner at the Zoo.
3. Angel Hair Pasta Primavera
Primavera is a classic Italian American dish that goes heavy on vegetables, making it the perfect meal for summer parties. By making it with angel hair, you place a strong emphasis on the veggies, while the pasta provides a chewier, textural contrast. This recipe uses broccoli, cherry tomatoes, baby Bella mushrooms, and artichoke hearts, and they work very nicely together.
However, you can turn this into sort of a “kitchen sink” pasta and throw in any vegetables you may be looking to use before they go bad. Roasting them before adding them to the sauce introduces a new depth of flavor that goes perfectly with the parmesan-based sauce. Garnish with basil, parsley, or both, and you’ve completed one of the most well-rounded pasta dishes you’ll ever have.
Get the full recipe and ingredients at Delish.
4. One-Pot Garlic Parmesan Pasta
There’s nothing better for a busy cook than a one-pot recipe, and this one checks all the boxes – it’s easy, quick, and delicious! It’s pretty basic yet extremely satisfying, but if you have some meat already cooked, you can add some protein without adding time. The creamy blend of parmesan, milk, butter, and a half and a half does a lot of the heavy lifting here, creating a sort of “grown-up” mac and cheese sauce.
Garlic, as always, elevates the flavor greatly, and parsley brightens everything up at the end, though you could opt for a variety of other herbs and spices. Because this has so few ingredients, we highly recommend springing for the fancy Parmigiano Reggiano, as you’ll really be able to notice the difference.
Get the full recipe and ingredients at The Cozy Cook.
5. Angel Hair Pasta with Blush Sauce
Up to this point, we’ve focused on lighter, white sauces, but you don’t have to stick to those just because of Angel Hair’s reputation. It actually works wonderfully with this creamy tomato sauce that is not too heavy or acidic like marinara.
You can use milk, half and half, or heavy cream for the sauce, based on how rich you want it to be. You get a bit of that spaghetti marinara flavor, but with some more fat and thinner noodles for a more interesting profile. By using garlic and Italian seasoning, you balance out the grated parmesan cheese that makes it even more savory.
Get the full recipe and ingredients at Jersey Girl Cooks.
6. Angel Hair Pasta with Shrimp in White Wine Sauce
White wine sauce pairs wonderfully with shellfish, and when you add angel hair to the mix, you have a light, sweet, satisfying meal that comes together quickly and easily.
This is a pretty basic recipe, using lemon, parsley, garlic, butter, and oil to add just enough flavor to the meaty sweetness of the shrimp. The noodles absorb the sauce just enough so that they don’t take over the entire dish but still serve as a perfect base.
Get the full recipe and ingredients at Kitchen Stories.
7. Angel Hair Pasta with Roasted Tomato Sauce
Roasted tomatoes are one of the fine pleasures of life, and a sauce made out of them is even better. The sauce comes together with mozzarella and basil for that lovely, summery Caprese flavor, and shallots add another layer of sweetness to cut through the cheese and dry white wine sauce. If you don’t have white wine on hand, try using something like kalamata olives or capers mixed with water. Either way, you’ll be delighted by this easy, delicious recipe.
Get the full recipe and ingredients at Entertaining with Beth.
Whether you opt for a tomato-based or cream-based sauce, angel hair pasta is perfect for when you want a lighter pasta dish. Great for warmer weather or even for lunch options. You can’t go wrong with this delicate pasta.
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