With Genius Recipes correspondent Kristen off for a few months trying to raise a genius newborn, we're revisiting the column's Greatest Hits with brand-new videos—and hearing from a few special surprise guests. Wish her luck! (And keep sending those tips.)
There are good pastas and then there are great pastas and then there are Genius pastas. Sometimes this title is bestowed thanks to an ultra-creative swap (like Tony Kim’s “Cacio” e Pepe, which forgos cheese and calls in miso instead). Other times, it’s because you flip a technique on its head (like Ina Garten’s roasted-not-simmered vodka sauce). And other times still, it’s because the recipe is superiorly simple.
Today, we’re cheersing to that—the easiest Genius pastas from over the years. Bookmark for an extra-tired weeknight or, you know, whenever you just want something really good without a lot of effort. (This is all of us always, right?)
1. Barbara Kafka's Creamy Lemon Pasta
Egg noodles, lemons, and cream are all you need to make this recipe—one of my favorite pastas of all time, dreamed up by the late Barbara Kafka. Don’t skimp on the black pepper!
4. Al Forno's Penne With Tomato, Cream & 5 Cheeses
If you can boil pasta and combine ingredients in a mixing bowl, then you can make this creamy, cheesy baked pasta. Bonus: It’s infinitely adaptable, so you can riff on its flavors to your heart’s content.
To all those pasta recipes that you have you cook your pasta in one pot and make your sauce in another, Martha Stewart says: no thanks. Besides that you save a dirty dish, the whole thing comes together in circa nine minutes.
The Genius Desserts cookbook is here! With more than 100 of the most beloved and talked-about desserts of our time (and the hidden gems soon to join their ranks) this book will make you a local legend, and a smarter baker to boot.
Emma is a writer and recipe developer at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles "on the fly," baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., reviewing restaurants, and writing stories about everything from how to use leftover mashed potatoes to the history of pies in North Carolina. Now, she lives in Maplewood, New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter.