It’s been over a year since most of Australia has been in lockdown (sorry, Melbourne) and you might be feeling a bit rusty when it comes to this whole isolation thing. Thankfully, it’s nothing some pasta can’t soothe. If you’re yet to witness the gusto of The Pasta Queen, prepare for next week to vastly improve.
While some of us might join fitness challenges to get through lockdown, many of us prefer to find alternative methods to fill our time (read: food). Challenging yourself in the kitchen is a win-win: you get your creative juices flowing and you get fed.
Now, being half Italian, I may be biased, but pasta is one of the most satisfying meals you can make. Even with the simplest of ingredients, you can create incredibly flavourful and comforting dishes.
If you’re feeling inspired, then you need Roman-born Nadia Caterina Munno, AKA The Pasta Queen, in your life. Full of fun, charm, and cute catchphrases (like ‘Pasta, Drama, Dolce & Gabbana’), she bangs out delicious pasta dishes on her YouTube, as well as to her 1.8 million TikTok and 800K Instagram followers.
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What I love about Nadia, other than the way she says “a scrunch of pepper,” is that she shares a wide array of recipes and an insight into Italian culture, along with origin stories of each dish. Never taking herself too seriously, Nadia also refers to pasta water as ‘tears of the Pasta Gods’, which is absolutely correct.
You’ll find all your classics along with recipes for the likes of pea and broccoli pastas, which are so underrated and some of my favourites. The potato pasta dish takes me back to my Nonna cooking for me as a child and if you’ve never tried lemon spaghetti, now’s the time.
With so many easy recipes to work through, The Pasta Queen’s socials naturally pave the way for a tasty cooking challenge, so let her Italian accent and sassy hair flicking lure you into upping your pasta game.
In no particular order, here are 10 dishes to try your hand at. And if you need a refresher on how to cook pasta, here are Nadia’s tips.
As The Pasta Queen herself would say, these are gorgeous, just like you are.
#1 Pasta With Peas, also known as The Lazy Princess
This is one of my favourites, so don’t knock it ’til you try it. You won’t even realise you’re eating vegetables. It’s luscious and creamy.
#2 Classic Tagliatele Al Ragu, also known as Lady Caterina
This is a Pasta Queen family recipe passed down from her Nonna Caterina. And if that’s not enough for you, she also shares the “most delicious meat sauce you’ll ever make“.
#3 Lemon Ricotta Delight
If you want something ridiculously easy and tasty to make, then this recipe is for you as the sauce requires no cooking.
#4 Carbonara (The Right Way)
If you think you make a carbonara with cream, then please, for the love of all that is holy in this world, watch this and mend your ways. If you’re vegetarian, there’s also a version for you – Zucchini Carbonara.
#5 Cream Of Broccoli Pasta
Creating sauces by blending part of your cooked veggies will open you up to a whole new pasta world. Similar in method to pasta with peas, this broccoli version will change your thoughts about the vegetable. There’s also a zucchini version, too.
#6 Puttanesca or ‘Lady Of The Night’
Another classic Italian pasta you’ll want to get right, puttanesca is packed full of big flavours. “It’s so good I could eat it every day,” says The Pasta Queen.
#7 Fresh Ricotta Gnocchi With Butter And Sage
For this bad boy you’ll be making the gnocchi yourself, but using ricotta – there’s no potato in this dish.
#8 The Assassin’s Spaghetti
I’d never seen a spaghetti like this before but I can get on board if the sauce sticks to each strand like this. The Pasta Queen runs through the story behind how this pasta came to be, which is entertaining in itself.
#9 Creamy Potato Pasta
It may seem like a carb overload, but the combination of potato with pasta (and tbh, on pizza) is heavenly. Worth it.
#10 Cacio e Pepe
You cannot have a list of pastas to make without cacio e pepe on the list. Another one that westerners seems to bugger up (often thinking creaminess must mean the addition of cream), this Roman dish makes The Pasta Queen’s “soul go crazy”.
Bonus – pasta bakes
If you love your pasta baked, then this southern Italian recipe using meatballs should do the trick. But The Pasta Queen also shares her own lasagna recipe as well as these divine ricotta-stuffed pasta shells.
Of course, there are non-pasta recipes she shares too, like her Nonna’s perfect roast potatoes. For fuller recipes and longer videos, check out her Instagram or YouTube. Or for more TikTok food ideas, click here.
Lead image: The Pasta Queen TikTok / Instagram
Sonia feels most at home on the road, with travel her greatest passion. But really, she’s hype about a lot of things: beautiful design, tasty food, wellness, nature, interesting people and women’s issues. The Founding Editor of Junkee’s The Cusp and former Homes Editor at Nine, Sonia prides herself on seeking out authentic experiences with charm and loves sharing a personal rec. Catch her on Instagram @sonnietothetee.