Make This Pear, Prosciutto, and Mozzarella Grilled Cheese When You’re Craving Comfort

Cozy season is upon us, and with it, the craving for comfort food (best enjoyed with a side of Netflix and cozy socks). And let’s face it: there’s nothing quite like the combination of flavors found in the perfect grilled cheese sandwich. It’s the ideal blend of golden crunch and creaminess, and really needs no improvement. But why not elevate it with a seasonal twist? Enter my prosciutto, mozzarella, and pear grilled cheese that’s almost sophisticated enough for a dinner party… and every bit as drool-worthy as it sounds.

The Best Pear & Cheese Pairings

Before we dive into the recipe, let’s talk pear and cheese pairings (say that five times fast, lol). Pears, with their sweet and juicy texture, have long been a classic complement to a range of cheeses. From the creaminess of Brie to the robust stinkiness of blue, pears’ versatility makes them an excellent pairing for various cheese options, but it’s hard to beat this pear-meets-mozzarella combo. Its melt-in-your-mouth quality ensures an unforgettable sandwich.

What You’ll Need to Make This Recipe


  • Ciabatta bread
  • Fig preserves (I used fig butter from Trader Joe’s)
  • Fresh mozzarella
  • Arugula — its peppery bite balances out the creaminess
  • Thinly-sliced prosciutto
  • Pear — any firm, sweet variety works well
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Fresh rosemary
  • Balsamic reduction

How to Make This Pear Grilled Cheese

  1. First, we’re going to halve the ciabatta bread and toast it under the broiler until it’s golden.
  2. Then we add our fig preserves to both sides.
    • To one side, add torn mozzarella, arugula, and prosciutto.
    • To the other side, layer on torn mozzarella, sliced pear, and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes.
  3. Pop back under the broiler for a few minutes until the cheese is perfectly melted.
  4. Then we’re going to sprinkle some fresh rosemary and drizzle with balsamic reduction.
  5. Press the two sides together, slice, and devour.

Getting the Perfect Melt

Since a grilled cheese with cheese that’s only halfway melted is a major letdown, let’s talk about how to get the full melt and gooeyness we’re looking for. I like to set my oven to broil and pop the sandwich underneath “open-faced” style to get an even melt without making the bread too soggy or the cheese too crispy.

Butter Versus Oil Versus Mayonnaise

You may or may not be aware that there’s a healthy debate on the interwebs about butter versus mayo on grilled cheese. While traditionalists swear by butter for its rich flavor and golden finish, others opt for mayo due to its even spread and crispy result. However, for our grilled cheese, we’re fully leaning into the Mediterranean flavors by using olive oil to toast the bread, and the fig preserves provide plenty of moisture inside the sandwich without the need for additional fats.


Whether it’s a cozy evening indoors or casual night with friends, this prosciutto, mozzarella, and pear grilled cheese recipe promises to elevate your fall. Scroll on for the recipe…


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Filled with crunchy pear, salty prosciutto, and creamy mozzarella, this grilled cheese is the perfect sandwich for a cozy dinner.

  • 1 ciabatta roll, or a 5-6-inch piece of ciabatta bread
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fig preserves
  • A few pieces of torn mozzarella
  • A handful of arugula
  • 1/2 pear
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • Balsamic glaze/reduction

    1. Preparation: Set your oven to broil and place a rack on the upper third level.
    2. Toast the Ciabatta: Halve the ciabatta bread and brush both sides with a little olive oil. Toast the top sides until they’re golden. Flip and lightly toast the other sides.
    3. Add the Flavors: Spread fig preserves generously on both sides of the ciabatta.
    4. To one side, add torn mozzarella, arugula, and prosciutto. To the other side, layer on torn mozzarella, sliced pear, and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes.
    5. Melt and Crisp: Pop both sides back under the broiler “open-faced style,” and broil until the cheese is perfectly melted.
    6. Final Touches: Once out of the oven, sprinkle some fresh rosemary and drizzle with balsamic reduction.
    7. Serve: Press the two sides together, slice, and enjoy your sophisticated grilled cheese.
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 5
  • Category: lunch, sandwich

Keywords: pear grilled cheese, sandwich recipes

“I Feel Like I’m Stepping Into a New Light”—How Sami Bernstein Learned to Live Outside Her Comfort Zone

Wake Up Call

How do you spend the first five minutes of your day? In our Wake Up Call series, we take a look inside the morning routines of people we admire to inspire our own AM rituals. See All

My Roman Empire is the transitioning light in which we’ve held girl bosses over the past half-decade. Niche, I know, but I’m always keen to celebrate the release of hustle culture and a more balanced embrace of success. The leaders of today understand that advancing in our careers and realizing our dreams doesn’t have to come at the cost of our health or happiness. Instead, shifting narratives around what thriving actually looks like—on and off social media—see us leaning into slow living and prioritizing friends, family, and ourselves over completing just one… more… task. And few people know this better than Sami Bernstein Spalter, co-founder of FORM—the online fitness platform that has everyone (including Camille) obsessed.

And while plenty of exercise apps and programs have entered the limelight since the pandemic put us all at home, few have captured—and held—our attention quite like FORM. It goes beyond the beautiful design, attractive aesthetic, and even the workout itself (effective as it may be). Instead, in our increasingly isolated society, it’s refreshing and even uplifting to see the community that Sami and her business partner, also named Sami, have created. It’s a testament to the connective power of movement. And not only that but when we commit to realizing our best selves, we inevitably find those ready and willing to support us along the way.

Sami Bernstein Spalter

Sami knows this well, as her path to founding FORM ran parallel to her own wellness journey. Through it, Sami has developed not only a committed fitness practice but a reframing of what it means to live every day with intention. There’s a clear through-line of purpose woven all throughout her morning, and it’s evident that she moves and fuels her body to show up for those she loves—and for herself with the greatest energy and presence.

While I’ve learned something from all the accomplished women we’ve featured in our Wake Up Call series, it’s in interviewing Sami that I understood the true meaning of wellness. It’s not a means to an end, but rather something we invite into our lives so we can show up as a stronger and more supported version of ourselves. And in that way, just as Sami is doing through FORM, we can inspire others to experience those revelations as well.

Ahead, we dive into Sami’s wellness routine—from her morning essentials to the recipes that keep her fueled all day long. And be prepared to pull the trigger on your new favorite workout set. It’s the perfect motivation to get moving.

Tell us about your career and starting a business. What has life been like as an entrepreneur?

A crazy, rewarding journey! My career was a deep dive straight into the startup world, working alongside my brother Franky, and establishing ourselves as experts in the influencer marketing industry. In 2021, I took a pause for myself and leaned into my health and fitness. Serendipitously, I crossed paths with well-known fitness influencer (now my best friend), Sami Clarke. Together, we created FORM, a venture that encapsulates my journey. Every step of my career seems to have woven together, leading me to this point. Running FORM, a business entrenched in my passion for wellness, is truly a privilege I am grateful for every single day. 

What has been your biggest learning over the past year? 

Trusting myself and stepping out of my comfort zone. I used to be very comfortable behind the scenes, handling the day-to-day operations of our business. But now, beyond thriving behind the scenes, I feel like I’m stepping into a new light—one shaped by my life experiences that I hope can serve as an example of hope and inspiration. I’ve evolved to feel both vulnerable and safe enough to share my journey, and in turn help others live their best lives. I love embracing my personal growth and allowing it to guide my professional purpose.

How would you describe your personal style? 

My day-to-day go-to is activewear and sneaks, and I will style them up with accessories. The power of a cute workout set that allows me to move through my day while making me feel my best self is unmatched. On the flip side, I love any excuse to get all dolled up and as ultra-feminine as possible. Vibrant colors and sparkles are usually the key to my heart for any special occasion. And with jewelry, the bigger the better! 

Let’s get into your morning routine. What does a typical day look like for you?

It might sound like a bit of a cliché, but no two days are really the same for me—and honestly, that’s one of the things that keeps my job so exciting! While every day is different, one constant is a balance of movement, work, and quality time with my loved ones. Some of my favorite days involve a morning started outside with our dog Bagel, a FORM workout, crushing work and calls from my home office, and sharing lunch at home with my husband, Andrew. I love the balance of simple aspects to my days with exciting sparks of energy from all that I get to work on.

What time is your wake-up call?

My days typically start at 7 a.m. thanks to my alarm clock (my dog, Bagel) and her morning kisses. I try to get into bed by 9 p.m. every night. Sleep is an enormous cornerstone of my wellness routine!

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up? 

That’s easy. I give my husband, Andrew, and my dog a big cuddle. 

What does your morning, pre-work routine look like?

My mornings are anchored in purposeful routines that energize my day. Every morning, I savor a little “me time” with my skin routine. This is followed by opening all of my doors, feeding Bagel, and drinking plenty of water alongside my vitamins. I religiously take my ARMRA Colustrum, Seed Symbiotic, Ritual Multivitamin, Ultimata for electrolytes, and Bloom Greens.

From there, it’s straight into my morning movement. My FORM workout in my home gym is non-negotiable! Whenever I get the chance, I love going for a walk. Starting my day with nature and being in the sunlight has been so grounding for me. During my walks, I reconnect with family and friends, check in on my daily to-do list, and practice habit stacking. I always say that if it isn’t on the list, then it doesn’t exist! 

Describe your morning beauty routine from start to finish: 

All the things! I start by brushing my teeth and then move into my skincare routine. Right now, my skincare regimen consists of using the OSEA Ocean Cleanser, followed by an arsenal of skincare products. I apply the Skinceuticals Vitamin C serum all over my face, neck, and décolletage. Then, I use the Dr. Loretta Retinol Serum, OSEA Blemish Balm, and Tatcha Dewy Moisturizer—this product has been a lifesaver for deliver moisturized skin, especially in the Texas heat.

I like keeping my makeup simple. My current rotation includes the REFY Brow Sculpt, ILIA Super Serum Skin Tint, MERIT Blush, Rhode Peptide Lip Treatment, and anything from Charlotte Tilbury. I can’t get enough of their lip products, and their blushes and bronzers are simply incredible. 

What do you eat for breakfast?

I practice intermittent fasting every day, so I usually skip breakfast. However, I always break my fast with a protein shake (my current favorite protein powder is Bloom). As for lunch, the Cobb Salad and Rainbow Buddha Bowl from FORM Nutrition are on heavy rotation for me.

What will we always find in your refrigerator? 

There’s always a bunch of fresh fruits and vegetables from the farmer’s market in our refrigerator. I love having these readily available for snacking throughout the day. I also have a big sweet tooth, so I always have Hu’s Chocolate-Covered Cashews and some Simple Mills brownies or banana bread ready for my cravings! 

What are your morning rituals?

Gratitude is an integral part of my ritual—it helps set a positive tone for my day ahead, along with my morning movement. Whether it’s a FORM Pilates or Strength class, or simply a quick walk outside, movement truly sets me up for the day.

As a self-proclaimed planner, I’m not one to leave things to chance. Before each day, I craft my to-do list, ensuring that I’m prepped for every meeting and call. Having a confident grasp of the day ahead is a non-negotiable part of my routine.

What are your favorite books? 

One of the most impactful books in my life is Atomic Habits by James Clear. It laid the foundation for my recent wellness journey and allowed me to make small, but significant changes I could maintain. A few other all-time favorites include The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, which reshaped my perspective on life and love. Signs by Laura Jackson was instrumental in helping me navigate the grieving process after losing my mom. And The Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein has been a true game changer in learning to work through fear and lead with love. 

What’s always on your nightstand?

My Hatch Alarm Clock, this insanely moisturizing hand and foot cream, and my trusted and very full Stanley Tumbler. (If this isn’t on my nightstand, there’s something wrong.)

What’s your favorite getting-ready soundtrack? 

I have always had an emotional relationship with music. I love how certain songs and artists remind me of special times and places in my life. I’m always a country girl at heart, but my current round-up has an eclectic mix of Fleetwood Mac, Morgan Wallen, and Noah Kahan.

Do you work out in the morning? 

I’m 1000% a morning workout girlie. As you could likely assume, my ride or die workout is FORM. My biz partner Sami Clarke has truly perfected the 30-minute at-home workout, which I find to be far more impactful than any class or gym experience. My favorite classes are the Upper Body Sweaty Series and our recent 14-Day Power Pilates program.

What’s your daily uniform?  

I wear activewear most days, and my favorite set right now is from our latest FORM Essentials release. The Supporter is the perfect sports bra—I practically live in it—and I love pairing it with the Sculpt Leggings and my TechLoom Zipline sneakers from APL.

If you had one extra hour every morning, how would you use it?

I’d probably spend it taking a few more deep breaths before the controlled chaos of my day takes over. I love waking up with no rush, allowing myself to ease into what my day has in store. Extra cuddles and more quality time with Andrew and Bagel sounds like a dream.

What are one or two things you do every day to live a more joyful life? 

  1. Moving my body and affirming others. 
  2. Recognizing the privilege it is to move my body has not only impacted my physical well-being but has also greatly contributed to my mental and spiritual growth over the last few years.
  3. I always make it a point to affirm my loved ones daily. I’m a big believer in communication and expressing my feelings to those around me, in the present moment.

If you could pin your success down to one thing, what would that be?

Deeply knowing and trusting myself. Embracing my authentic self has shown me that no matter what I do, I am who I am. And because of that, every step of the journey has a touch of magic that perfectly reflects me!

Embracing my authentic self has shown me that no matter what I do, I am who I am. And because of that, every step of the journey has a touch of magic that perfectly reflects me!

Sentence Finishers:

I never leave the house without: my Stanley full of ice water.

If there were more hours in the day, I would: take a beat to just chill out and unwind. Practice the art of doing nothing.  

Healthiest morning habit: Practice gratitude, every day is a blessing.

Worst morning habit: My email inbox obsession. I just love emailing people back QUICK, hah!

One thing I want to be known for is: my heart and intent for positivity. 

The one thing I fear the most: losing loved ones.

When I feel that fear, I: communicate my love for my people. 

The book I always recommend is: Atomic Habits. It’s a game-changer. 

One trait you need to succeed in life is: knowing that no one will compare to you. Your unique self is your greatest gift. 

Bath or shower? Both! Bath, then shower.

And what’s your favorite shower/bath product? Osea Salts of the Earth Body Scrub and the L’occitane Almond Shower Oil. 

This Creamy Butternut Squash Pasta Is Total Comfort Food (With a Healthy, Dairy-Free Twist)

When the weather turns colder, I crave cozy, warming recipes. And of all the comfort foods out there, nothing hits the spot quite like a full bowl of pasta smothered in a creamy sauce. When it comes to pasta recipes, the options are truly endless. From the type of noodles to the plethora of sauces to all the many toppings you can try—pasta is the best. It’s also quick, affordable, and feeds the whole crew. What’s not to love? (Answer: nothing.)

The real question is, why aren’t we making pasta every night? Seriously—I’ve thrown all care and concern for the previously-vilified carbohydrates out the window and am turning to comfort with zero regrets. But of course, piles of rich, heavy pasta can start to not feel so great when you’re on your third serving. (Or enjoying it for the third night in a row.) That’s why I’ve been tinkering away in the kitchen, concocting healthier versions of some of my favorite, classic indulgences. And this creamy vegan butternut squash pasta might be my favorite healthy comfort food this fall and winter. Prepare yourself for major deliciousness ahead.

The Inspiration Behind This Vegan Butternut Squash Pasta

This vegan butternut squash pasta sauce recipe is inspired by my favorite pasta that I used to order at our neighborhood Italian joint. It was pretty much grown-up mac ‘n cheese. Picture a decadently cheesy sauce over soft, angel hair noodles. This version is a healthier take and earns bonus points for being both gluten and dairy-free. (Bonus: it’s so easy to prep.) It’s healthy enough to eat as often as you’d like without feeling weighed down from your pasta bender.

The Best Gluten-Free Pasta

For this recipe, I chose Banza angel hair chickpea noodles as the base. Out of all the grain-free pasta I’ve tried, this one wins in terms of texture and nutrition. These noodles are loaded with protein and fiber from chickpeas and are unbelievably satisfying. I’ve also found the brand’s penne noodles to be a win for this recipe. It’s safe to say that whatever type of noodle you have on hand should work just fine.

How to Create a Creamy Plant-Based Pasta Sauce

When I embarked on a mission to uncover the perfect dairy-free pasta sauce, I immediately turned to cashews. They have the ability to make anything creamy and rich without overpowering the flavor. When combined with the butternut squash sauce and dairy-free creamer, you get a delicious, rich base that’s smooth and buttery.

The “cheesiness” of the sauce is enhanced by the nutritional yeast and chickpea miso. Garlic adds an extra punch, and the vegetable broth helps it all blend into a smooth, velvety mixture that’s perfectly primed for coating the pasta. Make sure to save about a cup of pasta water before draining your pasta. This helps to help coat the noodles when you begin stirring in the sauce.

Choosing Your Pasta Toppings

So now let’s talk about the unsung heroes of pasta: the edible accessories we call toppings. While I’m all about garnishes, it’s possible to go overboard and take away from the actual dish. In this recipe, we have a combination of crispy bacon bits, fried sage leaves, shaved vegan parmesan, and red pepper flakes to round it all out.

This recipe makes a little bit of extra sauce which is great to store in the fridge as a go-to melted cheese substitute. It’s a little bit sweeter but is perfect with tacos, nachos, and more. The pasta is best served immediately and enjoyed warm. Time to dig in!


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This creamy butternut squash pasta is the lightened-up version of your favorite comfort food dish. It’s gluten- and dairy-free—and of course, delicious!

  • 12 ounces chickpea pasta (I used Banza)
  • 8 ounces bacon
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 heaping cups butternut squash, cubed
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/3 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup Nut Pods dairy-free creamer (unflavored)
  • 2 tablespoons chickpea miso
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • Handful of fresh sage leaves
  • Salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • Optional toppings: red pepper flakes or vegan parmesan (I use Violife)

  1. Preheat oven to 425 F. Cut the butternut squash into cubes and drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and transfer to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Roast for 35 minutes or until golden brown.
  2. Meanwhile, add bacon strips to a foil-lined baking sheet and bake until crispy, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel and set aside.
  3. Add 2 cups of cooked squash, 1/2 cup cashews, garlic cloves, vegetable broth, creamer, chickpea miso, nutritional yeast, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper to a blender. Add additional vegetable broth as needed and blend until creamy. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Add pasta of choice to boiling water and cook according to package instructions. While the pasta is cooking, transfer your bacon strips to a bowl and break them up into small pieces using your fist. Once the pasta is cooked, drain the pasta in a colander but leave behind 1 cup of pasta water in the pot.
  5. Return the pasta to the pot with the pasta water and gradually pour in the sauce to coat the pasta (you will likely have extra). Once the pasta is creamy and completely coated with sauce, sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper to taste.
  6. Heat oil in a small pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the sage leaves and fry until crispy. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels and sprinkle with salt. Once cooled, scoop the pasta into bowls and top with the fried sage leaves and bacon bits.
  7. Optional: Top with shaved vegan parmesan and red pepper flakes. Serve warm and enjoy!

This post was originally published on December 6, 2020, and has since been updated.

20 Essential Fall Pasta Recipes to Celebrate Comfort Food Season

Fall is arguably the best time of the year for food (and clothes, and organizing, and redecorating). The oh-so-beautiful produce is brimming with autumnal hues and comfort is a key flavor alongside dishes that are equal parts mouth-watering and sumptuous. And whether it’s the ease of preparation or its endless versatility (or a bit of the two), pasta is always a wonderful way to invite in the colder temps. For a little inspiration and to get your culinary wheels turning, we’ve rounded up our favorite fall pasta recipes to keep you warm, cozy, and satisfied all season long.

Featured image by Michelle Nash.

Image by Michelle Nash

20 Fall Pasta Recipes That Define Autumnal Comfort

In addition to fall soups and comfort baking, fall pasta recipes give shape to the season we spend all year looking forward to celebrating. Among the apple picking and cozying up our homes, the ritual of weeknight fall pasta recipes that double as dinner party staples is one we’d gladly give up the sunny days of summer for.

Ready for the deliciousness? Prepare for the silky, soothing pleasure of pasta. With the dishes below, we’re ready to celebrate cold weather eating at its most undeniably delicious. Now, let’s dive into the best fall pasta recipes, fork-first.

Ratatouille-Style Roasted Vegetable Pasta

Why We Love It: This take on the classic French dish is the perfect recipe for when you’re craving fall coziness, but the summer temps haven’t yet tipped. (Hello, all of September.) It makes the most of late-summer veggies like eggplant and zucchini while also leaning into the coziness of parmesan-spiked pasta. Plus, it’s a sheet pan meal, streamlining the kitchen-to-table transition.

Hero Ingredient: Rigatoni holds up to the chunky cuts of veggies perfectly.

Winter Vegetable Lasagna

Why We Love It: If you’ve been too intimidated to make your own pasta, this is the recipe to help build your confidence. Turns out, making your own lasagna is wayyy easier than it seems. And of course, it’s the perfect vehicle for a buttery sauce and a hearty vegetable filling.

Hero Ingredient: Nutmeg warms up the rich, creamy béchamel.

Pappardelle with Shiitakes, Kale, & Jammy Leeks

Why We Love It: This veggie-packed pasta is loaded with an irresistibly smoky flavor and complemented by umami-rich mushrooms. Finish things off with a pungent bite of garlic for good measure. Seconds? Thirds? Yes, please.

Hero Ingredient: I have two words: jammy leeks.

Gemelli with Turkey Sausage and Broccoli

Why We Love It: Turkey sausage, broccoli, and tomatoes’ richness make this simpler-than-it-seems dinner an always-impressive choice. Drizzling olive oil over top just before serving only improves the final fruity result.

Hero Ingredient: Chopped broccoli provides visual interest while balancing out the turkey’s hearty bite.

Miso Tomato Pasta

Why We Love It: I know, I know: while baby tomatoes are at their best in July, I still crave the juicy bursts of flavor they offer any dish, year-round. To handle tomatoes post-summer, I opt for recipes that cook them down until they’re caramelized and sweet. In this hearty, but simple pasta, slow-roasting the tomatoes with olive oil and garlic is key to making them taste their best.

Hero Ingredient: While I just waxed poetic on tomatoes, the prize goes to miso. It’s a secret-weapon ingredient that gives this five-ingredient pasta tons of flavor.

Creamy Vegan Pasta with Tomatoes and Basil

Why We Love It: Creamy and vegan? Don’t worry, I was skeptical, too. That is until I spun my fork around and lifted the silky spool of bucatini into my mouth. Plant-based perfection. The key is making a creamy walnut sauce that combines soaked nuts with a few key players that fill it with tons of flavor. It all comes together in 20 minutes—and tastes like you’ve been cooking all day.

Hero Ingredient: Hollow strands of bucatini soak up the creamy sauce perfectly. The result is a burst of flavor in every bite.

Rigatoni with Brussels Sprouts & Kale Pesto

Why We Love It: We’re quick to share our love of Brussels sprouts with the masses, and we’d be remiss not to include the veg in our roundup of fall pasta recipes. Sautéed with a splash of EVOO and elevated by red chili flakes and rosemary, the sprouts shine in this deceptively easy dish.

Hero Ingredient: A tablespoon of nutritional yeast fills your pesto with plant-based cheesiness. It’s hard not to dive in before it gets stirred into your pasta.

Butternut Squash, Spinach, & Goat Cheese Pasta

Why We Love It: When the temperatures drop and all your cravings point to a hearty, mind-blowing meatless main dish, this butternut squash pasta is your answer. A mix of fresh and colorful veggies blends beautifully with a brown butter sauce that’s divine. Plus, the mix of easy-to-prep ingredients (if you buy your butternut squash peeled and chopped) aligns with anyone wanting to build their confidence in the kitchen.

Hero Ingredient: The goat cheese crumbles bring a tangy-salty bite that’s pronounced while still letting the other ingredients shine.

Vegetarian Pasta Bolognese

Why We Love It: Convinced that bolognese should be reserved only for open-ended weekend culinary pursuits? This recipe is swooping in to say otherwise. A vegetarian twist on the classic meat sauce, this version leans on small-diced onions, carrots, celery, and mushrooms to mimic the traditional texture.

Hero Ingredient: Mushrooms = MVP. They give bite and body to the sauce, and when simmered with tomatoes and just a few seasonings, the result is an impressively filling, plant-based alternative.

Creamy Butternut Squash Pasta with Bacon & Crispy Sage

Why We Love It: Bold statement, but I’ll be craving this dish every night from now until spring. Using just a handful of ingredients, this pasta perfectly encapsulates fall flavors. (And it’s ready in under an hour!) Oh, and if you can think of something better than sinking your fork into a spiralized plate of butternut squash pasta deliciousness, let us know.

Hero Ingredient: Roasting the butternut squash creates a complex, nutty flavor—sealing the deal on this autumn-inspired dish.

Brown Butter Pumpkin Pasta with Fried Sage & Manchego

Why We Love It: Loaded with honey-sweetened cubes of roasted pumpkin, this comforting pasta makes the most of the fall staple. It’s satiating while still feeling light, bringing all the flavors of fall together in one delightful dish.

Hero Ingredient: Manchego’s sweet, caramelized flavor is a cheese-lover’s dream.

Green Sauce Pasta

Why We Love It: If you haven’t tried serving long locks of linguine with a verdant and fresh sauce, now’s the time to get started. While this recipe might not immediately scream fall, I find that a few weeks into the season, I’m ready to mix things up with a light and bright recipe. This pasta packs in all the vitamins and nutrients I need.

Hero Ingredient: We’re calling it now: green pasta is the new green smoothie. A little grated parmesan keeps it from tasting too virtuous.

One Pot Garlicky Mushroom Pasta with Sausage & Arugula

Why We Love It: The simplicity-to-wow-factor ratio of this recipe is unmatched. Bonus: This dish works just as well given a vegetarian spin. Simply swap out the sausage for any hearty veg. Camille suggests strips of roasted red pepper, green olives, or drained and chopped artichoke hearts. You’re welcome to experiment with any ingredient your heart (and appetite) desires.

Hero Ingredient: While arugula’s strong, spicy flavor may turn otherwise adventurous diners off, here, the leafy green is tossed in all of this pasta’s cheesy, garlicky goodness. It’s a show-stopper that everyone will enjoy.

Tikka Masala Pasta

Why We Love It: This recipe is representative of our food editor, Suruchi’s quest to establish a universal Pasta Sunday. I don’t know about you, but I’m fully on board—and this recipe was the perfect pasta to convince me. I’m here for Indian fusion dishes, and as Suruchi says, “It’s magic when two culinary worlds come together to create something entirely new and wonderful.” One bite, and you’ll know exactly what she’s talking about.

Hero Ingredient: The list of fragrant and flavorful spices is lengthy, but it’s their complexity that gives this pasta a wonderful, mesmerizing depth.

Spicy Pesto Pasta Alla Vodka

Why We Love It: Like clockwork, the first fall chill sends signals to the body that it’s time to swap our summer salads for creamy, soul-satisfying dishes, and this recipe does a beautiful job of filling in the gaps. A crowd favorite, this is a must-make if you’re cooking for family or inviting friends over for an impromptu mid-week meal. Creamy and comforting, it all comes together in only 35 minutes.

Hero Ingredient: The sauce requires a heavy pour of cream, and with vodka and parm added to the mix, this comes dangerously close to being a nap-inducing dish. But the basil pesto cuts the richness of the cream, and the final result is beautifully balanced while still feeling incredibly indulgent.

Pumpkin Cheese Stuffed Pasta Bolognese Bake from Half Baked Harvest

Why We Love It: This recipe had us at “pumpkin-stuffed.” While the total alone could have you thinking this will be a labor-intensive dish, it requires only 20 minutes of prep time. And because it’s a bake, most of the hard work gets done in the oven.

Hero Ingredient: Be warned: this recipe is not for the faint of heart. It combines chicken, fontina, blue cheese, and provolone for an unbelievably rich sauce. But the two tablespoons of chopped sage lend an earthy, eucalyptus-spiked freshness that ties it all together. Consider this recipe the equivalent of sliding into your softest, coziest fall sweater.

Vegan Pumpkin Mac ‘n’ Cheese from Minimalist Baker

Why We Love It: As far as fall pasta recipes are concerned, mac and cheese plus pumpkin is a match made in heaven. While some versions can lean too sweet, this one is perfectly savory with just a hint of fall flavor. 100% plant-based, it’s the ideal indulgence for anyone who doesn’t handle dairy.

Hero Ingredient: I lean conservative when it comes to my pumpkin pie spice usage. The quarter-teaspoon sprinkled into this sauce is a study of perfectly balanced restraint.

Pumpkin Cauliflower Gnocchi with Nutty Browned Butter and Whipped Ricotta from Half Baked Harvest

Why We Love It: Classic gnocchi > cauliflower gnocchi. I’ll stand by my hot take for every recipe—with the exception of this one. The cauliflower version of everyone’s favorite dumpling-like pasta provides a lighter base for this incredibly indulgent sauce. Browned butter, whipped ricotta, and pumpkin to tie it all together? Trust, you’ll want some respite in the form of this cauliflower sub.

Hero Ingredient: Butter in any form is a beautiful thing. But left in the pan on low long enough for it to develop a complex, caramelized sweetness? Elite.

Miso Carbonara from The Kitchn

Why We Love It: A dish that can impress any dinner date with minimal effort? This recipe checks both boxes. Carbonara is a weeknight staple at many a dinner table, but this take on the dish adds an impressive burst of flavor with the unexpected additions of miso and sriracha. It’s a must-make whenever you’re trying to impress your fellow diners. (Or, of course, if you’re piling up a heaping bowl of pasta to enjoy all to yourself.)

Hero Ingredient: The miso’s earthy, salty savoriness beautifully balances the egg yolks’ rich flavor, making this recipe hearty without feeling heavy.

Turkey Tetrazzini from Adventures in Cooking

Why We Love It: This is not the mysterious turkey tetrazzini served in many an early-aughts school cafeteria. With a stunning medley of fresh and vibrant veg (shallots, mushrooms, and a handful of peppery parsley), this dish imparts both brightness and heat.

Hero Ingredient: While surprisingly polarizing in terms of taste, the health benefits of mushrooms can’t be denied. And when they’ve taken a spin in a sauté pan with a good glug of olive oil, you might even be able to make the most mushroom-averse diner change their tune.

This post was originally published on October 22, 2021, and has since been updated.