Ah, French cuisine, the land of baguettes, wine, and…pasta? While the French may not be as famous for their pasta as their next-door Italian neighbors, don’t underestimate the popularity of pasta in France.
Having lived in France for so long, I have to say there are definitely some differences between how it is cooked in France, with heaping spoonfuls of cream, veggies and local cheeses.
From classic dishes like spaghetti carbonara to coquilles saint-jacques (scallops), the French have found a way to put their own je ne sais quoi on this dinnertime staple.
So grab your fork and let’s get to the best French pasta dishes, shall we? Allons-y!
1. French carbonara
Pasta carbonara is a classic Italian dish of pasta in sauce made primarily with eggs, cheese, and bacon or pancetta. The French have adopted the dish and made a critical change.
In the quest for a creamy pasta, the traditional French carbonara recipe calls for adding a heavy dose of crême fraïche (heavy cream) into the pot. You can get the recipe for French carbonara with crème fraïche here.
2. Spinach and sun-dried tomato pasta
For a taste of Provence, you cannot beat this pasta dish topped with tart sun-dried tomatoes and gooey melted mozzarella cheese.
With a touch of spinach and sprinkling of herbs for flavor, this is an easy weeknight meal that you can make with enough leftover for lunch the next day. You can get the recipe for spinach and sun-dried tomato pasta here.
3. Mushroom, bacon and pasta gratin
Inspired by the French gratin dauphinois, this mushroom and pasta gratin is simple, easy to prepare, and it never fails to please.
The earthy mushrooms are cooked in with the bacon or pancetta so that the juices of the two mix together to create a tangy base for the pasta. Add some sharp parmesan cheese to bring the dish to a whole another level. You can get the recipe for mushroom, bacon and pasta gratin here.
4. Boursin pasta with roasted tomatoes
Boursin cheese is a creamy, herby, and flavorful spread that works in so many recipes when you are in a pinch. Unlike other French cheeses, this is a bit like a herbed cream cheese, except a bit more crumbly in texture.
And it makes the perfect addition to pasta when you are looking to add a ton of flavor very quickly.
With a light touch of sweet with cherry tomatoes, the healthy goodness of baby spinach, and some hearty pasta, you have a dish that comes together very quickly. You can get the recipe for boursin pasta with roasted tomatoes here.
5. Savory pork and spinach pasta
Unlike other pastas using cream and cheese, this delicious dish uses the natural juices of pork belly along with herbs and spices to add flavor.
With lemon, paprika, garlic and parsley, this savory pasta is perfect if you like a bit of a tangy kick. It is also easier to keep in the fridge for longer periods since there is no dairy in there. You can get the recipe for savory pork and spinach pasta here.
6. Scallops and mushroom pasta (Instant Pot)
Scallops, known as coquilles saint jacques in French, are a big speciality along the western coast of France.
In this recipe, scallops are cooked with whole-wheat pasta in the Instant pot for a one-pot meal that the whole family will love. You can get the Instant pot recipe for scallops and mushroom pasta here.
7. Tuna penne gratin
Another seafood delight is this simple and satisfying tuna pasta gratin. It is a great way to use up some leftover tuna in your fridge or some canned tuna you have in your pantry.
The key is the sauce, which is a pink sauce made from combining crème fraiche (or heavy cream) with a ton of herbs and spices to infuse throughout the gratin. You can get the recipe for tuna penne gratin in a creamy pink sauce here.
If you enjoyed that article, you may like to read more about classic French dishes. A bientôt!