A bowl of red-sauced spaghetti and meatballs, cheese-stuffed shells, creamy cacio e pepe — we want none of these when we are wilting in these hot weeks of summer.

However, we’re a-okay with wilting down some greens, gently sauteing fresh veggies, or tossing in the finest of the season’s produce in simple olive oil-based sauces so we don’t feel like hibernating after the first bite. Here are some of our favorite light pastas you can squeeze into your roster.

Shells With Bacon, Zucchini and Sweet Onion. Throwing sweet onion into a pan of partially cooked bacon — and bacon fat — to soften and caramelize is a winning move. Adding diced zucchini at the end to soak up all that flavor makes everything better.


(Stacy Zarin Goldberg for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post)

Farfalle With Salmon, Peas and Sage. Here, salmon is gently tossed in butter, shallot and sage with a splash of white wine for a bright pop of acid. With little peas in every bite, you’ll find that this dish makes a wonderful light supper.


(Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post)

Pappardelle With Arugula Pumpkin Seed Pesto. A classic pesto is a go-to for spring, but consider mixing it up! Pumpkin seeds give pesto a creamy texture, while arugula’s peppery bite delivers a refreshing twist.


(Goran Kosanovic for The Washington Post)

Orecchiette With Escarole, White Beans and Toasted Garlic. For something a little more filling but still light, try this orecchiette. Sun-dried tomato lends a flavorful punch without lashings of sauce, complementing protein-rich white beans and softened, silky escarole.


(Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post)

Shrimp Skimpy Scampi. We know this says “skimpy,” but there’s nothing lacking in this shrimp scampi. Replace angel hair pasta with zoodles (zucchini noodles) to use up your summer harvest, top with bread crumbs and bon appétit!


(Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post)

Roasted Rhubarb and Asparagus Pasta Salad. Did you get the memo? You’ve got to try treating rhubarb like a vegetable. Once roasted to fork-tender, toss with asparagus and a simple olive oil-based sauce.

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