5 decadent pasta dishes you can cook right on the grill for your next backyard bash

Grilling season is here, but that doesn't mean your love affair with pasta needs to end.
Cooking Class in Bologna
Cooking Class in Bologna / David Silverman/GettyImages

Summer is indeed on the horizon. June 20 is not far away, and really in most places it’s already pretty hot. But for those of us carb lovers, the beginning of summer doesn’t have to mean the end of our favorite fall and winter pasta dishes.

But who wants to slave away in a hot kitchen with a lack of substantial windows? Not me. So why can’t you prepare a really good pasta dish outside? I mean you’ve got a plethora of options -- and guess what you’re in luck because yours truly is here today to share just 5 of those options with you. Trust me; you can go from kitchen novice to culinary icon to your friends and family after just one epic meal they’ll never forget.

So join us as we dive into these decadent, naughty and guilty pasta dishes. I mean they’re so rich your guests will think you’re serving Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner, instead of at a cookout, outside.


Your fist option for cooking pasta is a gas-powered burner. As a cook, I worked a few catering jobs in which we had to cook outdoors and these burners—available in all shapes and sizes—came in handy for sure. I once fed a crowd of 500 people, and yes pasta—spaghetti to be clear—using these, so they definitely work.

Some BBQ grills come with a built-in burner on the side, so that’s another option, but as you’ll soon find out, you can boil pasta right there on the grill as well, right over the flames, and trust me when I say the pasta just boils differently when cooked like that on a fire. Something about it is so rustic and it only adds to the cooking and dining experience, dear readers.

So with that out of the way, how’s about we get to the old nitty-gritty, folks?

1. Cooking With Manual Focus’ Baked Spaghetti On The Grill on YouTube

The chef has definitely got something special here, and again as stated above, your guests will think they’ve been transported back to the fall with a helping of carbohydrates saturated in meat, sauce, and oh-so-much cheese.

First the chef makes a delicious-looking meat sauce, a Bolognese. The chef then layers some boiled spaghetti, the sauce, and a mixture of sour cream and chive and onion cream cheese, as well as a mix of mozzarella and cheddar, layering as he goes, topping the works with of course more cheese. You can never have enough cheese.

He then bakes it on the grill. It's worth watching the video if you want to impress your pals with this one. The beauty here, as is the case with all these recipes, is that you can do all of this outside, on the equipment specified above, or as you’ll learn in the next recipe, right there on the grill. Feel free to use techniques you see in one video for any of the other recipes. It’ll come in handy -- and remember what I said about a wee bit of creativity when preparing food, friends.

2. Michael Symon's Fettuccine with Smoked Tomato Sauce

The Iron Chef himself, Michael Symon shows you how easy it is to boil your water and pasta right there on the grill, as well as prepare quite the sauté right on the grill as well. Symon makes anything look easy; he’s that great at teaching his recipes to his plethora of fans, and this time here is no different.

He explains his ingredients and why he uses them, and shows you every step, leaving nothing for you to figure out. If there was a master class for chefs at any academy, he should be the professor in residence, a successful chef who still loves to cook.

3. Blackstone Griddle on YouTube Presents Pasta Carbonara in Under 10 Minutes!

Now if you have a griddle that’s perfect, but this works just as well with a proper oven pan set over the fire grill. Yours truly has done it a million times and it’s safe. I even tried this recipe that way because I don’t have an outdoor griddle.

And by the way, what on earth is more devilish than Pasta Carbonara? I mean you’ve got eggs, bacon, cheese -- and pasta! Nothing else really needs to be said here, but I’ll set this one up just the same.

First, the chef in the video cooks the bacon on the griddle, which is of course smart, because the bacon fat will only aid in the cooking of the following ingredients, and make them only that much more delicious. Bacon makes everything better, let’s face it. She then boils the pasta right there on the side of her outdoor griddle and when it’s done she adds the pasta to the bacon, having strained the water of course. At this point she adds her egg yolk, cheese, and black pepper mixture and sautés the works. Yum!

4. Grilled Fennel Sausage, Bell Pepper, Eggplant and Onion Rigatoni

This one here comes from my arsenal, dear readers. I’ve prepared it many times and it’s always a crowd pleaser. Easy doesn’t begin to describe it.

You take your fennel sausage and place it right on the grill (Remember to prick the sausages with a fork here and there so they don’t explode on you as they cook.) You can get a sauté going of onion, eggplant, and bell peppers, cooking in olive oil, salt, and oregano, and cook them down with a wee bit of water.

Once the sausage is grilled, take it off the grill, slice and add it to your sauté. Very much like in the Symon video above, you boil your water and pasta, and as the sauté reduces any unwanted liquid your pasta will be ready. Combine, sauté and you have yourself a delicious oil-based rigatoni dish you’ll be ladling out to all your guests.

5. BlackStone Griddles with Pastalaya with Bruce Mitchell

If you love the spicy flavor of Jambalaya then you’ll love this pasta sauté alternative. Mitchell does the dish justice with this seemingly over-the-top recipe. But trust me, folks, it’s not over the top at all. It’s just absolutely delicious.

He first cooks some pork and soon after some chicken right on the griddle, spices the meats thoroughly and when cooked puts them in a sauté pan. He then sautés a mix of veggies. (Now remember if you don’t have an outdoor griddle, you can use an oven pan as stated above.)

After he clears the veggies away and adds them to the pan, he sautés some crawfish on the griddle. He adds water once the crawfish goes in, as well as a few choice sauces to the mix, and the interesting part here is he doesn’t boil the pasta separately; he adds it right from the box into the simmering sauce.

This will add starchiness to the pasta that would otherwise have been left in the water and is usually strained away when boiling pasta separately. Easier than it looks and it tastes like it took hours to make, which is always appreciated by guests, or should be. Good luck trying these out dear readers and let us know how they went. Happy grilling!

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