How to make perfect spaghetti, lasagna and more for National Pasta Day

From an easy one-pot wonder to a delicious date night speciality.
Giada De Laurentiis cooks up a delicious short rib lasanga
TODAY Show: Giada De Laurentiis cooks up a delicious short rib lasanga. -- December 22, 2015Samantha Okazaki / TODAY

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By Erica Chayes Wida

To know a great bowl of pasta is to know true love.

It's funny how the simple combination of flour, eggs and water transforms into something as magnificent — and versatile — as pasta.

Today, there are more than 600 shapes of pasta cooked around the world. It's become a base for endless recipes and can be dressed in everything from a light oil with veggies to a hearty bolognese. Even people following low-carb lifestyles had to create to zucchini noodles (aka zoodles) to satisfy spaghetti cravings.

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Oct. 17 is National Pasta Day, so we've rounded up our favorite recipes that celebrate this special staple.

Spaghetti with Meatballs in Marinara Sauce

Shall we start with the classics? Spaghetti and meatballs is the ultimate comfort food. It's easy to make, full of flavor and the whole family will enjoy every last bite of this recipe.

Linguine with Crab and White Wine

Jumbo lump crab is delicate and delicious, but it also pairs really well with pasta. This Italian-inspired dish will transport you to a candlelit dinner on a cliffside outside Genoa, Italy ... but it's actually incredibly fast and straightforward to produce at home on any weeknight.

One-Pot Pasta with Spinach and Ricotta

You had us at one-pot. Three cups of spinach and one cup of ricotta turn this easy, one-pot pasta into a beautiful vegetarian main. It's easy to add in more veggies or swap the spinach for another green you have on hand, like kale or collards.

This pasta celebrates traditional Caribbean flavors melded together with heartier pastas like penne, rotini or manicotti. The rich and creamy homemade sauce that coats the pasta can be enjoyed with shrimp, chicken or leftover brisket.

Giada's Short Rib Lasagna

Giada's Short Rib Lasagna

Giada De Laurentiis

While we love traditional lasagna as much as the next home cook, Giada de Laurentiis' version made with tender, fall-off-the-bone short ribs is truly out of this world. This rich, baked pasta is made with layers of beef, creamy basil-flecked cheese and savory tomato sauce.

Bobby Flay's Eggplant Bolognese

People who want a vegan dish with the same richness of a beef bolognese can turn to Bobby Flay's eggplant pasta. Flay even added the meatless option to his menu at Gato, his Mediterranean-inspired restaurant in New York City. It was an instant hit.

TODAY Food Stylist Anthony Contrino loves how quickly this dish comes together. This take on the creamy, dreamy dish uses an unconventional ingredient, but it allows anyone to get dinner on the table in minutes.

Classic Spaghetti Bolognese

Classic Spaghetti Bolognese

Alex Guarnaschelli

Food Network star Alex Guarneschelli encourages transforming any leftover sauce into savory meals like sloppy Joes or taco salad. But it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world to just have lots and lots of perfectly sauced pasta.