Long – From skinny capellini to wide lasagne, long noodles span the spectrum.
Short - Whether tubular, like penne, or moulded, like farfalle, short pastas are a great match for any sauce.
Do use lots of water. The ideal amount is 4 to 6 L per 900 g of pasta. This allows the pasta enough room to cook without sticking together.
Don’t add oil. If you have enough water, you won’t need to add oil to prevent sticking.
Do add salt for flavour but not too much; remember that your sauce will also add flavour.
Do stir pasta when you first add it to the water to prevent it from sticking together and to the bottom of the pot.
Don’t throw noodles against the wall. Instead, use the cooking time on the package as a guide, then try a piece to see if it’s the right texture. Italians like their pasta “al dente” (which translates as “to the tooth” and basically means a little chewy), but you might like it softer.
Don’t rinse cooked pasta; you’ll rinse away the starch, which actually helps the sauce stick. Only rinse pasta if it will be used cold, as in a salad.
Time for fresh
If you’re looking to make a really quick meal, ready-made fresh pasta is the way to go – it cooks in just 3 to 4 minutes (make sure to follow package directions and don’t overcook, or it’ll become mushy). And from linguine to ravioli, fresh pasta is readily available and is also a simple way to take a dish from everyday to special.
Why not add a hit of colour to dinner tonight? Green and orange pastas made with vegetables like spinach or red peppers add great interest to the plate.
Whole grain varieties
If you want to add some whole grains to your diet, whole wheat pasta is a delicious option that’s available in almost all types from spaghetti to penne.