Pasta with panache: Pasta pickings and saucy partners

Buongiorno! One of the easiest items to cook and almost everyone’s favourite comfort food is pasta. Pastas come in a variety of shapes and textures — this is because each region in Italy would boast a pasta type and dish that they’re proud to call their own. And while we go through great lengths to not overcook our pasta, we want to make sure the right sauces don’t go past-a our attention. Just like how wine pairing is essential to accentuate food flavours, matching the right pasta with the right sauce could make an ordinary dish, extraordinary. Here are a few pastas, apart from the popular spaghetti, that are worth experimenting with for your next dinner or gathering plans. 


The tagliatelle (tag-liah-TELL-eh) is a traditional egg-and-flour pasta. Ancient Italian urban myth has it that its chef inventor, Maestro Zafirano, who made it for a high society wedding in the 15thcentury was inspired by the bride’s golden blonde hair. After all, this long pasta is wider than the fettucine but more narrow compared to the pappardelle.

Sauce pairing tip:

The common pasta pairing principle goes like this – the wider the pasta, the thicker and heavier the sauce it needs to cover the larger surface. Tagliatelle goes well with rich, creamy, and meaty types of sauces. Try the classic carbonara. It also serves well with a garlicky tomato sauce or meatballs with cherry tomatoes sauce.

Squid Ink Spaghetti

How about squeezing some dark excitement into your pasta repertoire? Long found as an ingredient in countries situated along the Mediterranean for centuries, this squid ink infused pasta al nero (black pasta) teems with glutamate, infusing it with an umami taste!


Sauce pairing tip:

Longer, thinner pastas go well with a thinner sauce. Squid ink spaghetti pairs well with seafood (like shrimp mussels) cooked with light oil-based sauces that aren’t too salty. Try it with shrimps in a white truffle oil sauce or add some zing to your seafood with some chilli, tomato, and garlic in olive oil.


Commonly known as the bow-tie pasta, the farfalle (far-FALL-lay) pasta is one of the most ancient forms of pasta. The word means “butterfly” in Italian, and its feminine connotation was invented by women in the Emilio-Romagna region who wanted to use up extra pasta dough leftovers.


Sauce pairing tip:

Smooth pastas of the shorter variety go well with smooth cream pairings. But if the short pasta has ridges – like the farfalle – that traps sauces in their crevices, go for meatier, heavier sauces with vegetables or meat, like the beef and bow tie pasta.


Closely resembling a sensually-shaped navel, legend has it that a curious chef created the tortellini after taking a glimpse of Venus’ navel through a peephole during her stay at an inn. Just like its popular cousin “ravioli”, the tortellini requires skills to produce and is usually filled with meat or cheese.  


Sauce pairing tip:

For stuffed pasta, delicate, simple sauces or broths will do. Give your tortellini dish some garlic basic sauce or try a simple chicken broth.

Gluten-free Fusilli

We couldn’t resist talking about gluten-free pasta. Although healthier, their different texture sans gluten would need extra caution. Because they’re more sensitive and clingier than a needy ex, you’ll need to give them more space and water to boil in. Here are some tips on how to delicately handle gluten-free pasta.


Sauce pairing tip:

Gluten-free fusilli also needs a more generous amount of saucy love as it tends to absorb more liquids. Its spiral shape would match perfectly with smoother sauces, like pesto, that cling to the rivets in the pasta.

With a little exploration of these pastas and their pairings, we are confident you’ll be ready for your next pasta party. If you’d like to find out more, come to our Italian Fair for all things delizioso – happening from 19th to 29th April at all BIG outlets! More info at our event page

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