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Famous kinds of pastas and what they pair with

Italian cuisine is a favourite for many, be it for their heavenly Pizza, risotto or the mouthwatering pastas. And while we know a few kinds of pastas, there are a lot more that deserve to be known. Each one has a unique shape, feature and a set of sauces and condiments that go great with them and make your pasta eating experience the best. So if you want to step-up your pasta game and wish to try something new, this is going to be your perfect guide.


Spaghetti is one of the most beloved comfort food which is perfect for lunch and dinner. Essentially noodle pasta, Spaghetti is thin and long – the silky smooth strands are rolled on a fork and eaten. Slightly thicker than ramen noodles, Spaghetti is usually served with a classic red sauce, but also goes brilliantly with a simple basil pesto sauce or aglio olio - sautéed with garlic olive oil and herbs and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese.

Lasagne: Ribbon Pasta

Another popular dish in Italian cuisine, Lasagne is made using long and wide sheets of pasta. This is actually a kind of ribbon pasta. Lasagna is a loaded meal with a rich sauce and layers of cheese stacked between several pasta sheets and baked with a generous sprinkling of more cheese on top. Lasagna can be made with a your choice of favourite minced meat sauce or you could swap the meat for veggies like zucchini, leafy spinach, mushrooms and even soya chunks in a red sauce or a white, alfredo sauce.

Ravioli: Stuffed Pasta

Ravioli is made by using the pasta sheets and turning them into pockets or dumplings for stuffing on the inside. The pasta pockets are made using flour and eggs is stuffed with a flavourful mixture and gently simmered in boiling water till done. The stuffing usually includes a mix of veggies or meats and cheese. The pasta is sealed either in square pocket shapes or curvy like dumplings. The beautiful dumplings can then be tossed in a light sauce or added to soups and broths. A classic combo is spinach and ricotta cheese stuffed ravioli pasta, simply tossed in a humble and always effective, garlic butter sauce.

Rotini: Twisted Pasta

This is one of the most common pasta kinds. Rotini or the twisted pasta is known for its unique twisty texture. Made mostly using semolina, this pasta pairs wonderfully with a tomato based or cream based sauce. The sauces get trapped within the twists that make it an enjoyable eating experience. The pasta also goes well with numerous veggies like broccoli, spinach, corn, babycorn, carrots, zucchini and finished with olives, basil, mozzarella or parmesan cheese on top. If you want to include meat into the mix, it also goes well with cut-up sausages and ham. 

Macaroni: The elbow pasta

One of the most iconic pasta, the tiny bent-tubular pasta (which is also known as elbow pasta) is made from semolina and is known for its ever-so-versatile nature. Macaroni is preferred with cheesy white sauce, topped with more cheese, black pepper and herbs like oregano, and is the pasta behind the popular ‘mac and cheese.’  The curvy tubes are perfect to find the trapped creamy heaven. Macaroni also goes well with the traditional red sauce and tossed with mozzarella and vegetables. Even in India, people are known to love macaroni, and add it to the common tomato-based curries that pairs like a match made in heaven.

Farfelle: The bow-tie pasta

Definitely one of the most beautiful looking pasta, Farfelle is pasta shaped in the form of a butterfly or a bow-tie. It gets its name from the Italian word for butterfly. The pasta is made mostly using semolina, where circles of the pastas with ridge edges are pinched in the centre to get the iconic shape. The dough is sometimes coloured too, using beetroot for red, spinach for green and even cuttlefish or squid ink for black. Farfelle is preferably paired with cream or tomato-based sauces like Marinara, Arrabiata, Alfredo, among others. It is ideal for making numerous salads too. Its unique texture blends well with vegetables and meat alike.

Gnocchi: The dumpling pasta

Gnocchi (pronounced nockki) are tiny soft dumplings made using semolina, flour, eggs, cheese, cornmeal and potatoes, where the dough is rolled out and cut into small dumplings. The dumplings also get ridges on the edges made using a fork to hold the sauces within. The dumplings are later cooked in salted water which once ready can be tossed in desired sauces for completion. Gnocchi blends well with both cream and tomato based sauces and you can add some veggies for a contrasting crunch.

Bucatini: The spaghetti with holes

Bucatini is long noodle-like pasta with a spaghetti-sized hole running through it. Made from semolina, this pasta gets its name from the Italian word for ‘hole’-Buco. The pasta is thicker than the regular spaghetti, and the hollow centre is perfect to hold the sauces and gravies in which it is tossed. Bucatini works phenomenally well with a rich tomato sauce, however it can also be prepared with the humble butter-garlic sauce. The pasta pairs beautifully with mixed vegetables like zucchini, mushrooms, olives, broccoli, basil, spinach as well as chicken and seafood. Bits of cured meats like pancetta and bacon add plenty of flavour too.

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MasterChef Sanjeev Kapoor

Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal www.sanjeevkapoor.com is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.