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Pasta is typically made of wheat. Spaghetti, penne, lasagne and macaroni are popular pasta variants.

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Pasta Buying Guide

There are more varieties of pasta to choose from than ever before, with most of them coming from its traditional home of Italy. 

In years gone by, we'd buy dry pasta straight off the supermarket shelf. This is still the best choice if you prefer that famous "al dente" chewiness. Dry pasta is made from all sorts of flour but if you really want maximum al dente effect, pasta made from durum wheat flour has lovely chewy qualities.

In recent years, more of our pasta is being sold from the chiller, in the shape of fresh pasta. This soft pasta takes half the time to cook than dry pasta, and has a different texture, usually due to the egg yolk it is made with. Because it’s a fresh ingredient, this type of pasta has a more limited shelf life than dry pasta, and won't be as al dente when you cook it.

When choosing pasta, use the sauce you're cooking as a guide. Thin strands like spaghetti or vermicelli go best with light sauces, such as tomato, garlic or oil. If you're making a richer, creamier sauce, buy flat, long noodles like fettucine or pappardelle. Meanwhile, short tube pasta like penne is ideal for sauces that contain chunks of meat or vegetables.

Finally, there are plenty of gluten free pastas on the market. As gluten free pasta has a different density than regular pasta, you'll need less noodles than the recipe calls for. And while you should always salt the water for boiling pasta...” salty like the sea” is the might need even more salt to really bring out the flavours in gluten free varieties.