Pasta comes in many different mouth-watering shapes. But choosing the right sauce for the right shape is very important. Long or short, smooth or curved, each shape sucks up the sauce in a different way - and every way is delicious!
A peep into the past
It's thought that the Arabs started making pasta when they invaded Italy in the 8th century. They brought a dried noodle-like product with them and started making large quantities of it. And the Italians (and the rest of the world) are very happy about it!
Zanini de Vita writes a colourful history in her book Encyclopaedia of Pasta. Everything you ever need to know about pasta is in that book. So, if you're a pasta fan, you'd better get a copy.
'As long as there's pasta and Chinese food in the world, I'm okay.' - Michael Chang, tennis player
'Spaghetti can be eaten most successfully if you inhale it like a vacuum cleaner.' - Sophia Loren, Italian actress
The long strands
If you like spaghetti, eat it together with meaty tomato, creamy seafood or sauces made from olive oil. Add some mushrooms and sweet bell peppers and you may never eat anything else again!
Before the main meal you should try angel hair pasta. It cooks quickly, often in about two minutes. You can also break it up for soups. For a lip-smacking experience, use it together with thin tomato sauces or toss it with olive oil, finely chopped vegetables and shrimp.
Ribbon strips and tubular pastas
Almost any sauce goes with linguine. But you can enjoy it best with white or red clam sauces.
The 25mm-wide peppardelle goes well with meat, cream and vegetable sauces.
The short, fat tubes with ridges are called rigatoni. Use any meat sauce or chunky vegetable sauces made from eggplant, tomatoes and bell peppers. Cream-based sauces will also give you a taste of heaven.
Short hollow tubes, with ribbed surfaces, are called penne rigati. Many different sauces, from meat to cheese, can be used.
Happy Italian eating - and power to your pasta!