How to Choose Pasta

You probably already know how to cook pasta but are you aware that choosing pasta is also as much of an art as cooking it? There are important considerations when purchasing pasta to ensure that you get the best possible meal from your precious cooking efforts.


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    Look for durum wheat pastas. These are pastas made from semolina flour. The color of such pasta will be light gold or yellow. Most European pasta is made from semolina flour and Italian pasta still proves to be a firm favorite with many pasta devotees.
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    Cook the pasta for a test. Cook a small amount of your selected pasta to discern its quality. Good quality pasta will not stick together when it cooks. If your spaghetti is sticking together as you cook it, change brands.
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    Try dried and fresh pasta. It may be a personal taste but there is a real difference in both taste and texture between fresh pasta and dried pasta. Fresh pasta will likely have a softer texture and breaks more easily, especially under the weight of heavy sauces. Fresh pasta is best for pastas with fillings, such as tortellini, ravioli etc. Dried pasta is best for non-filled pasta such as spaghetti, penne and rigatoni.
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    Choose the pasta sauce according to the pasta type. Thick and chunky sauces are best for thick and substantial pasta types, such as penne, conchiglie, rigatoni or fusilli. Light and delicate pasta should only be graced by light sauces or even olive oil with fresh garlic and herbs. Use your common sense.


  • Olive oil is the best base for any pasta sauce.
  • Colored pasta is fun but do not expect it to retain the flavor of the spinach, beetroot etc. that it claims to be colored with - both the cooking process and the sauces will remove any flavor it may have originally contained.
  • Read the labels. Pasta in some countries, including North America, is often a combination of semolina flour (durum wheat) and regular wheat flour. This tends to result in a softer and more starchy cooked pasta product that doesn't do the cook's efforts justice.
  • Pasta is often only a side dish in Italy and other European countries. Treating it as such reduces your level of calorie intake and enables you to fill out the meal with salads, vegetables and other delights.
  • If you are into staying in shape and eating right, then you could look for low-carb pastas and other sources like that too.


  • Do not overcook pasta - it will become very stodgy and starchy and is unpleasant to eat. If you do make this mistake, consider making it into a casserole pie dish or a similar "leftovers" style mash-up.

Things You'll Need

  • Different types of pasta to try
  • The right sauce for your pasta
  • Olive oil
  • Crusty bread
  • Salad

Article Info

Categories: Pasta and Noodles