With only a few basic ingredients, it’s easy to turn pasta into a fabulous meal. Our foolproof guide includes flavour-packed recipes along with advice on cooking perfect pasta every time


“I grew up on a diet of pasta,” says food writer Silvana Franco. “I have southern Italian parents and every mealtime involved it in some way or another. With a hungry (and fussy) family to feed, I’m sure I’m not alone in regularly reaching for a packet of pasta when a quick supper is called for. I’m really enjoying cooking with the new range of Waitrose pasta, especially the bigger, more unusual shapes like pennoni and lumache. It has a really good texture that sauces cling to.”

Choosing the right pasta shape for your sauce can make all the difference. We’ve selected six failsafe recipes that combine Italy’s favourite food with the perfect ingredients to deliver flavour without fuss. Buon appetito! 

up your pasta game

“The new pasta range from Waitrose is made using bronze ‘dies’. The rough finish means that sauces cling to the pasta much more easily”

Jade Symonds, Partner 


There’s a reason why pasta comes in so many varieties – choosing the right one for your sauce can make all the difference to the finished dish


Use plenty of water in a large pan
You need about 1 litre of water per 100g pasta to prevent it from sticking together. Add about 2 tsp fine grain sea salt per litre

Bring the water to the boil first
Make sure it’s at a rolling boil before you add the pasta. Time the cooking from when the water returns to the boil

Check the pasta is done – don’t rely on time
Try a piece of pasta from the pan at about the specified cooking time. If it’s al dente (with a slight bite), it’s ready

Don’t throw away the cooking water
The starch in the cooking water helps the pasta and sauce come together so save a cup before you drain it. Add your sauce to the cooked and drained pasta in the pan, then mix in some of the reserved cooking liquid until the pasta is perfectly coated