Your guide to pasta

Coles ambassador and MasterChef Australia contestant Michael Weldon shares his top tips and tricks to cooking a variety of different pastas with the perfect sauce to match.

Types of pasta in cup

Michael Weldon: "The secret to a delicious pasta dish is matching the shape and style to the right sauce"

Packet pasta is difficult to beat for quick and easy midweek meals for the family. This Italian favourite comes in all shapes and sizes – from short farfalle (bow ties) to thin angel hair pasta and lasagne sheets. Plus, many can be cooked in less than 10 minutes.

The secret to a delicious pasta dish is matching the shape and style to the right sauce – you want the pasta to stay tender but firm, with the sauce not too heavy for the pasta style. Here, Michael Weldon unpacks the tips and tricks behind some much-loved pasta picks, and shares some recipe inspiration, too. Think of this as your mini pasta masterclass.

1. Spaghetti

“This pasta classic works well with most sauces, particularly ones with a thicker consistency. Its most popular match is bolognaise, of course, and this combo works so well because of the meaty texture of the sauce. It coats the thin pasta and has enough meaty chunks to add texture. Pesto also works beautifully with spaghetti, as do other olive-oil-based sauces.” Micheal Weldon

Top tip: “To thicken sauces, always reserve some of the pasta cooking water when you drain it. The starch in the water also helps sauces stick to pasta.” Micheal Weldon

Dried spaghetti

2. Angel hair

“This is spaghetti’s speedy cousin and is best matched with lighter sauces. Thinner than spaghetti, it cooks quickly and, because it’s delicate, you can pair it with simpler sauces such as a tomato or an olive oil sauce.” Micheal Weldon

Top tip: “Angel hair works well in place of noodles in stir-fries – just boil following packet directions before adding to your stir-fry.” Micheal Weldon

Dried angel hair pasta

3. Fettuccine

“A flat wide pasta, fettuccine is commonly paired with creamy sauces that have a little texture through them. The flat shape gives the sauce lots of surface area to cling to, making it perfect for dishes such as carbonara.” Micheal Weldon

Top tip: “Egg yolks – not cream – are the key to giving fettuccine carbonara its silky sauce. For best results, always mix in the yolks and parmesan off the heat. Sometimes I like to add frozen peas to the sauce for sweetness and extra texture.” Micheal Weldon

Dried fettucini pasta