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Pasta pairs: how to pick the best sauce for the shape

Certain sauces and pasta pairings naturally work well together.  Nutritionist Amanda Ursell shares her favourite combos.

Dried pasta is good value, versatile and convenient, with a long shelf life. It’s often viewed as simply another starchy carb, but it also has some nutrition benefits.

  • Protein: Regular pasta contains about 8g protein per serving (equivalent to a medium egg). Although it lacks certain amino acids to make it a ‘complete’ protein, it will become so if served with a sauce containing pulses.
  • Fibre: Wholegrain versions have around a quarter of our daily 30g target per 70g (dried weight serving) plus a little iron, zinc and selenium and a smattering of B vitamins.
  • GI: When cooked al dente, both white and wholegrain pastas have a low glycaemic index (GI), which means they give a slow and gentle rise in blood sugar (read more about GI in our Super Diets Section).

Is it necessary to salt the cooking water?

There’s no technical reason to salt your water – it just increases the boiling temperature (so it takes longer to get your pot to boil and the pasta cooks at a slightly higher temperature). Traditional recipes use 36g salt per 5.7 litres water to cook 450g dried pasta simply for taste, adding around 0.5g salt per serving.

Choose the best sauce for the shape

best pasta sauces for the shape


For more advice on pasta, we recommend: Back to basics: Pasta and How to choose dried pasta.


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