The history of pasta has its beginnings with the ancient Etruscan civilisation which originated in Italy around 800 BC. Since then, the processes for making pasta have been refined and improved upon, and pasta is now a staple of any self-respecting primo. Pasta is so well entrenched in Italian culture that hundreds of pasta both dried (secca) and fresh (fresca) are produced every day, with each Italian region having its own distinct variations. In fact, each shape of pasta has been carefully designed to be paired with a particular sauce.
This collection of Italian pasta recipes contains some fantastic inspiration, whether you're looking for a simple supper or a delicate pasta starter. For the latter, filled pasta is a wonderful option, such as Aurora Mazzucchelli's Tortelli with Parmesan and lavender, or the Ricotta ravioli recipe by Gaetano Trovato. For a comforting dinner dish opt for a bolder sauce and larger pasta shape – the Cerea Brothers serve their thick, hearty tomato sauce with the large tubular pasta paccheri (a larger version of penne pasta) in their beautiful tomato sauce recipe inspired by their father. The flat, broad ribbons of parpadelle pasta are ideally suited to rich meat-based pasta dishes, such as Marco Stabile’s recipe for Pappardelle with Tuscan beans, wine reduction and steak extract. Including a fantastically easy fresh pasta recipe, this dish is the perfect introduction to homemade pasta. After a gluten-free pasta recipe? Try Christina Bowerman’s Rice tagliatelle, red mullet, peppers and bottarga recipe, which uses a combination of buckwheat and rice flour.
Dried spaghetti is a store-cupboard staple, and stocking up on a couple of good quality packets is a great investment for when you don’t want to take over the kitchen to make your own fresh! For an alternative take on the classic seafood pasta dish spaghetti alle vongole, try Mauro Uliassi’s recipe for Spaghetti, clams and grilled plum cherry tomatoes, made with dried spaghetti. The spirals and crevices of shaped pastas are perfectly for trapping delicious pasta sauces; Lorenzo Cogo uses the small, ear-shaped orecchiette pasta in his recipe for Orecchiette with watercress purée, bergamot and mussels to capture his vibrantly healthy pasta sauce.