You Are What You Eat: Pasta

Pasta is a beloved and versatile staple in the world of cuisine, cherished for its simplicity, adaptability, and deliciousness. Originating from Italy but embraced globally, pasta has become a cherished comfort food that transcends borders and cultural boundaries. This culinary masterpiece is crafted from a straightforward combination of wheat flour and water, yet its myriad forms and endless pairing possibilities have earned it a place of honour on menus and dinner tables worldwide.

Allow me to take you on a Pasta Masterclass, not to learn how to make pasta but to understand and eat pasta correctly.

Pasta Dictionary 

Al dente 

When pasta is cooked “al dente,” it means that it is cooked just long enough to retain a firm texture and a slight resistance when bitten, rather than being soft or mushy. Cooking pasta al dente is a common preference in Italian cuisine because it provides a pleasing texture and allows the pasta to better absorb and hold onto sauces. The timing for achieving al dente pasta can vary depending on the type and thickness of the pasta, so it’s essential to follow the cooking instructions on the packaging and taste-test the pasta as it cooks to get it just right. 

Aglio e Olio

A simple 5-minute dinner, known for its simplicity and bold flavours, the dish translates to “garlic and oil” with the ability to turn a few basic components into a delicious and satisfying meal. 

Pasta newstalk

Newstalk Pasta

Listen to my weekly food chat with Kieran Cuddihy on Newstalk.

Al Forno 

Al forno simply means baked in the oven, for example, you might come across dishes like “Lasagna al Forno” (baked lasagna) or “Melanzane Parmigiana al Forno” (baked eggplant Parmesan). In these dishes, ingredients are layered, often including pasta, cheese, sauce, and various seasonings, and then baked until they are heated through and the flavours meld together. The baking process can result in a crispy or browned top layer, which adds a delightful contrast in texture. 


Alfredo sauce, or Fettuccine Alfredo, is a luscious and iconic Italian pasta sauce celebrated for its rich, creamy, and indulgent nature. This beloved sauce has captivated the taste buds of pasta enthusiasts around the world with its sumptuous combination of butter, heavy cream, Parmesan cheese, and garlic. The result is a velvety, silky-smooth concoction that clings lovingly to fettuccine pasta, creating a decadent, comforting dish


Bucatini, also known as perciatelli, is a thick spaghetti-like pasta with a hole running through the center. The name “bucatini” is derived from the Italian word “buco,” which means hole or tunnel. 

Butta la pasta

An iconic expression that every Italian uses when they call home and are a few minutes away, meaning the person cooking can drop the pasta in the boiling water so it will be ready just in time.


Tortellini en Brodo is an incredibly simple yet super satisfying appetizer made by simmering cheese-filled tortellini in rich chicken broth.

Cacio e Pepe

Cacio e Pepe stands as a testament to the art of Italian cooking, A popular Roman sauce made of grated Pecorino Romano cheese and black pepper, commonly served with spaghetti. 


Cannelloni consists of large pasta tubes, typically cylindrical in shape served baked with a filling and covered by a sauce. Popular fillings include spinach, ricotta and minced meat.


An Italian pasta dish from Rome made with egg, hard cheese, cured pork, and black pepper, usually served with spaghetti.



The debate whether it is a potato or pasta,  they are in fact dumplings from potato and flour or semolina, often categorised as a pasta type with a unique texture.  Soft, pillowy, and tender on the inside, with a slight chewiness on the outside. Their mild, neutral flavour allows them to pair harmoniously with a wide range of sauces, from simple butter and sage to hearty tomato and meat-based concoctions. 


A crispy, crunchy breadcrumb flavoured with rosemary and garlic, chilli or lemon zest. It is a perfect accompaniment to sprinkle over your finished pasta dish.

Types of Pasta

Pasta comes in a vast array of shapes and sizes, each designed to pair with different sauces and ingredients. Here are some of the most common and popular types of pasta:

  • Dried 
  • Bronze die 
  • Fresh egg 
  • Chickpea 
  • Lentil 
  • Wholewheat 
  • Tortellini, ravioli ( filled pasta )

Tuna & Spinach Puttanesca

An anchovy- and olive-laden pasta puttanesca lacks for nothing. It’s garlicky and deeply savory, and you can make it in well under 30 minutes. But adding a can of tuna gives it body and heft. Which means that, if you don’t have — or don’t like — anchovies, you can leave them out without making the sauce even a little less compelling.
Check out this recipe

Pasta Al Limone

Bright, new, sophisticated & truly morish
Check out this recipe
Pasta al Limone Aisling Larkin newstalk citrus

Cacio E Pepe with Burnt Butter, Walnuts and Sage

This is a stunningly flavourful and creamy pasta dish. Ideal for sharing and romantic nights in
Check out this recipe
Walnut, Brown butter and sage cacio e pepe Aisling Larkin
Aisling Signature