Some ingredients are just meant to go together: peaches and cream, rhubarb and custard, bacon and eggs. Make a pasta sauce from one of these 13 popular pairings and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a pasta master. Buon appetito!
1. Crème fraîche & tarragon
The bitter kick of tarragon with juicy, tender chicken is a welcome addition to pretty much any creamy pasta dish. Try them in our herby chicken lasagne – a simplified version of the classic oven-baked family favourite.
2. Bacon & onion
Slightly creamy, slightly smoky and slightly crunchy, this easy bow-tie pasta dish has loads going for it. It’s a meal you can prep and cook in minutes, which only makes it even more appealing.
3. Parma ham & cherry tomatoes
Pasta sauces don’t have to be rustic and hearty to win over a crowd. This pasta salad makes a great summer sharing lunch. Salty Parma ham and juicy cherry tomatoes are pure sunshine food – close your eyes and you could be in Italy.
4. Smoked salmon & rocket
Rich, oily salmon and crisp, peppery rocket is an unforgettable combination, elevating the most basic pasta dish to a sophisticated meal in minutes. Enjoy them in this posh tagliatelle dish.
5. Sausage & courgette
Lure the kids in with the promise of juicy sausages then surprise them with the joy that is glossy-edged ribbons of courgette. This quick penne dish can be enjoyed hot or cold, any time of the year.
6. Anchovy & olives
This speedy spaghetti alla puttanesca is not for the faint-hearted – it’s salty, sharp and fiery, with flavours that explode in the mouth. It makes for a brilliant standby dish as you get the all-important saltiness from classic Italian ingredients, anchovies and olives, which you probably have lurking in your store cupboard.
7. Tomato and basil
Nothing says ‘Italy’ quite like basil and tomato. Their distinctive flavours are rarely seen apart, which is why you’ll spot them together in a whole range of Italian dishes: on pizzas, in salads, and stealing the show in panini and antipasti. For something a bit different to regular pasta, try them in this vegetarian spaghetti bake – it’s a great way to concentrate the flavours even further.
8. Chestnut & sage
You may be more used to enjoying this combination once a year along with your Christmas dinner, but as this gutsy pappardelle recipe shows, chestnut and sage is a flavour combination that’s more than worthy of year-round praise – turkey optional!
9. Broccoli & walnut
The nuttiness of broccoli works especially well with walnuts – try them in this tasty vegetarian dish. It’s simple and quick, so you can spend more time at the table than in the kitchen.
10. Roasted tomato & pesto
The zesty, punchy flavour of pesto perks up pretty much any pasta and this tagliatelle dish is no exception. Pair pesto with piquant tomatoes and you’re minutes away from a winning family meal. Toss the pesto through at the end to keep it tasting fresh and bright.
11. Butternut squash & rosemary
You don’t need the palate of Antonio Carluccio to know that sweet butternut squash and earthy, fragrant rosemary are a match made in culinary heaven. Make this butternut squash cannelloni – your vegetarian friends will thank you for it.
12. Tuna & sweetcorn
Kids love the mild taste of tuna and the bursts of sweet flavour they get when biting into sweetcorn, so it’s little wonder that this combination is a firm family favourite. Great in large bakes topped with bubbling melted cheese, like this penne pasta bake.
13. Mushroom & leek
A classic combination of earthy, wintry flavours, mushroom and leek work especially well together in a creamy sauce with a handful of crisp pancetta. Try this quick spaghetti – it’s on the table in under half an hour, making it a great weeknight meal.