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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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