A bowl of fresh, handmade pasta can be one of the most comforting and warming meals in winter, but cold pasta recipes are equally delicious in salads over the summer months and baked pasta recipes are loved by children and adults alike.

Pasta comes in all shapes and sizes, from traditional thin cords of spaghetti and slightly thicker ribbons of fettucine, to vegie or meat filled pasta recipes such as tortellini and ravioli. No matter what type you're preparing, make sure that after kneading your pasta dough you cover and allow it to rest in the refrigerator for an hour, giving it more elasticity when it comes to rolling out and feeding through the pasta machine later.

The other component to the perfect pasta recipe is, of course, the sauce, and in classic Italian cuisine the sauce is tossed through the pasta until it coats it, not until it drowns it! With traditional pasta recipes, certain shapes and lengths of pasta are also matched with certain sauces. For example, spaghetti pairs well with tomato-based or creamy sauces such as Boscaiola, and tube pastas like penne or rigatoni are suited to thicker sauces like Bolognese, while thinner types like angel hair pasta go better with olive oil-based sauces.

If you haven't the time to make fresh pasta recipes from scratch, dried pasta from the shop works just as well, though it will invariably take longer to cook. Some determine pasta to be cooked when the colour has changed completely, while others like to throw it against a wall until it sticks. The easiest way to test is to bite into a strand until the pasta reaches al dente (just firm to the bite).

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