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A Beginner’s Guide to Pasta – The Italian Way!

  • By : admin
  • On : June 25, 2018

Pasta is a staple of Italian cuisine and one of the most versatile foods on the planet. Whether it’s spaghetti and meatballs, Bolognese, ravioli or gnocchi, there’s seemingly no end to the uses of pasta!

Best of all, it’s really simple to prepare too, making it a favourite with cooks of all ability levels.

We’re going to take a look at some of the many different types of pasta and offering up some tips and tricks to get it just right.


  • Agnolotti – Like a smaller version of ravioli, agnolotti are small packages, usually containing meat or vegetables and is typically found in the Piedmont region.
  • Conchiglie – As the name suggests, this pasta is in the shape of a conch shell and it’s great in a sauce, as the sauce is captured in the shell.
  • Farfalle – These little bows are popular with kids and are often seen in salads and soups.
  • Fettuccine – A slightly wider version of tagliatelle, this thick pasta works well in a meat sauce.
  • Fusilli – One of the most popular variations of pasta, fusilli are a small spiral pasta, seen in many popular dishes.
  • Linguine – Literally translating to ‘little tongues’, linguine is like a flatter version of spaghetti and holds sauce slightly better.
  • Macaroni – Dried, slightly curled tubes which are best known for their use in the American dish, macaroni and cheese.
  • Orecchiette – Known as ‘little ears’, these small, curved pieces usually come with thick and chunky sauces.
  • Pappardelle – Falling somewhere between lasagne and tagliatelle, pappardelle is usually served with a heavy meat sauce.
  • Penne – Another very popular variation, penne is very easy to eat, with medium sized tubes cut off diagonally at either end.
  • Ravioli – These small squares are usually filled with vegetables or meat.
  • Rigatoni – Large, ribbed tubes which capture chunky meat sauces.
  • Spaghetti – Probably the most popular shape of pasta available, spaghetti are long round straws which are used in dishes such as carbonara and Bolognese.
  • Tagliatelle – These ribbon-like strands are commonly used in many meat dishes.
  • Tortellini – Shaped like a ring, tortellini is stuffed with either meat, cheese or vegetables and served in a sauce.
  • Vermicelli – Known as ‘little worms’, vermicelli is a very thin strand which is usually used in lighter sauces.

How to Cook

While cooking pasta may seem simple, there’s actually a lot more to it than you might think. The team here at Bella Cosa have put together some tips for their method for cooking pasta the Italian way,

1.Fill a large saucepan with about 1 litre of water for every 100g of pasta you’re using and use about 10g of salt for every litre of water.
2.Boil the water first, then add the pasta and simmer uncovered.
3.Drain when cooked to the desired level but save some water in case it’s needed for your sauce.
4.Mix the sauce in until the pasta is evenly coated rather than spooning on top.
5.The pasta should soak up all of the sauce with very little left over.

Now that you know how it’s done, check out the pasta recipes at BBC Good Food for some inspiration on where to get started.

Want to try out some of our favourite recipes for inspiration? Take a look at our menu and book a table so we can introduce you to authentic Italian cooking.

What our Customers Say

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      Described on a review as a hidden gem and absolutely true , it wasn’t on the same main track as lots of other bars and restaurants. We walked half an hour from the harbour In the rain for one of the best meals we’ve had,...More

    thumb Vikki H

      Without any question this is one of the most fabulous restaurants in the City of London. Every time I return to fabled restaurant I am left dreaming about my next visit! The service is 2nd to none and the food is simply sublime.

    thumb AlOlBE

      Having stayed in the Marsh Wall area many times I have always looked for different places to eat. I haven’t come across Bella Costa until January and what a great discovery it was. The staff were polite and really helpful, the food was delicious and...More

    thumb LemonandLime19

      Food is great, quality wines, pleasant atmosphere, professional and friendly staff. Will definitely visit again when next in Canary Wharf.

    thumb anthonyl994

      Don't waste a Saturday night in this place it' has no atmosphere and we asked house red wine with our meal and were charged 40£ per bottle. The food was mediocre we felt rushed in an almost empty restaurant and were given the bill without...More

    thumb regroyg

      We visited to celebrate a birthday after hearing about rave reviews from a friend. We were very impressed with the service, quality and portion of food and enjoyed the wines as well. Pastas can be ordered as half portions as starters. The price of the...More

    thumb HuiY88

      At last a special place in the Docklands area, Bella Cosa more than ticks the box! Pre-booked a table and embraced with a warm Italian welcome we were seated upstairs. The restaurant is upstairs and there is a bar and more casual seating downstairs with...More

    thumb H S

      We had an amazing dinner, good quality food and very good and friendly staff. Quiet place perfect for romantic dates.

    thumb Fer F

      One of the finest Italian Restaurants in London , and not only.......great italian cusine , elevated italian wine selection and warm italian hospaitality owner Antonio is lookingprsonlly after his Guests ...... MUST TRY THE PISTACHIO iCE CREAM WITH OLIVE OIL......JUST SUPERB !!! George

    thumb George A

      went for lunch beautiful quiet setting overlooking the river.nicely decorated restaurant with excellent service and food. service was spot on with all the little touches... Food was excellent...just nice will be going back very soon..

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Bella Cosa Restaurant,
Drewry House,
213 Marsh Wall,
E14 9FJ

12:00 to 15:00 for Lunch and 18:00 to 22:00 for Dinner Monday to Sunday.
Last order at 14:45 and 21:45 for Lunch and Dinner respectively.
Last drink order at 22:30


We are closed for renovations

Dear Customers,

The restaurant is currently closed for renovations.

Please bear with us during this time. We will update you as soon as we can with the new opening date.

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