• Speck and sour cream macaroni cheese (Alan Benson)Source: Alan Benson
Bake it, toss it or twirl it - with cheese! #WorldPastaDay
20 Oct 2020 - 8:20 PM  UPDATED 20 Oct 2020 - 8:20 PM

It comes as no surprise that pasta has its own day. It's a carby staple embraced not only in its spiritual home of Italy but around the globe. To help celebrate World Pasta Day, here are seven of our most popular cheese takes (in no particular order - how could we play favourites between classics like carbonara and twists like bacon lasagne? And then for those who have ever found themselves torn between pasta or pizza, we've got the perfect hybrid for you - keep on reading for the mac 'n' cheese pizza answer to your dilemma).

Spaghetti alla carbonara

One theory about the origins of this classic combination of pork, egg, cheese (Parmigiano Reggiano or pecorino) and black pepper is that it was created by the miners (carbonai) in the Apennine mountains. 

Baked pasta (pastitsio)

Variations of this dish are made throughout the Mediterranean. This version has three key layers: the meat filling, the pasta and the béchamel sauce on top. Here kefalograviera, a hard, salty, Greek sheep’s-milk cheese, is the key to the béchamel.

Fresh pasta squares with ricotta and vegetables (sagne a pezze alla pecorara con verdure)

Silvia Colloca shares a spring vegetable favourite from her Nonna Irene. "She insisted the squares must be an even 2.5 cm × 2.5 cm. Given that this is the only time she has ever advocated precision in the kitchen, I make it a point to follow her instructions to the letter..."

Bacon and egg lasagne

Breakfast, lunch or dinner? This lasagne laughs in the face of outmoded ideas of categorisation and is equally awesome eaten at any time of day or night. Oh, and it's made with bocconcini and parmesan, to double up the cheese factor. 

Speck and sour cream macaroni cheese

From our Gourmet Farmer Matthew Evans, this is a relatively light mac-and-cheese that doesn’t need a white sauce but does taste heavenly thanks to the addition of sour cream and good-quality cheddar. 

Speck and sour cream macaroni cheese

Mean green pesto with orecchiette

Donna Hay has us nailing the pesto life before bringing a head of broccoli, almond and plenty of herbs to this bowl. 

Mean green pesto

Tortelli filled with greens and ricotta (tortelli d’erbetta)

Any list of pasta and cheese combos would be incomplete without a little cheesy parcel. Here you are then.  

Broccoli and mascarpone ravioli with anchovy, chilli and lemon

This dish uses a classic Italian combination but in a slightly different way. Salty anchovy and spicy chilli (feel free to add more chilli than the recipe suggests) are unquestionably an excellent combination with broccoli, while the mascarpone adds creaminess and the fresh pasta adds silkiness. Then make it rain, shaved parmesan.

Explore our pasta recipe collection here. 

Need more?
Stuffed Ukrainian pasta (varenyky)

This is my death row wish, my last supper, my ultimate source of comfort. I had trouble deciding how many people the recipes below would serve – I can eat 40 dumplings at one sitting, and that is no joke. It may be nostalgia or that they are so incredibly tasty, or perhaps I am just a glutton. If you have any varenyky left over, they are amazing the next day, fried in butter until crispy.

Mac 'n' cheese, the healthy way

It’s unlikely that mac and cheese will ever be considered a health food. However, it can be prepared with a healthy focus in mind, and still yield a comforting, creamy bowl of pasta. If bacon is your thing, toss some cooked lardons through the sauce before grilling. Buy the best quality ricotta you can, as it’s the backbone of the dish.

Ligurian green lasagna (lasagna verde)

According to the Ligurians of Italy’s north-west the basil that grows around the coast of Liguria is the best in the world thanks to the area’s unique geography. The capital, Genoa, is the birthplace of basil pesto after all, and it is rare to find a Genoan without a plot of basil, or some growing on the windowsill. This lasagna is a perfect way to make the most of a summertime abundance of the herb – the meat is replaced with a fragrant basil pesto. You will need a pasta machine for this recipe.

Tonnarelli cacio e pepe (pasta with cheese and pepper)

This is one of the most traditional dishes of the Lazio region. It’s so simple and requires just a few ingredients. It was developed in that area due to the abundance of shepherds in the region who produce Cacio (Roman cheese).