A guide to pasta shapes and sauces (size does matter).

A guide to pasta shapes and sauces (size does matter).

A guide to pasta shapes and sauces because size does matter!

Pasta is an ingredient loved by many and eaten daily all over the world, one would be forgiven for thinking it’s a simple and easy dish. After all, you have to try pretty hard to make an abysmal pasta dish. However, there’s a difference between pasta and great pasta, something as simple as the shape and sauce you use can make all the difference to your meal. Generally speaking, larger shapes tend to be paired with more robust, thicker sauces. Whereas, thinner shapes such as Spaghetti suit lighter, creamy sauces. If you’re still feeling confused, read on! Here is a guide to pasta shapes and sauces;

  • Long & Thin

Spaghetti, linguine, lunghi, vermicelli etc. are good with light, seafood, cream or oil based sauces. These adhere well to the long stripes of pasta and also make them easier to eat.

  • Long Ribbons

Tagliatelle, pappardelle, fettuccine, mafaldine etc. are great with rich and meaty sauces. But remember, Italians are not fond of chicken so if you want to keep it authentic steer clear of this protein.

  • Shells

Conchiglie & lumache etc. go brilliantly with heavy cream or meat sauces, you’ll find that the sauce mingles in the middle and each bite is a creamy delight. You can even stuff the larger ones… Yum!

  • Twists

Fusilli, trofie, strozzapreti, casarecce, gemelli etc. are best matches with lighter, smoother sauces that cling on to the pasta, a nice pesto for example.

  • Tubes

Penne, rigatoni, macaroni, paccheri etc. are delightful with hearty vegetable sauces, ragu or baked cheese dishes. Another great shape for trapping little mouthfuls of sauce in the middle.

  • Mini Shapes

Orzo, fregola, canestrini, stelline etc. make a great addition to soups and stews, they can add a little bit of body and absorb the flavour well, also great in pasta salads.

  • Filled Pasta

Ravioli, tortellini, cappelletti etc. should only be served with a butter or oil based sauce, whatever you decide make sure it’s light. The pasta is already filled with full flavour, try not to overpower it with sauce.

a guide to pasta

A few more things that’ll help you make the ultimate pasta dish at home;

  1. Salt your pasta water – Some say it should be as salty as the sea.
  2. Use a big pot – If the pasta has more room to move it won’t stick together.
  3. Combine the pasta with the sauce – Pasta sauce is not just a topping!
  4. Save a little pasta water – If your sauce seems dry/won’t stick add a little pasta water 😉

So there you have it, a guide to pasta shapes and sauces. I hope this enables you to kick your pasta dishes up a notch! Be sure to let us know if you try any of these and how it went.

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