Pasta is a versatile food for all occasions. It comes in an array of shapes and sizes with a number of different sauces to match. However, different shapes of pasta capture and absorb sauces differently. Learn to match them correctly and you can achieve a delightful interplay of texture and flavour.
The basic rule to follow is that the size of your pasta should match the size of vegetables or meat, in the sauce, and its overall texture. This makes for good consistency, giving you the perfect balance of pasta and sauce in each mouthful.
Keeping this rule in mind, here is a guide to correctly pairing sauces with some of our popular varieties of pasta.
Long thin pasta
Spaghetti, linguini and fettuccini: Spaghetti is a long thin, noodle-like pasta. Linguini are long flat noodles, wider than spaghetti but narrower than fettuccini. Fettuccini are ribbon-like lengths of pasta. These varieties work very well with luscious butter sauces and oil based sauces such as alio olio and pesto,which glaze the pasta beautifully, giving the dish a good consistency. They are also delicious when paired with smooth tomato sauces and thin cream or cheese sauces such as Alfredo sauce,which coat the long noodles, allowing them to carry enough flavour in each bite.
Small unevenly shaped, chunky pasta
Farfalle: Shaped like butterflies or bow ties, these are very attractive, lending them well topasta salads and soups. Thick cream or cheese sauces coat the farfalle nicely. Being a small, chunky variety, they are complimented by chunky tomato or vegetable sauces.
Penne and Rigatoni: Both of these are tubes of pasta cut into small lengths. Penne is cut with diagonal ends while rigatoni with straight ends. Minced meat sauces, and chunky tomato or vegetable sauces are ideally paired with these pastas as the chunks get filled into the tubes creating rich textural experiences.
Macaroni: Like rigatoni these are also tubes of pasta but they are bent into curved pieces, resembling elbow joints. Macaroni are most popularly paired with cheese sauces but can also be enjoyed with chunky meat or vegetable sauces.
Fusilli: These are twists or spirals of pasta.Paired well with thick and dense cheese sauces, pesto and chunky vegetable or tomato sauces, all of which get trapped in the twists and curls of the pasta. Fusilliis also an attractive element to include in pasta salads.
Flat pasta sheets
Lasagna: Lasagna are longs flat sheets of pasta that are layered alternately with a sauce to make baked pasta dishes. They can be layered with cream or cheese sauces, meat sauces, tomato, and vegetable sauces. Butter or oil sauces are too thin and light for layering in baked dishes and won’t provide any body to your dish.
These tricks can be mastered in just a few tries and soon you’ll be playing matchmaker to create endless combinations of pasta dishes to relish on any occasion.