How to match pasta shapes to the perfect sauces
During lockdown we have all been relying on our pantries in a completely new way as we had to shop less often and stay at home as much as possible.
Whether you’re feeling just a little overwhelmed right now or over excited to try something new in the kitchen — we have plenty of ideas to help you make delicious, comforting bowls of pasta in your favourite sauce. Whether you prefer freshly made or from a box, pasta is one of the simplest – and most beloved – dishes to prepare at home.
There’s nothing better than a big bowl of pasta, well except maybe, one that’s paired with your favourite sauce. Certain shapes just go better with certain toppings.
Our chefs have rounded up some of the most common types of pasta to give you a crash course on one of the world’s most delicious, popular food – so without further ado, here’s our take on Italy’s most popular pasta shapes and how to use them.
These medium-sized, ridged tubes of pasta feature edges cut at a diagonal. Penne pairs well with a number of sauce types, including cream-, tomato- or meat-based sauces. Try to keep the consistency of sauces less chunky though, as you want that the sauce to flow into the hollow tubes of pasta and imbue them with flavor or try it in a pasta bake with tomato, ricotta and spinach.
Some say these flat ribbons of pasta fall somewhere between fettuccine and pappardelle in width. Traditionally they get served with a Bolognese or meat ragu, but a lemon and butter sauce works just as well
Think of the hollow space inside these small elbow shaped tubes of pasta like a vehicle for gooey deliciousness. Cream sauces, melty cheeses or tomato sauces without many chunks can all stuff themselves in macaroni, yielding flavorful results. And of course, let’s not forget about classic macaroni and cheese
Cannelloni is tube-like or cylindrical pasta that usually measures three to four inches in length and is stuffed with a cheese, meat, vegetable or fish filling
These shell-like portions of pasta are available in a few different sizes. Best pairing with sauces that will get caught in the shell-shaped center, like thick cheese-, cream- or tomato-based sauces.
Long, thin and flat strips of pasta that resemble flattened spaghetti and is often used in conjunction with clam-based sauces or in other seafood dishes. This versatile pasta works well with slightly “wet” sauces, from tomato- to cream-based and beyond.
These large, wide, flat sheets of pasta is typically layered with sauce and cheese. This is the ultimate comfort food and is composed of layers of noodles, sauce, cheese and other fillings. to form the popular casserole dish of the same name
Is a type of dough dumpling made of cooked mashed potatoes, flour, and eggs. These soft, doughy dumplings are typically served with a savory white or red sauce.
This type of pasta features a filling enveloped in thin, egg-based pasta dough. Raviolis are typically square or circular and stuffed with meat, cheese, or vegetables.
Long, flat, ribbon-like pasta that is popular in Roman and Tuscan cuisine. Because it’s a thicker pasta, fettuccine is often paired with heavier sauces, especially creamy Alfredo sauce.
Popularly known as “bow-tie pasta” due to its similar shape, and is commonly used for dishes that call for light sauces, as well as pasta salads.
Large, tube-shaped pasta with ridged edges that perfectly capture sauces and grated cheese. It is slightly larger than penne, and is often served with meat ragu, as well as a variety of light and heavy sauces.
A staple food, these long, thin, solid, cylindrical strings of pasta are commonly served with a wide variety of sauces, meats and vegetables, including marinara sauce, meatballs and mushrooms
Ring-shaped pasta that is often stuffed with a combination of meat and/or cheese.
This long, thick, corkscrew-shaped pasta is most commonly served with tomato sauce and cheese.
Similar to tortellini but larger and is most often stuffed with ricotta cheese and various leafy vegetables such as spinach
One of many unique types of pasta, this fun wagon wheel-shaped pasta is commonly used in dishes with either a tomato-based or cream-based sauce
It is a long, flat, thick ribbon-like pasta and is used in all kinds of culinary applications and is best served with a creamy sauce — use warm cream in a pan with nutmeg, add frozen peas and lots of Parmesan at the end.
This corkscrew-shaped pasta is good for holding onto sauces. Fusilli is best served with a Zucchini sauce. Use olive oil, chopped shallots, and diced zucchini gently fried off. Add the fusilli and some ricotta or cream.
All pasta shapes are created equal (and we gave showcased just a few), so choose your favorite and transport your family to a night in Italy!
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