How to Choose The Right Type of Pasta for Your Sauce


Certain sauces lend themselves well to a specific pasta shape. For example, those that are considered heartier, like a tubular penne and ziti pair well with a thick sauce like ragu, while short pastas with lots of crevices, like orecchietti are the perfect vehicle for a sturdy vegetable sauce as they trap the small chunks in their little cavities.

When it comes to choosing pasta, the sauce should dictate the shape you use, resulting in a more balanced meal. Here is a quick reference guide to choosing the right type of pasta for your sauce:

  • Spaghetti—meat sauce or tomato sauce, butter/oil or seafood sauce
  • Linguine and Fettuccini—cheese sauce, butter/oil, or seafood sauce
  • Ditalini and Orzo“—in a pasta salad or soup
  • Orecchietti—with vegetable sauce, pesto or in a pasta salad
  • Farfalle and Rotinti—cheese, meat, tomato or vegetable sauce, butter/oil, seafood, pesto, or in a salad or soup
  • Macaroni—cheese sauce and pasta salad
  • Pappardelle—meat sauce
  • Rigatoni—meat, tomato or vegetable sauce

What’€™s you favourite sauce/pasta combination? I’€™m pretty partial to rigatoni with a hearty ragu but I also love orecchiette with browned butter, broccoli, mushrooms, and Parmesan.


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