The pasta aisle at the supermarket is nearly as long as the cereal aisle, with tons of choices to choose from. But while it may seem as though any noodle can accompany any sauce, there are some guidelines when it comes to these pairings. Learn which pasta shapes are the best with which sauces, and try out some new and exciting combinations. You may find that your favorite sauce recipe would be better paired with a completely new noodle!
With chunkier sauces like Bolognese or pasta with beans, tubular pastas are the way to go. From thinner penne to hearty rigatoni, these shapes help capture bits of the sauce, allowing the sauce and noodle to better marry on the plate.
Sauces that combine a variety of textures require a noodle with just as much texture. Choose shaped pastas like farfalle, fusilli and gemelli when making sauces that combine several whole ingredients, like our asparagus and fresh pea pasta with lemon butter sauce or our pasta with peas, radishes and lemon cream. These sauces cling to the textured parts of the noodles, and the noodles themselves add one more distinct shape to the plate.
Oil-Based or Smooth Sauces
Use long noodles for oil based or smooth sauces as they require lubrication to keep from sticking, and a homogenous sauce is just the ticket. In general, a thinner sauce should accompany a thinner noodle: capellini is delicious when tossed with a simple combination of olive oil, garlic and parmesan, while fettuccine or fusilli lunghi may be better with a heartier, heavier sauce like classic alfredo or our fresh thyme and gorgonzola pasta sauce.
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