Choose the Right Sauce for Your Pasta
Edited by JMA, Eng, Lynn, Graeme
We all know that pasta can be found in a number of shapes and sizes. But do you know what types of sauce are ideal for the cuts of pasta you are choosing? The following guide explores the most popular styles of pasta and will help you choose a sauce that will be a perfect match.
Pasta Types and Sauce Pairings
- 1Ridged tubes of pasta are easy to spot. These are pastas that are shaped to hold a great deal of sauce. They are often in fun shapes and are ideal for pasta salads, or sauces that are chunky with tomatoes and meat. The most common ridged tubes you will find are ziti rigati, penne and of course rigatoni.Advertisement
- 2Corkscrew pasta is perfectly paired with pesto sauces and light tomato sauces. Ideally, you will choose sauces that can fill the corkscrew shape, without weighing them down. That is because they are designed to hold sauce in them. The most common styles are rotini, cavatappi and fusilli.Advertisement
- 3Perhaps the most basic type of pasta is the hollow spaghetti. This is your long straw like pieces that come in all shapes and sizes. But each of them actually has a special sauce for them. For example, the classic spaghetti cut will do best with tomato products like a Bolognese sauce or even a marinara. Flatter choices like linguine, fettuccine and pappardele work best with lighter tomato based or cream based sauces. When you have skinny styled hollow spaghetti, such as angel hair or capellini, you will want a very thin sauce.
- 4Butterfly pastas are considered a fancy style of pasta and they are often visually stimulating and include the bow-tie pasta and farfalle. Usually, you will either pair them with a fairly thick sauce, or you can toss them into a soup where they add to the visual effect of the dish. While they can be used in pasta salads, they don't tend to hold up as well as some other pasta types, so keep that in mind when you are choosing the best match for you.
- 5Stuffed pasta is usually filled with ingredients that allow them to burst with flavor. Since their filling is designed to be the focal point of the dish, you will want to either serve them in a light broth, or pair them with a subtle cream sauce. That way, they are able to deliver the flavor punch that they were crafted for.
- 6Macaroni is pretty much the most shunned pasta. Many professional chefs look down on it because it has been associated with mac and cheese. However, it can do so much more. You can blend it into a pasta salad, use it in a casserole to bulk it up, mix it with a heavy sauce for a meal and even melt a little butter and mix it with some parmesan cheese.
- 7Tiny pasta is full of flavor and a soft chewy texture that makes it a perfect pairing in its natural form with vegetables, fish or other light meats. You will find it under the names couscous or even orzo and both deliver a great amount of flavor. They can be cooked up with herbs or citrus and turned into a side dish that will satisfy your hunger, without packing on the pounds. They can even be added to stew to help add to the heartiness.
- Don't smother the pasta with sauce. Instead, mix a little sauce with the pasta so it has a light coating. That way you can savor the sauce and the taste of the pasta.