There are so many kinds of pasta shapes available, it’s often hard to know which sauce you should pair with which pasta. Never fear!
In general, Italians don’t serve thick sauces with thin pasta ribbons. They prefer to use large shells or tubes or thicker long pasta, like tagliatelle because they ‘capture’ the sauce.
Think of it this way: larger shapes go better with thick, robust sauces while skinny shapes, like strands of vermicelli, go better with light, creamy sauces.
Here’s your handy guide. Buon appetito!
|Pasta shape||Serve with…|
|Long and skinny||Spaghetti, linguine, vermicelli||Light seafood sauces, cream or oil-based sauces.|
|Long ribbons||Tagliatelle, pappardelle, fettuccine||Rich, meaty sauces.|
|Shells||Conchiglie, lumache, farfalle||Heavy cream or meat sauces; large ones can be stuffed.|
|Twists||Fusilli||Lighter, smoother sauces which will cling to the twists, such as pesto.|
|Tubes||Penne, rigatoni, macaroni||Hearty vegetable sauces, or baked cheese dishes. Also good with Bolognaise or ragu.|
|Mini shapes||Orzo||In soups and stews or as pasta salads.|
|Filled pasta||Ravioli, tortellini, cappelletti||These are traditionally served with a light butter or oil sauce.|