How does your family enjoy an Italian meal at home? Are you starting from scratch cooking sauce all day? Or are you opening your favorite jar of sauce to pour over your favorite pasta shape? Any way you bring it to your table, we’ve got ALL the ingredients to make it your own.
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Which pasta for which recipe? Pasta comes in so many shapes – the number of possible pairings can almost seem endless. While there’s no “one right way,” here are some smart and savory suggestions for pairing pasta:
long, thin pasta – spaghetti, angel hair, capellini, vermicelli
Round strands coil sumptuously with smooth sauces – especially tomato with herbs that cling to the strands as it’s twirled around a fork. Elegant thin varieties complement brothy soups while thicker lengths partner well with heavier sauces.
long, flat pasta – linguine, fettuccine
Ribbon-like strands – from wide to narrow – were the first pasta shapes created
since they were easily cut by hand from flat sheets of pasta dough. This shape is very versatile and is suitable for a wide range of sauces from seafood, such as clam sauce, to hearty meat sauces like Bolognese and carbonara, as well as creamy sauces like Alfredo.
spiral or twist pasta – rotini, fusilli, cavatappi
Perfect for both simple and more refined sauces, these shapes are frequently used in pasta salads with oil-based dressing or pesto. Their crevices are ideal for collecting vegetables, herbs and spices.
fancy-shaped pasta – shells, farfalle (bowtie), campanelle
These open-fringed, elegant varieties are ideal for serving with dairy-based sauces like béchamel, chunky meat ragus or even tomato-cream sauces like vodka sauce.
hollow-center pasta – elbows, penne, rigatoni, mostaccioli
These thicker-shaped pastas pair well with full-flavored sauces. Served hot, their contours are made to hold hearty meat sauces and sauces with chunky ingredients like peas or capers. Ridges, known as rigate, and angular-cut ends offer intriguing texture when served cold in pasta salads.
miniature pasta – orzo, stelline, alphabets, acini di pepe
Delicate, compact shapes just right for scooping onto a spoon. These tiniest of shapes are used in soups and broth dishes.
stuffed pasta – manicotti, jumbo shells
Filled with cheese, spinach, vegetables or meat, large hollow pasta shapes partner well with tomato or cream sauce in baked casseroles.