How to Pair Pasta Shapes to Sauces

It’s true: certain pasta shapes do go better with certain sauces. Step up your pasta game by understanding the different shapes and when to use each one. Though there are about 350 pasta shapes out there, this simple guide will help you match the popular types to the perfect sauce.

Penne

This tubular pasta pairs well with a variety of sauces. However, smooth, silky sauces work best as they can flow into the hollow tubes for maximum flavor experience.

Pappardelle

Wide ribbons of egg pasta are traditionally reserved for heartier sauces. A chunky ragu works very beautifully with this shape, as the sauce gets trapped between the lovely folds of the pasta.

Angel Hair

Angel hair is incredibly thin and easily weighed down by heavy sauces. A simple sauce of butter, lemon and parmesan is just enough to bring out the delicate texture of this pasta.

Fusilli

Its fun, coil shape works great for baked dishes or pasta salad. Zesty pesto is the perfect choice for this noodle, as tasty bits of basil and garlic cling to the twists. 

Ravioli

Filled pastas such as ravioli or tortellini are often already full of flavor from their fillings. Pair them with a light olive oil or butter sauce to allow the tasty stuffings to shine through.