Pasta Shapes Are Randomly Paired With Sauces
Though they may seem fanciful or random, pasta shapes are actually very precisely constructed. In many cases, noodles are the vehicle delivering sauce to your mouth. And since all sauces are a little bit different, it takes a unique vehicle for each one to be successful. Steve Samson says that, traditionally, “You want thinner pastas with seafood and thicker with meat sauces.” Long, thin noodles (spaghetti, linguine, vermicelli, etc.) are best served with lighter sauces (oil-based, cream or quick seafood sauces). Wider ribbons (tagliatelle, pappardelle, fettuccine, etc.) are perfectly constructed to transport heavier, meatier sauces like bolognese from the plate to your mouth. Twisting shapes (fusilli, gemelli, radiatori, etc.) are great for smoother, thicker sauces like pesto because the ridges provide crevices for the sauce to hide in. Tubes (penne, rigatoni, paccheri, etc.) are terrific with cheesier sauces and also hold up well in baked dishes, while smaller shapes (orzo, fregola, orecchiette, etc.) are designed to float in soups and stews.
Up next: Do you think noodles only come from Italy? Think again.