Pairing the right pasta for your sauce
From the glistening spaghetti in a buttery perfection to the rich tomato sauce wrapping itself on the ridges of the fusilli, every pasta has its pair-fect type!
1. Tube-like Pasta- Penne, Macroni, Rigatoni, Cannelloni, ZitiThese types of pasta are tube-like with a hollow centre that can accommodate a good dose of the sauce. So, if you're looking for a saucy pasta in every bite, this is your go-to. They are a match made in heaven with either chunky tomato sauces or a simple marinara or a spicy Arrabiata sauce. Recipes with these sauces and pasta can easily be baked, sauteed or tossed. Elbow pasta like macaroni is mostly used to make mac and cheese but it could suitably be used for pasta soups too.
2. Thin Pasta- Spaghetti, Angel Hair
3. Ridge Pasta- Penne, Farfalle, Fusilli, Orecchiette, Rigatoni, Cavatelli
With a sturdier body, this variety of pasta traps the goodness of the sauce in its textured ridges and curves. This variety is perfect for baked pasta recipes and tastes best when cooked al dente. If you love chunkier and meaty sauces like ragu, the ridges and holes in these make for a great pasta pairing. Even cheesy and creamy sauces like Alfredo and Bechamel make for an indulgent dinner treat on weeknights.
4. Flat Pasta- Fettucine, Linguini, Tagliatelle, Parpadelle
Pasta like fettuccine, linguine, tagliatelle and pappardelle are slightly thicker than spaghetti or angel hair pasta and fall under this category. Therefore, they can hold up hearty and meaty sauces very well. Often this category of pasta pairs well with creamy sauces like Alfredo sauce, whose base is very likely to be a bechamel sauce. Pesto and peas is a classic combination for tagiatelle & parpadelle, the thicker version of these flat noodles. Most often than not, restaurants are seen serving a linguine or fettuccine pasta with seafood like clams or pippies that are lighter in body.
5. Sheet Pasta- LasagneIf you love making pasta at home, you know that one always start by making a sheet pasta, which eventually could become a lasagne sheet, after drying it out. Lasagne is a popular layered recipe which is baked in a casserole and uses sheet pasta. It can easily be loaded with meat minces, chunky pieces of vegetables, marinara or bechamel sauce and even pesto sometimes.
6. Stuffed Pasta- Ravioli, Tortellini, Conchiglie, Agnolotti, Pansotti, CannelloniWhat's the best part of this pasta? That it can be stuffed with anything you like; meat mince, vegetables or cheesy pestos. Pasta like conchiglie and Agnolotti can easily be baked in a casserole with heaps of cheese on it, while others like ravioli and tortellini can be pan-seared in buttery sauces or dunked in broths for a great soup.
Types of Sauces:1. Tomato-based
Popular sauces like marinara and arrabiata have a rich tomato flavour. Since the tomatoes are either blended or left chunky, it warps well with spaghetti and coats well on ridged pasta.
The taste of this sauce lies in its simplicity as it is herbaceous and garlicky at the same time. Aglio Olio is the perfect example of spaghetti or angel hair noodles glistening in butter or olive oil, infused with the garlic, herbs and chilli flakes.
Made with the oh-so-popular and fragrant, basil leaves, this herb-based sauce is vibrant and sits well with corkscrew pastas like fusilli. When mixed with cream cheese or ricotta, it makes for a great filling for the shell pastas like conchiglie and orecchiette. Basil pesto is also a great pasta salad accompaniment to bring out the freshness in the dish.
4. Cream or cheese-based
Heard of Alfredo and bechamel sauce? They are high on cheese and milk which makes them so rich, creamy and a pure indulgence. Sometimes cream cheese sauces are combined with tomato or pesto sauce to turn it a notch down and break away from the richness of it. This sauce is almost perfect with all types of pasta; be it tagliatelle, a thick noodle pasta, orecchiette, a shell pasta or a farfalle, a ridged pasta!
Two of the most popular meat-based sauces would be Bolognese and Ragu. These are high on minced meat like beef which is simmered in tomato sauce. Wide ribbons like (the thickest in the noodle category) pappardelle and lasagne pair well with Bolognese. While Ragu goes well with spaghetti too. The major difference between the two is the consistency. Chicken pasta is usually served with pieces of seared or grilled chicken.
Wine based sauces are rare in India but when done well, they taste spectacular with both butter and tomato-based sauces. A splash of wine adds a lot of complexity to the flavours of the pasta. Any long and thin pasta like spaghetti or angel hair is recommended for a wine-based pasta.
You can make a vegetable-based pasta using both butter garlic sauce or a creamy one. Vegetables like zucchini, mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes make for a delicious addition to the otherwise plain pasta.