Mix and Match: How to Match Pasta Shapes and Sauces


When it comes to the world of pasta many people know very little about the different varieties. Though many of us enjoy relishing pasta layered with mouth-watering sauces, many of us are unaware of the perfect pasta and sauce combination. Choosing the right pasta shape with a sauce can make a lot of difference to the final dish. The different shapes of pasta absorb the sauce differently, thereby affecting the taste of the dish.

Matching the Pasta with the Sauce

All shapes of pasta don’t work with complex sauces which makes it important to choose the combination of sauce and shape. Stuffed pasta, for instance, has a simple broth whereas tiny shapes are generally used in soups. The thumb rule is light, thin and liquid sauces are best suited for thin or filled pasta, which is stuffed with gently-flavored ingredients. Heavy sauces, which are more concentrated, rich, or spicy are best served with thicker pasta as the ridges of the pasta absorb more sauce. Read our blog to find out some of the favorite pasta and sauce pairings that you can try out in your kitchen.


Penne Pasta

Coming from the Italian word “pens”, penne pasta is small cylindrical-shaped pasta cut at an angle. Similar to other ribbed tube-shaped pasta, penne pasta goes well with thick sauces. Olive oil-or butter-based vegetable or tomato sauce, cream-based concoctions blend well with Thick sauces sneak into the tube shape of the pasta giving it a juicy and delightful taste. Penne pasta also blends better with a generous serving of cheese.


Commonly known as bow ties, Farfalle, which means butterfly, is a favorite among children. Short-shaped pastas such as farfalle taste great with rich sauces, especially if the sauces have bits of vegetables or meat. The large and smooth surface of the pasta blends well with cream-based sauces.



Considered the world’s most popular pasta, spaghetti is a staple in Italian restaurants. Spaghetti is best served with light sauces such as tomato, garlic, or olive oil. The light sauces coat each strand of the spaghetti evenly making the pasta flavourful. The light sauces also ensure that the pasta can be easily wound up with a fork. To add some twist, you can also add some small and light additions such as fresh herbs, or tomatoes.


Short pasta with the twisted surface, Fusilli is short-shaped pasta. The pasta is served best with light and smoother sauces that have a bit of meat or vegetables. The spiral shape holds on to the rich, and hearty sauces. The pasta has been specially designed to hold on to the cheese, ricotta sauces, or pestos. If you prefer preparing salads, you can opt for tri-color pastas to make the salad colorful and vibrant.


You can use different types of sauces depending on the type of shell pasta you plan to cook. If you are using large shell pasta, you can stuff and bake them. You can also stuff the large shells with cheese and different types of sauces. Medium-sized shell pasta blend well with thick sauces. The small-sized shells are best paired with soups and stews.



A thicker variant of pasta, Fettuccine is a flat, ribbon-like pasta. The variant of pasta is best suited with rich, thick, and creamy sauces. The flat shape of the pasta makes it ideal to be paired with thick sauces.


Linguine is in-between narrow spaghetti and wide, flat fettuccine. The thin, flat noodles go well with thick and rich sauces as the flat surface of the noodles can soak up all the delicious juices of the simple and creamy sauces such as Alfredo.

Angel Hair

The thinnest and finest type of pasta, angle hair has long and very fine strands that are easy to cook. The narrow noodles blend well with delicate sauces such as broth, and tomato sauce. You can also cook the variant of pasta simply with butter and oil.



A unique variant, Ravioli is a square-shaped stuffed pasta that is made with two sheets of fresh pasta filled with delicious stuffing. As ravioli can be filled with different types of ingredients such as cheese and vegetables. Butter or cream-based sauces, tomato sauce, or even broth can be used with ravioli as it doesn’t overwhelm the taste of the pasta.


A well-known long tube pasta, buccatini has a straw-like shape and resembles thick spaghetti. The hollow center and thicker texture of the Buccatini make it ideal to be paired with strong flavored and fluid sauces which can fill the center of the pasta to give it a delicious and juicy taste.

You May Also Like Reading: A Foodies Guide to 5 Different Types of Noodles

Last Few Words

When cooking pasta, you need to consider a number of factors such as the variance in cut, shape, and thickness. The form and texture of the pasta play a major role in deciding the type of sauce that will enhance its taste. You can also make pasta from scratch if you are health conscious and prefer healthy alternatives. All you need is the KENT Noodle and Pasta Maker which helps customize the ingredients to enjoy healthy and tasty pasta. To request a free demo of the KENT Noodle and Pasta Maker, click here.


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