How to combine pasta and sauce

Italians have a special attitude to combine pasta and sauce:

Italian cookery offers hundreds of different pasta shapes and size, as well as  many different condiments. It can be amazing to discover how much a dish can taste different if you do the wrong match… especially if you do consider that all the ingredients are always the same!

Some people are born stylish and know instinctively how to do that.

For the majority of us Italians matching the right pasta with the right sauce it’s just a question of instinct and style.



Traditional condiments pair with their traditional pasta shape. It depends on regional origins, and local availability of ingredients:



Linguine match perfectly with clams, Trofie go on well with pesto, penne are perfect with Amatriciana sauce, bucatini are worldwide famous with “cacio e pepe” and so on…



But if you are experiencing a non traditional condiment, or experimenting your creativity with what you have in your refrigerator, you will be happy to keep some tips.

  • Long flat pasta (linguine, fettuccine, trenette) go with lighter sauces such as seafood condiments or pesto.
  • Spaghetti and long egg pasta (lasagna) go with tomato sauce, ragout, and havyer sauce containing small pieces of meat.
  • Short pasta (maccheroni, penne) are ideal with strong flavoured condiments and oily based sauce, such as vegetables based sauces, or spicy sauces, or meat sauce. We prefer sauces that can easly penetrate the hollows and cavities. We do not eat, usually, short pasta with fish sauce, clams, or delicate sauces.
  • Filled pasta can be stuffed with a variety of filling. It usually needs a light sauce, mainly prepared with butter, Parmigiano cheese and few more ingredients, as the sauce must not tower over the flavor of the filling, which is rich on itself.
  • Egg pasta is yellower, richer in taste and consistency, it goes well with strong meat flavors, and it’s perfect with game based sauce.

5 thoughts on “How to combine pasta and sauce

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