How To Pick the Right Pasta for Your Sauce

There are five hundred pasta shapes to choose from. The shape of your pasta should dictate your sauce. Choosing the right pasta shape to suit the nature of your sauce makes a big difference to the finished dish. So, where do you start? 


Butter or Oil Sauces 

Thinking of keeping it simple with your pasta dishes? If you are dressing up your pasta with only butter or oil and some fresh herbs or using a lighter sauce? The best pasta for the lighter sauces is thin and delicate long cuts of pasta capellini, thin spaghetti, linguine, Fusilli, lunghi, bucatini, and vermicelli. Sticking to thinner longer cuts of pasta complement the sauce or toss of garlicky olive oil. 


Creamy and Cheesy Sauces 

The creamier and cheesier and decadent pasta sauces call for sturdier pasta, sauce-capturing noodles that will hold in the rich taste. Pasta with hollows and scoopable shapes, such as cavatappi, elbows, farfalle, fettuccine, shells, and linguine, to experience the creamy, cheesy sauces.


Meat Sauces 

When you think of Italian comfort food, you think more of typical meaty sauces or ragùs that are hearty, filling, and flavorful. San Marzano sauce or Bolognese are some of the most common in Italy; these classic slow-simmered sauces are often seen on Sunday dinner at Nonna’s house. The best pasta to capture the hearty sauces, serve best with traditional tube-shaped pasta—like Spaghetti, Rigatoni, Bucatini, Pappardelle, Conchiiglie, lumache, and Orecchiette. 



You’ve seen pesto on your favorite pasta or even on your chicken sandwiches. Pesto is best known as the gorgeously green oil-based herb sauce from Genoa, Italy. The pesto sauce is traditionally made with crushed basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil, and parmesan cheese. This fresh and fragrant pasta sauce is served uncooked, so choosing a pasta shape that won’t overwhelm the pasta. Similar to oil-based sauces, pesto is served best with longer cuts of pasta, like the corkscrew shape of Fusilli. Pesto works best with Bucatini, Capellini, thinner Spaghettini, and Fettuccine. 


At Nico Ristorante, we know our pasta well, for the best pasta feasts serve your pasta with the proper shapes according to the sauces. We have a feeling our recommendations will make your Sunday dinner even better. Impress all your family and eat until you can’t anymore. Still unsure of what works best with what pasta? Leave it up to us to do the cooking and visit us for dinner and try some of our delicious kinds of pasta on our menu. 

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