Pasta is a meal-time favourite with Australian families – it’s inexpensive and can be served a variety of ways.
And while the Italian staple comes in a variety of shapes and size, not all work with every type of sauce, revealed food expert Jane de Graaf.
The culinary expert recently shared a handy guide pairing each pasta type with its correct sauce and revealed why spaghetti isn’t always the best pasta style for Bolognese sauce.
Long and thin noodles
Because spaghetti (pictured) is a thinner type of pasta it doesn’t work as well for thicker, meatier sauces such as Bolognese
Spaghetti is the sort of pasta that falls into the long and skinny category, as does vermicelli, linguine and spaghettini.
According to Jane, thinner types of pasta generally work best with lighter, oil-based sauces as these fully coat the strand.
She added longer types of noodles such as spaghetti weren’t great for meaty sauces as the strands were too thin for the sauce to stick to.
Long ribbon-type pasta
Thicker cut pasta such as tagliatelle (pictured) is considered a better pasta for serving with meaty sauces
Richer, meatier sauces such as ragu or Bolognese work better with pasta types that are slightly thicker cut.
Tagliatelle, pappardelle, fettuccine work best for these types of sauces as the wider ribbons offer plenty of room for the sauce to stick to.
A ragu served over the top of tagliatelle is a signature dish of Bologna, the capital city of the Italian region Emilia-Romagna.
Orecchiette (pictured) a shell-shaped pasta, works well with a creamy sauce but the trick is to slightly undercook it so it doesn’t lose its shape
Shell-shaped pastas work well with a creamy or meat-based sauce, Jane said.
The pasta, which comes as shells, snails, large elbows, orecchiette (which translates as small ear), doesn’t grab the sauce, more they’re designed to ‘hold’ it.
When cooking this type of pasta, it’s worth bearing the al dente rule in mind. This means pasta is almost cooked through, but not quite.
The reason for this is shell-shaped pasta will lose its shape when overcooked and won’t work as well for cupping the sauce.
Twisted and spiral shapes
Fusilli (pictured) is perfect for lighter sauces such as pesto
Pasta shapes such as fusilli, casarecce, strozzapreti should be used in conjunction with a lighter sauce.
One sauce that’s ideal is pesto. This is a sauce made from Parmesan cheese, fresh basil and pinenuts, and olive oil blended to a smooth paste.
While the oil ensures this type of sauce clings to these shapes, adding a dash of the cooking water will loosen the sauce so it covers pasta more evenly.
Tube-shaped pasta such as penne (pictured) works well in macaroni cheese as the pasta can be filled with sauce
This type of pasta is ideal for thicker sauces such as ragu or those that come laden with vegetables.
Tubes that are larger in shape, such as cannelloni, can be filled with sauce and baked in the oven.
Smaller versions include penne, rigatoni, maraconi, ziti. These are also perfect for oven-baked dished such as macaroni cheese or a pasta bake.
Mini pasta shapes
Smaller pasta shapes such as orzo (pictured) work well in soups and stews
In addition to larger pasta shapes which served with various sauces, there is a range of smaller shapes.
Because of their size, they tend to be included in soups or stews, or some like orzo can be used in a salad.
Risoni, fregola and mini elbows are three which fall into this pasta category.