The Pasta Shape Ina Garten Loves For Bolognese

A quick internet search for pasta and red sauce recipes reveals that there can be an almost endless combination of the styles — from shape and size — to the sauce ingredients. Although you may think all tomato-based sauces are the same, and while there are similarities, one sauce tends to stand out from the rest. If you've ever thought of bolognese and marinara as being interchangeable, you might want to reconsider. It's true that they're both made with tomatoes, but bolognese contains a few additional ingredients that diferentiates the two.

Marinara sauce can encompass both meat and meatless varieties, whereas bolognese sauce is a much heartier version that always includes meat, typically beef as well as ground pork, along with chopped vegetables, and some milk to give it a creamy finish, as detailed by Simply Recipes. Given the differences between marinara and bolognese, it makes sense that certain pasta would pair better with the heartier meat-filled sauce. In fact, Food Network chef Ina Garten prefers one pasta shape when she serves bolognese.

Ear-shaped pasta

If you've ever stood in the pasta aisle at the grocery store, you've no doubt seen a variety of different pasta shapes. And while some shapes are easy to understand, the flat surface of lasagna noodles is perfect for layering, while long strands of linguine are made for twirling, but as detailed by Bon Appétit, each shape serves a distinct purpose. According to Eat This, Not That!, pasta should be paired with sauces based on their shapes and other characteristics. The article further details that ridge-shaped pasta is great for holding onto the extra sauce, while thinner, smoother pasta shapes work with lighter sauces.

When it comes to the hearty bolognese sauce, Garten likes to use orecchiette pasta. As she explains in this Food Network YouTube video, the reason behind that preference is simply because it holds more sauce. Since the orecchiette is shaped like a small ear, that hollow, shell-like inner surface is perfect for holding onto the sauce. The next time you make bolognese, be sure to serve it with orecchiette to keep all that saucy goodness in each bite.