The Best Pasta To Pair With Pesto Sauce

To match the infinite number of pasta shapes, there is an equally infinite number of ways to dress pasta. Maybe it's because of the endless possibilities that macaroni frequently ends up on dinner tables across the country, contributing to the nearly 6 billion pounds consumed yearly (via Share the Pasta).

However, did you know that there are certain rules you should follow when pairing pasta, especially when it comes to pesto sauce? Hailing from the northern Italian region of Liguria, Delish notes that pesto sauce is made by using a mortar and pestle to combine basil, pine nuts, olive oil, garlic, and Parmigiano Reggiano. Super fresh and fragrant, pesto has become a staple sauce that's synonymous with Italian cuisine, making it the ideal addition to all sorts of recipes, including these Italian-inspired deviled eggs

In fact, Saveur notes that pesto is a way of life in Liguria, frequently being drizzled on fresh fish, added to vegetable stews, and spread on focaccia. However, the sauce is most beloved to dress pasta, in particular — but what shape reigns supreme?

Twisty gemelli can trap sauce better than other varieties

While pesto will be tasty with just about any pasta, some shapes work better to absorb and catch the herby, oily sauce. It's for this reason that Taste of Home dubs the twisted, double-helix-shaped gemelli as the perfect pasta pairing. 

If you don't happen to have a box of gemelli (the Italian word for "twins") on hand, Greatist shares that loosely curled casarecce, corkscrew-like fusilli, and twisted trofie (a Liguria classic) also work amazingly as their curves, grooves, and curls allow pesto to fill every crevice. Naturally, if more surface area is coated, that ensures every bite is full of flavor.

If you're looking for a way to step up your pasta and pesto game, why not make some changes to the traditional basil and pine nut pesto? For a creative take on the sauce, you can easily swap basil for different herbs like mint, parsley, or tarragon. Likewise, you can also switch up the nuts and replace them with walnuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, or almonds — doesn't that sound delicious?