The Best Type Of Pasta To Pair With Hearty Sauces And Toppings

The variety of pasta options you can find in the grocery store can seem pretty daunting while keeping the names straight can be downright confusing. It's no wonder that so many people reach for a random box when planning to whip up a pasta dish, regardless of whether or not the shape suits the sauce.

However, as Delish explains, pasta isn't a one-size-fits-all ingredient. Different styles and shapes are better suited to different dishes and sauces. Learning the correct way to use pasta makes the most of your sauces and helps distribute toppings more evenly, ensuring you get a perfect bite every time. Allrecipes notes that long, thin pasta like spaghetti and fettuccine works best with lighter, thinner sauces while smaller pasta, like ditali, are perfect for soups — and you may already know that pasta with holes and crevices, like shells or elbow macaroni, are ideal for mac and cheese.

What pasta works best for hearty sauces?

Olive Magazine explains that generally, you should pair thinner, lighter sauces with thinner spaghetti, and thicker, heavier pasta with thicker sauces. Simple, right? Just make sure that the flavors don't clash if you're serving pasta with a filling, like ravioli, which is traditionally paired with light broths.

However, if you're looking for specific suggestions, Taste of Home recommends using rigatoni (a larger, stockier cousin of penne) for thicker sauces. Delighted Cooking also explains that rigatoni is excellent for baked dishes like casseroles since its large size holds up well, whereas a delicate pasta like angel hair might fall apart.

Bon Appetit suggests using shapes that are short and meant to be stabbed with a fork — like bow ties, ziti, or penne — for thicker, chunkier sauces. That way, you can stab both the pasta and larger chunks of meat and vegetables together. Ultimately, though, the best style of pasta is the one that works for you and your personal tastes. That said, don't get stuck in your spaghetti ways — keep an open mind, experiment, and try new shapes.