While they are very versatile, purists on the other hand will insist on certain sauces going with certain pasta shapes. There are however, something like 350 types of dried pasta in Italy, so it can feel like marching straight into a labyrinth.
The general rule of the thumb is that delicate and lightly accented sauces are best with thin pasta, as sauces slide easily over smooth pasta surfaces. Whereas rich, buttery and cheese based sauces, go particularly well with pastas with flat and thick surfaces. Pasta with many folds and ridges serve to capture chunky and meaty bits in the sauce.
Here we have roughly grouped five categories with their relevant sauce pairings.
The thing I adore most about travelling through Italy is that the pasta dishes are never the same from city to city, each region has its own specialities to tease my curious taste buds.
The bigoli buckwheat pasta is like a thicker version of spaghetti found in the Veneto region is paired wonderfully with seafood sauces such as creamed anchovies, Bigoli in Salsa. I must say, the version with squid ink accompanied with strips of grilled seppia cuttlefish was one of my favourite dishes in Venice.
Sinking your teeth into the signature lasagne Bolognesi is a must in its home town of Bologna. It’s through the wonderful balance of béchamel and expertly made ragu, would you truly understand why it’s such a favourite the world over.
Capellini, better known as angel hair pasta, is frequently used for baked pasta in this region or with the classic puttanesca “whore style” sauce - hearty chunks of tomato spiked with chilli flakes, anchovies, capers and black olives. Yum, whores can really cook over there.
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