When cooking with pasta, it’s important to consider the details – sauces, spices, and cooking and preparation time. Using a certain kind of pasta can make or break your dish, because each pasta has a unique thickness, length, shape, and cut. It’s important to think about how your pasta’s characteristics will interact with the ingredients you choose and consider how much time you want to spend cooking. Pasta is a relatively simple ingredient to cook with, but there are still a lot of factors that go into choosing what type of pasta is best for your dish.
Pasta can be dry or fresh. Dry pasta is tough, has a firm texture, and is perfect for dishes with flavorful sauces. Fresh pasta, on the other hand, is more delicate and best served with light sauces. Pasta can also be classified as long form pasta versus short form pasta. An easy way to remember which is which is that long form pasta can be twisted around your fork, whereas short form pasta can usually be picked up with a fork without any twisting. Long form pasta like spaghetti and linguine goes well with seafood sauces, creamy sauces, and oil-based sauces. Ribbon pasta, which is a type of long form pasta, is compatible with rich, meaty sauces.
Short form pasta comes in three categories: shaped, stuffed, and tubular. Shaped pasta includes farfalle and rotelle and is best paired with light, smooth sauces. Stuffed pasta like ravioli or tortellini should be served with light butter or cream sauce, and tubular pasta like rigatoni is great with vegetable sauces or baked cheese.
As this may seem like a lot of information, Personal Creations made it easy with a simple infographic detailing the types of pasta, the sauces they go best with, and their ideal cook times. Keep this list nearby and you’ll soon be the pasta expert!