Italians are world leaders in pasta. Every Italian has their favourite dish. But beyond some basic guidelines, not everyone knows that certain combinations go best with certain types of sauce and not with others. And there are precise rules for matching them.
In pasta, the shape is key. There are over 600 pasta shapes. Different shapes have different behaviours in cooking and a different yield on the palate, both in terms of taste and consistency. One element, even if small, changes everything: curvature of shape, the fragrance of the sauce, timing and baking methods (classic, stuffed in pan or risotto), even the way to serve it in the dish.
There are four factors to take into account: the cooking method, the size, the ability to contain sauces and the intensity of the taste. Depending on the shape (striped, smooth, thick or thin), the taste experience is different.
Generally, the more delicate shapes (such as farfalle) are better matched with light and fresh sauces. The more structured shapes (tortiglioni or bucatini), pair best with robust sauces, meat sauces or amatriciana. Larger shapes, such as penne, are ideal for sauces that combine elegance and texture. While spaghetti is more of an everyday and versatile pasta, suitable for quick and practical sauces but also great for carbonara. Pasta with a porous or striped surface better captures thin sauces, while a textured, more smooth pasta is perfect with thicker sauces. The width of tagliatelle and pappardelle tends to “spread” on the tongue and therefore calls for an especially hearty sauce, while seashells collect light sauces inside them in perfection like a tiny bowl.
Long and skinny: Vermicelli, spaghetti, linguine – tomato, cream or oil based and light seafood sauces
Long ribbons: lasagne, fettuccine, tagliatelle – rich meat sauces, creamy sauces
Mini shapes: anelli, alphabet pasta, farfalle, rocchetti, tripolini, radiatori – soups, stews, pasta salads and casseroles
Twists: fusilli, rotini, campanelle – lighter, smoother sauces such as pesto Shells – conchiglie, pipe rigate – heavy cream or meat sauces
Tubes: penne, elbow macaroni, bucatini, tortiglioni, manicotti – hearty vegetable sauces, ragu, Bolognese
Filled pasta: tortellini, ravioli – light butter or oil sauce
Pair the right sauce with each and you are destined to get a perfect pasta dish.
One pot Pasta Joy Alfredo
The Italian Alfredo is a firm favourite of South Africans. We hope you enjoy serving our version as a lunch or dinner meal.
1 tablespoon olive oil; 2 chicken breasts, cubed; 3 cloves garlic cloves, minced
500 ml water; 1 stock cube; 1 cup fresh cream; 500g Pasta Joy pasta, uncooked. We used Penne. 1 ½ cups grated parmesan cheese; 1 ½ teaspoon Salt
½ teaspoon Pepper; parsley, optional, for garnish
In a pot, heat the oil and brown the chicken.
Add garlic, and sauté for about a minute.
Add stock, cream, and Pasta Joy pasta, and bring to a boil.
Cover and reduce the heat to a simmer for 15-20 min.
Turn off heat and stir in parmesan cheese.
Top with parsley if desired.
Pasta Joy Summer Salad
Our Pasta Joy summer salad is a must for all family celebration meals
500g Pasta Joy macaroni; 1 tin baked beans; 2 tablespoons green pepper
2 tablespoons red pepper; 3/4- 1 cup mayonnaise; 1 heaped teaspoon crushed green/red Chilli; Salt and crushed black pepper to taste
Cook pasta for 7-9 minutes.
Lightly wash baked beans (Don’t wash all the tomato sauce off).
Finely chop the peppers.
Combine all the ingredients together in a bowl.
Serve at room temperature.