So many shapes, so many choices. We encourage getting creative with any type that catches your eye, but everyone tends to gravitate toward one type over another, restocking the pantry with the same old shapes. For most people, Italian pastas feel interchangeable: fresh, homemade marinara sauce tastes just as delicious atop penne as piled on linguine. But traditional Italian cooking holds a method to the unending list of noodles.
Each pasta’s form and texture play a bigger part in sauce pairings, thick or thin, warm or cold. Sturdier noodles stand up to heavy cream-based and meat sauces while more delicate types compliment oil-based entrées. And of course, a few of our favourites play well with nearly any “gravy” out there. We’ve provided a run-through of accessible noodle-sauce pairings for pasta dinners that satisfy everyone around the table.