A beginner’s guide to perfect pasta and sauce pairings

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Our general philosophy about food is that what matters most is how you personally enjoy having it. So whatever sauce you enjoy with whichever pasta is the right way to have it. However, there is the possibility that you might be missing out on the full experience that different types of pastas have to offer.


There are two things to consider when making your meal: shape of the pasta and consistency of the sauce. Some pastas work best with lighter sauces, while others are made to stand up to heavy, hearty ones. Matching the right shape with the right sauce results in even distribution, so each bite offers the maximum level of flavor and texture.

Spaghetti, Angel Hair and Other Long, Thin Pastas

Long, thin pastas like angel hair and spaghetti go best with thinner, light sauces that can quickly and easily coat each strand in flavor. Think a quick toss in some butter, olive oil and garlic or a light marinara before serving alongside seafood or chicken parmesan.

Ribbons Like Fettuccine and Pappardelle

Ribbons of pappardelle stand up to a robust Bolognese sauce for a match made in heaven, and there’s a reason fettuccine alfredo is such a popular pairing. These pastas can take a heartier, heavier sauce.

Rotini and Other Corkscrew Pastas

Fusilli and rotini are examples of pastas that really soak up flavor in between their spiraling layers. Pestos and other vegetable-based sauces will shine with every bite. This is also a perfect chance to try out flavored oils that will coat every curve.

Stuffed Pastas

Okay, we know there is almost nothing better than a plate of ravioli with your mama’s marinara. But if you want your stuffed ravioli or tortellini to really shine, try keeping it simple with butter or oil and a little parmesan cheese on top. Heavier, more robust sauces tend to compete with what’s inside, while butter and oil enhance the flavor.

Pastas Best Reserved for Soups

Ditalini, orzo and other short cut pastas are perfect additions to broth-based dishes. These small pastas can get lost in a sea of sauce, but they add heft and texture to soups.

Short and Tubed

Baked ziti is a popular dish made with this versatile style of pasta, but its cousin rigatoni has ridges made for absorbing sauce. Short tubed pasta can handle a thick cream sauce and go well with vegetables in a pasta salad.


Don’t feel bad if you don’t remember all that — we actually recommend you not take our word for it. One of the joys of eating is discovering what you do and do not like. So have some fun on your own or with your family figuring out what your favorite pasta and sauce pairings are.



Pro tip: If you really want to soak up the sauce, try Doris’ Own Bronze Dye Pasta. The bronze dye creates a rough, textured surface that allows the sauce to cling to every inch.

One thought on “A beginner’s guide to perfect pasta and sauce pairings

  1. Doris’ is great store to shop for all of my groceries. Their prices are very fair and superior to other specialty stores and Publix. During the shutdown, they had an abundance of paper towels, toilet paper, wipes, etc. Doris also always had seafood, a fully stocked Butcher, and lots of Italian specialty items.

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