How To Pair Your Pasta with the Right Sauce

How To Pair Your Pasta with the Right Sauce
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How To Pair Your Pasta with the Right Sauce

Read on to learn about pairing pasta with the right sauce.


Delicate pasta should be served with chicken broth (substitute pastina for egg noodles in this recipe) or a light sauce, like this Lemony Orzo.

Get the Recipe: Chicken Noodle Soup


Pasta with bite, such as orecchiette, stands up to hefty ingredients like this mixture of broccoli rabe and tomatoes. The test kitchen also recommends Cavatelli with Beets and Swiss Chard.

Get the Recipe: Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Tomatoes


Textured shapes, like fusilli and penne, can hold a dense sauce in their nooks and crannies. Try them with pesto, like this spinach version or our Mint and Parsley Pesto.

Get the Recipe: Spinach Pesto Fusilli


Rigatoni and other tubular shapes, such as shells, are perfect vessels for robust sauces, such as this Bolognese. Or try this delicious recipe: Pasta with Chickpea-Tomato Sauce.

Get the Recipe: Fresh Rigatoni with Bolognese Sauce


Pair long noodles with plenty of surface area, like spaghetti or bucatini, with smooth, rich sauces such as this classic carbonara or tomato-based Amatriciana.


We all need balance, especially when it comes to pasta. Serving thick tubes of rigatoni with a light lemon sauce is like wearing a sundress on a cold day in January. Your pasta shape and sauce should share at least one of these attributes: weight, texture, and toothsomeness. Read on for our test-kitchen's favorite pairings.

Check out the slideshow above to learn how to pair your pasta with the right sauce.

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