Which type of pasta should I use for my meal?

When creating an authentic Italian pasta dish, it’s easy to focus just on the sauce and forget the foundation of your meal: the pasta itself. Pairing a sauce or soup recipe with the correct pasta isn’t just about tradition or preference. There are so hundreds of varieties of pasta out there, and each one has been developed for a purpose.

While there are countless varieties of pasta made from different ingredients and for different dietary requirements – such as egg, pulses, wholemeal and gluten free – today we’re looking at which pasta shape we recommend for your meals!


Common pasta types you love

The typical pasta that you’ll see served for dinner in Australia are variants of spaghetti and penne – long and thin pasta or medium sized tubes. You may sometimes see a thicker fettuccine or fusilli spirals hit the table, but often this is simply because it’s a favourite of someone in the family.

These forms are so popular because of their simplicity and because they’re so easy to find in supermarkets. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the beloved spaghetti or penne, but why not be a bit more adventurous with your choice?


Uncommon pasta types to try

You can make your family’s favourite home-cooked pasta dish even more special by trying a type of pasta that you’ve never used before. Swap your spaghetti in a heavier sauce for the distinct texture of Rome’s favourite pasta, bucatini – a thicker variety that’s hollowed out on the inside. With a lighter sauce, try mafaldine instead – a flat style that has delicately ruffled edges.

Instead of your typical “spiral” fusilli pasta with a pesto sauce, give strozzapreti a go. It fills a similar role in the dish – allowing the oil to cling to the grooves – but the “braid” gives a completely different mouth-feel.


Best pasta for your sauce

Did you know that you can make your favourite bolognese sauce even better by swapping out the spaghetti accompaniment? A thick and heavy ragu – like bolognese – is better served with thick ribbons of pappardelle or with large tubes, like elicoladi. Thin strings pair much better with cream-based or lighter sauces.


For seafood or creamy sauces…

Go with everybody’s favourite long and thin pastas: spaghetti or linguine, or fettucce. These are lighter flavours, so always put them alongside delicate pasta.

For oil-based or pesto sauces…

Use a twist or twirled pasta, like fusilli or trofie, to trap the oily sauce in between the grooves. Because tortelloni or ravioli have their own flavours, simple butter or oil sauces are also the right accompaniment – rather than a robust red sauce.

For meaty or hearty vegetable sauces…

Stick with thicker ribbon pasta – like tagliatelle, fettuccine or pappardelle – for a bold sauce. If you prefer, you can try pairing with large tube paccheri or lumaconi shells for some variety. These styles also work great with bakes!


Best pasta for your soup or salad

For soups and stews or dishes without a sauce, like salad – where the pasta isn’t one of the main components of the meal – you want to use smaller varieties that you can scoop up easily with a spoon.

Ditali is perfect for classic soups, like minestrone. Lumache shells ladle up a delicious stew with each mouthful, and risoni can turn any salad into something unique.


Choose authentic first

No matter what you choose to accompany your favourite home-cooked meal, you should always use the most authentic pasta that you can find. Visco has supplied restaurants that specialise in Italian and European cuisine with genuine, quality ingredients for over 20 years. See our full pasta range here.

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