Which gluten free pasta goes best with your sauce?
Choosing the right pasta shape to compliment your sauce makes a big difference to the success of your dish. The correct pasta shape gives contrasting textures, a great sauce to pasta ratio and the right surface area for your flavoursome sauce to cling, absorb or hide. Generally the larger shapes go best with thicker robust sauces, whilst the lighter, more delicate sauces go best with thinner shapes.
Long thin pasta such as spaghetti and linguine work well with light tomato, oil or cream based sauces where the sauce just needs to coat the strands. The sauces don’t weigh down the pasta and allow an easy twirl of the pasta on to the fork. Add fresh chopped herbs or small diced ingredients that are light enough to get caught up in the twirl. Try long thin pasta with a plain tomato sauce, avocado sauce and the light flavours of a marinara sauce. (Although you will have to use the fork to pick up the non-twirling seafood.) Australians also serve bolognese with spaghetti, however Italians would rarely do that.
Flat ribbons such as fettucine work best with rich meaty sauces like ragus and bolognese, or heavy cream sauces such as alfredo. The flatter surface enables this pasta to stand up to the weight of the sauce.
Tubes and shells are versatile shapes that carry sauces well in everything from summer salads to winter casseroles. Large ones such as penne and rigatoni are another option for the rich meaty sauces as well as hearty vegetable bakes. Smaller tubes like macaroni and ditalini are great in baked cheese dishes where their insides get flooded with the creamy cheese. They are also perfect for warming winter soups and pasta bakes.
Ravioli, gnocchi and stuffed pastas work best with oil or butter based sauces where all you need is a nice coating to compliment the flavour filled parcels. In many pasta dishes the main focus is the sauce, but with these pastas there is more focus on the carrier. A light oil, pesto or Pomodoro sauce best compliments your main focus of the dish.
Risoni is inspired by the shape of rice grains. This pasta is small and can be swamped by too much sauce, but is the perfect texture for soups and a great alternative to rice in many dishes. Try it as a stuffing for roasted capsicums or eggplants.
Specialty pastas such as lasagne sheets and cannelloni tubes are best suited to their original dishes; although of course there can be many variations. Both are amazing with hearty meat sauces or thick vegetable combinations, where the flavours are soaked up by the cooking pasta as they bake. Bellisimo!
There is no right or wrong in your kitchen. This is just a guide. If your pasta and sauce isn’t a traditional pairing because you are making do with what’s in your pantry, don’t fret. It’s not a problem. But if you really want to step your dishes up to the next level, try the suggested pairings. You will see the difference a good pasta and sauce pairing can make.
GF Pantry now has a large variety of pasta shapes to choose from, as well as a few delicious ready-made pasta sauces when you want the convenience of a store bought product. If you need some inspiration for homemade sauces, check out our delicious pasta sauce blog and whatever dish you make, just remember to enjoy it.