Take A Lesson In Pasta Shapes And Which Sauces To Pair Them With

There are many pasta-bilities when it comes to pasta. Italy’s long-standing tryst with pasta has given the world over 600 types! It’s hard to keep up with all the shapes, the provinces they come from and mainly, what sauce to cook them in and hence, we’ve put together a pasta guide to make pasta-shopping easier and a lot more fun.

1. Penne

Originated in Liguria
Did you know that penne is iconic enough to have an official birthday? It was created by a pasta maker named Giovanni Battista Capurro, near Genoa, on March 11, 1865. Years later, this smooth, tubular pasta continues to be one of the most popular shapes in the world, enjoyed by children and adults alike. Come to think of it — doesn’t every ‘kid’s menu’ list the penne arrabiatta?

Pair It With: Thick, creamy tomato, cheese and/or meat sauces

2. Spaghetti

Originated in Sicily
This long, thin, noodle-like pasta is yet another popular Italian offering. While it’s believed to have originated in the region of Sicily, some say that it was brought here by Marco Polo, upon his return from China. Regardless of its true origins, spaghetti is one Italian food product that went on to achieve cult-status in America, where an abundance of meat and canned tomatoes led to the creation of the infamous ‘spaghetti and meatballs’.

Pair It With: Meat and vegetable dishes or with some garlic and oil

3. Orecchiette 

Originated in Puglia
Orecchiette, when literally translated, means ‘little ears’. This round, concave pasta is actually considered to be challenging to make and is a skill that’s mastered only with patience, time and practice. If you settle down to trace its origins, you will be surprised to know that this pasta goes all the way back to the 12th and 13th centuries.

Pair It With: Broccoli Rabe, tomato sauces or chunky meat sauces

4. Tortellini

Originated near Bologna & Modena
Enjoy old legends? Read this: it is said that this ring-shaped pasta, traditionally stuffed with meat or cheese, was invented by an innkeeper, in a town somewhere between Bologna and Modena. When the Roman Goddess Venus checked into this inn, the innkeeper caught a glimpse of her navel and rushed to the kitchen to create this belly-button shaped pasta that we all know as tortellini.

Pair It With: A light chicken or tomato broth or a butter garlic sauce

5. Farfalle

Originated in Emilia-Romagna
Farfalle, which actually means ‘butterflies’, is a pretty, bow-shaped pasta that comes in different sizes. In fact, this kind of pasta can now also be found in different colours, at different stores. Think green (made from spinach), red (made from beetroot) and in some cases black (made from squid or cuttle fish ink).

Pair It With: A cream and tomato sauce or a cold salad

6. Fusilli

Originated in Southern Italy
Traditionally, fusilli pasta is created by rolling fresh spaghetti around a rod and letting it dry. This curly, corkscrew-shaped pasta is great for holding onto all kinds of sauces, thanks to its handy little grooves.

Pair It With: Tomato sauces, chunky meat sauces, lemon & olive oil sauces

7. Pappardelle

Originated in Tuscany
This pasta variety is shaped like a long, flat and broad ribbon. It’s considered to be the best variety to start with if you’re toying with the idea of pasta-making. Typically prepared with an egg-based dough, pappardelle is used to prepare a variety of dishes traditional to Tuscany, such as the Pappardelle Alla Lepre and is most often served with rich, hearty sauces.

Pair It With: Ragu or any meat-based sauces

8. Tagliatelle

Originate in Emilia-Romagna
A wide, flat, ribbon-shaped pasta, the tagliatelle was actually a celebratory pasta, meant to be served on special occasions. In fact, a solid gold replica of this pasta sits inside the Bologna Chamber of Commerce, depicting the right width of this pasta, when cooked. Now, the tagliatelle is widely served in trattorias all over Italy and even across the world.

Pair It With: A classic Bolognese sauce

We’ll be back with another lesson in pasta shapes and the best sauces to stir them in. In the meantime, take a look at our range of Dips & Sauces and get stirring. You can try our All-Purpose Tomato Sauce, Blush Pink Sauce, Truffled Mushroom Sauce or even our Basil Seed Pesto or Sun-dried Tomato Pesto to cook many of these pastas. Order your favourites and get cooking!

Follow us on Instagram @sorrentina_honestlyitalian to learn more about the Italian cuisine.

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