Beef Ragu with Penne. Picture: Supplied

Choosing a pasta shape to suit the nature of your sauce can make a big difference to the dish. It’s important to pair the correct type of pasta with a particular type of sauce so that the sauce can bind to the pasta or allow the pasta to absorb the sauce dependent on its style.

We spoke with Chef Jackie Righi-Boyd from Dolci Cafe Dolci Café on how to pair pasta with sauces. 

Ravioli with Sage Butter Sauce. Picture: Supplied

Righi-Boyd said it’s important to pair the correct type of pasta with a particular type of sauce so that the sauce can bind to the pasta or allow the pasta to absorb the sauce dependent on its style.  

Different pasta shapes and styles add a good contrast in texture to the sauce being used. Using the incorrect pasta with your sauce can cause one or the other to get “lost” or “overwhelmed” in the dish. 

"Also, pairing the right pasta with the right sauce means you’ll get more per mouthful. When you have a pasta that doesn’t pair well with a sauce, the sauce might slide off, and you’ll end up eating pasta without the maximum amount of flavour. Adding the correct sauce to your pasta can take your dish to the next-level,” she said. 

“In general, you want to keep a few rules in mind. The most important thing is understanding that it’s all about the eating experience. That means taking into account how heavy the pasta is compared to your sauce and making sure the two are balanced. In general a big, thick, hearty pasta can stand up to big, thick, hearty sauces, whereas thinner and lighter pastas need to be treated with lighter style sauces and more finesse,” added Righi-Boyd. 

Pappardelle with Italian Meat Saucejpg. Picture: Supplied

Below is how Righi-Boyd suggests you pair pasta and sauces. 

Ravioli are best served with a butter and sage sauce - the reason being is you want to taste the filling inside and not overwhelm it with a rich or overpowering sauce.

Penne are best served with a ragu or Bolognese sauce – because of the lines or groves in the penne sauce can grip to the pasta if you use a smooth pasta sauce will slide right off. Also the sauce will fill the penne tubes.

A thick pasta like pappardelle is best served with a heavy meaty sauce the area of the pasta is large and you need a heavy sauce to stick to the surface.