As my Italian roommate reminds me at every possible opportunity, knowing what sauce goes best with pasta can make or break your Friday night dinner. Since its creation in ancient China, the Italian staple has remained wildly popular around the world. By some estimates, the average United States citizen consumes more than 19 pounds of pasta every year — although we have nothing on the Italians, who pack away as many as 57 pounds on average. Is it any wonder that the United States dedicated a national holiday to pasta?
Pasta's wide appeal could be said to come from a variety of factors: its versatility, reputation as a comfort food, and, of course, the easy preparation. Pasta itself is ridiculously simple to make, even for someone who uses their kitchen so infrequently that the stove top is more of a storage space for Tupperware than anything else. (That person is me.) The hard part comes from choosing what goes with your delicious, carb-y noodles. Are you in the mood for red sauce? A bold pesto? What about alfredo? Or perhaps the decision is made for you, because all you have in your pantry is olive oil and garlic anyway. (No shame — olive oil and garlic is delicious.)
Most of us pick a sauce based on what we're in the mood for, and what we have in our kitchen at the time. According to Fix.com, however, this method does the pasta, and your taste buds, a disservice. Although pasta shapes might seem arbitrary, they actually serve a purpose, because different shapes hold different sauces better than others. Shell-shaped or tubular pasta, for instance, is ideal for heavy or chunky sauces, so you can "catch" the sauce in the cup. Long, skinny pasta like spaghetti goes well with lighter fare such as seafood or oil-based sauces.
Considering there are approximately 350 kinds of pasta out there, this could be overwhelming. Luckily, Fix.com has created an infographic that lays out suggestions for what sauce to use with your pasta. You don't have to follow their advice, of course — the wonderful thing about noodles is that they taste delicious no matter what you put on them. But if you feel like upping your pasta game, it's a great place to start. Bon appétit!
Images: Pexels; Fix.com; Giphy