I don't often stop and admire the pasta shapes on my dinner plate, but I am inspired to change my ways by The Geometry of Pasta, a book that examines the many shapes and sizes of pasta, and offers some recommendations on which sauces pair best with certain shapes. Did you know there is a reason why you might use ruffle-edged lasagne noodles instead of flat-edged?The book explains that lasagne ricci, the ruffly noodles, may allow lighter sauces to penetrate the dish better. (It is also more decorative, which may be why it is a staple of the Christmas table all over Sicily.) The shape of gomiti, or elbow pasta, acts as both a cup and a tube, so it is best served with chunky, oily or heavy sauces. And the design of corzetti, the beautiful coin-shaped pasta pictured above, is not just decorative, but also functional; the embossed design allows oily sauces like walnut pesto to cling to the noodle.
The website for the book gives a sneak peek of some of the stories behind our favorite pasta shapes, as well as recipes for the best accompanying sauces.
Anjali is a former private chef who is currently pursuing a graduate degree in nutrition, with plans to become a registered dietitian. She lives in Los Angeles. You can read more of her health-focused writing at Eat Your Greens.
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