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.
Do you ever think about matching pasta sauce to pasta shape?
(Image: The Geometry of Pasta)