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Matching Pastas and Sauces

Cooking tips for the caring cook.

Pasta Sauce


When matching pastas to sauces, the following guidelines may be helpful:

  • Long and thin pasta, such as angel hair, thin spaghetti, vermicelli and capellini, pair well with oil-based sauces and light, thin broth and tomato sauces. Long and wide pasta, including fettuccine, spaghetti and linguine, work well with light cream sauces, Alfredo sauce and light tomato sauces.
  • Short and chunky pasta like rigatoni, manicotti, ziti, penne and farfalle are excellent in casseroles or salads or paired with chunky sauces, meat sauces or primaveras. Tiny pasta, such as orzo and small shells, are perfect in soups, stews and salads.

Extra: Quick Sauce-Free Two Cheese Pasta

Healthy pasta sauces can really keep fat down in pasta dishes, but sometimes you just want a creamy pasta dish, which usually means dairy products. Try this quick recipe, which greatly minimizes fat, yet still leaves you with a creamy, satisfying pasta dish..

Cook ten-ounces of rotini (twists) according to directions except add 2-cups frozen loose-pack cauliflower, broccoli and carrots the last five minutes of cooking; drain. Into the hot saucepan, combine 1-cup 1 percent milk, 3-ounces reduced-fat cream cheese and 1/4-teaspoon black pepper. Cook and stir on low until cream cheese melts. Return pasta and vegetable mixture to pan. Toss to coat with cream cheese mixture. Stir in 1/2-cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese if desired, or use prepared, fat free Parmesan.

Serving Suggestions: Pairs nicely with garlic bread and a mixed salad.

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