Which raises an interesting question…

Which sauces go with what pastas? That there, my friend, is what you call your can of worms. A question that’ll start a fist fight in any trattoria this side of Brindisi. And in fact selecting accompaniments to different shapes of pasta is more an art than a science. The best maxim I’ve ever heard on the subject holds that flat, long pastas (of the kind that are typically made with eggs and by Italians in their own homes) are best eaten plain, or with very simple accompaniments and/or sauces. Small “shaped” pastas (penne, rigatoni, rotini and things of that nature) that are typically made without eggs and are acquired in stores in dried form, are best eaten with other things (vegetables, seafoods, and elaborate sauces).

I like that rule, though I’ve heard others. For instance, that the narrower the pasta the finer the accompaniments should be. Minced vegetables with angel hair, peas and pieces of bacon with fettucine, shrimp with fat ribbons like pappardelle, etc. That one I’m not so sure about, since bigger items like shrimp can work pretty well with fine pasta like angel hair. As I said though I’m not an expert, so if anyone with some real knowledge would like to weigh in, by all means do.

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