Does Pasta Shape Matter?

No matter the shape or size, it’s no secret that all kinds of pasta taste delicious. However, there are a few tricks to make your dishes pop with texture and taste. 

Pairing the right sauce with the right pasta shape can heighten the flavour and deliciousness of both the pasta AND the sauce! But with so many different pasta types — from flat noodles to intricate twists to delicate shells — how do you know which shape goes with which sauce? 

Read on to get the full scoop about how to pair your different pasta types and sauces — and level up your cooking!

Once you have your fill of inspiration head over and check out our pasta made from 100% yellow peas only.


Twisted pasta shapes such as rotini and fusilli work wonderfully with heavier, more textured sauces, like pesto, bolognese, or those with ground meat or finely chopped vegetables. Because these kinds of pasta’s small spaces trap the texture of the sauce, you’ll get the perfect bite filled with delicious bursts of flavour.

Try it yourself with thisZENB Creamy Avocado Fusilli.


Textured tubular pasta, such as penne rigate (ridged penne) and rigatoni, matches perfectly with super smooth, finely blended sauces. The ridges cling to the liquid much better than other shapes and can be utilized best with vodka, alfredo, or marinara sauce.

Don’t be afraid to throw them in a pasta casserole, as well! The ridges stand up well to baking and can provide a scrumptious starch to any baked dish.

Try classics like ZENB Penne Pasta Alla Vodka or our Spinach & Basil Penne.


Smaller pasta such as orzo or elbows goes best in soups, stews, or any recipe with extra sauce or liquid. Unlike longer pastas which break down quickly in surplus liquid and heat, smaller pasta shapes keep their shape. 

Smaller shapes also soak up the broth as they cook, and impart starch back into the cooking liquid while they do, which gives the dish a thicker consistency and more delectable bites. Whether these kinds of pasta are in a traditional Italian soup or an extra gooey macaroni and cheese, small pasta shapes can have a big impact.

Why not put the theory to the test with our Minestrone Soup Recipe.

Of course, if you think a pasta and sauce pairing is delicious, then it is! Whatever different pasta types you have on hand will certainly carry any sauce. However, if you want to step up your ranking as a home cook and create restaurant-quality combos that impress and delight the senses, then: Yes, pasta shape really does matter. For recipes to inspire, browse ZENB Pasta recipes to find the shape for you!

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