Yes, there is a reason that certain pastas go with certain sauces. Here is what does with what, and why.

  • Spaghetti = tomato based sauces. Other potential replacements are Linguini and angel hair.
  • Angel hair pasta = seafood sauces. Thinner, lighter noodles match the lightness of the sauce better than other noodles.
  • Fettuccine = light cream sauce, like Alfredo. You can use spaghetti as well, but fettuccine is your best bet.
  • Penne or tube shaped pastas = really meaty sauces. If you like a lot of meat in your sauces, go with Penne, or some kind of tube shaped pasta.
  • Corkscrew pastas like Rotini or Fusilli = pesto. The grooves hold the oil and herbs better than other pastas.

For most of the pairings, it comes down to what pastas hold the sauce best, and what matches the sauce best. Of course, you can experiment otherwise, but these are your best bets when it comes to pasta and sauce.