Shapes and Their Uses

Pasta is made in hundreds of shapes and sizes. Each shape is appropriate for different preparations because of the way different kinds of sauce cling to them or the way their textures complement the texture of the topping.The illustration shows some of the most popular kinds.Table 19.2 describes the most common shapes and gives suggestions for use.

Remember that fresh egg pasta and factory-made spaghetti and macaroni are different products. It makes no sense to say that one type is better than the other. Italian cooks use fresh and dried pasta in different ways,with different recipes for each type. Factory pasta has a chewy, robust texture, good with robust sauces, while fresh egg pasta is tender and more delicate. Fresh egg pasta absorbs sauces more deeply than factory macaroni products. In general, factory-made pasta is ideal for olive oil-based sauces, and fresh homemade pasta is better with butter or cream-based sauces.

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