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How to Choose the Perfect Pasta for Your Meals

Think the type of pasta you use for your recipes is just an insignificant detail? Not true! Get the most out of your meals with these tips for combining the perfect pasta shape with the right sauce.

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1. Rigatoni

This tube-shaped and usually ridged pasta is ideal for dense, heavy, wetter sauces and for baked dishes.

Try it with this recipe: Rustic Broiled Vegetable and Rigatoni Salad

(Photo: iStockphoto/Thinkstock)

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2. Penne

Narrower than Rigatoni and cut at angle, Penne is perfect for lighter tomato-based sauces.

Try it with this recipe: Penne Puttanesca

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3. Fusilli

The pasta Kramer used on Seinfeld to build a small statue of his silly friend Jerry is also ideal for adding to luncheon salads.

Try it with this recipe: Turkey and Fusilli Salad

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4. Spaghetti

The most popular pasta in Canadian restaurants is also perfect for lighter sauces and oil-and-garlic combinations.

Try it with this recipe: Spaghetti with Oil and Garlic

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5. Farfalle

This ribbon-shaped pasta is a natural for seafood pastas in lighter, cream-based sauces.

Try it with this recipe: Farfalle with Smoked Salmon

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6. Pappardelle

This wide pasta is great with heavy ragus of lamb or duck.

Try it with this recipe: Pappardelle with Braised Rabbit, Lardons, and Peas

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7. Orecchiette

The Italian word for ear, ‘Orecchiette’ goes best with dryer pasta sauces, like broccoli rabe with sausage and oil.

Try it with this recipe: Orecchiette with Rapini

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8. Radiatore

This classic radiator-looking pasta is usually most delicious when paired with heavier, wetter sauces.

Try it with this recipe: Radiatore with Pesto

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9. Bucatini

These long, narrow tubes are perfect for hearty, drier sauces containing meat or ham.

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10. Capelli d’Angelo

Better known as ‘angel-hair pasta,’ this pasta is ideal in broth-based pasta sauces.

(Photo: iStockphoto/Thinkstock)