When you make as much pasta as we do, you learn that certain noodles go best with traditional sauces. In fact, different noodles were designed for different sauces. Sometimes you want fresh noodles. Sometimes you want dry noodles. Long, thick noodles are best for hardy sauces. Thin, dried noodles go great with olive-oil based sauces. And short, craggy shapes are perfect for chunky sauces. Shapes such as orecchiette are ideal for carrying bits of sausage and greens from the plate to your mouth.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t experiment. Knowing your noodles—and the other ingredients in your pantry—is the first step to cooking a ...