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How to Make Pasta

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The possible combinations of pasta and sauce -- there are more than 150 shapes of dried pasta alone -- are limitless and may even be a little intimidating. Long or short, smooth or ridged, thick or thin, with or without curves and crevices, different shapes of pasta capture and absorb sauce differently. Matched correctly, the right shape can make a good sauce great. Use the wrong shape and the dish may still taste good, but it just won't come together as well. The basic rules are simple: The flatter and longer shapes combine well with olive oil and cream sauces; sturdier shapes work well with chunkier and more assertively flavored sauces. Classic marinara and simple cream and butter sauces go well with basically all pasta.

How to cook each type of pasta in order to create that al dente texture can be a bit tricky. Take a look at the next section for tips.

Want more information? Try these:

  • Cooking: Learn the ins and outs of some basic cooking techniques in this helpful article.