There are no rules to matching your favorite sauces with your favorite type of pasta. However, traditionally in Italy some regional dishes are always made with the same pasta noodle.
For example, Penne all’Arrabiata and fettuccine all’ Alfredo are classic Roman recipes and it is rare to see them served with anything other than the named pasta. The same applies to Tagliatelle alla Bolognaise. These classics are few and far between however and with the ever-increasing number of different shapes on the market it may seem difficult to know which sauces and shapes go together. Here are some basic guidelines to help you make the most of your pasta and sauce combinations. Heavy sauces with large chunks of meat are usually served with wide noodles like macaroni and tagliatelle or with penne and fusili.In the south of Italy, olive oil based sauces are used for pastas like spaghetti and vermicelli. These long thin shapes are traditionally served with tomato and seafood sauces, most of which are made with generous amounts of olive oil. So spaghetti and vermicelli are ideal for basic sauces such as Aglio e Olio (garlic and olive oil). Although grated cheese is not normally used in these sauces, it can never hurt to add some to your recipe. Northern parts of Italy are partial to sauces made with butter and cream, like your traditional Alfredo sauce, which go well with the egg pasta that is made there. Butter and cream also go well with tomato sauces when these are served with the short shaped pastas like farfalle and fusilli. Grated parmesan cheese is often tossed with pasta at the last minute as well as being sprinkled over the pasta just before serving.