Wondering what the best pasta for pesto is?
Look no further!
I’ve rounded up 14 of my favorite types of pasta that pair perfectly with this classic Italian sauce.
From bow ties and fusilli to strozzapreti and creative shapes like shells and wheels, these noodles will cook quickly and won’t get too mushy.
Pesto recipes can vary widely, ranging from basils grown in southern Italy to vegan versions using arugula or spinach.
No matter which one you prefer, you need a great pasta to make your dish complete.
These 14 kinds of pasta will help ensure that your pesto-based dinner stands out among any crowd.
With vibrant colors, delicious flavors, and toothsome textures all in one bowl, everyone will be asking for seconds!
Why Pair Pesto And Pasta?
Pesto and pasta are a classic combination for good reason.
Pesto is a sauce made from fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, olive oil and salt.
It has a bright flavor that pairs perfectly with the neutral taste of cooked pasta.
The pesto coats the noodles evenly and adds an extra layer of flavor to each bite.
The texture of pesto also works well with pasta because it’s thick enough to cling to the noodles without being too heavy or overpowering.
This makes it ideal for dishes like spaghetti or fettuccine alfredo where you want something creamy but not overly rich.
The pesto also helps keep the noodles from sticking together so they stay separate when served.
Finally, pesto is incredibly versatile and can be used in many different types of dishes beyond just pasta.
You can use it as a spread on sandwiches or toast, as a dip for vegetables or chips, or even as an ingredient in soups and stews for added flavor and color.
14 Best Types of Pasta For Pesto
Pesto is one of the most versatile sauces out there.
It can be used to dress up a variety of different pastas, from penne and fusilli to rigatoni and farfalle.
If you’re looking for the perfect pasta to pair with your pesto sauce, here are 14 types that will do the job:
Fusilli is a type of pasta that is shaped like a corkscrew or spiral.
It’s made from durum wheat semolina and can be found in both short and long varieties.
Fusilli has ridges on the outside which helps it to hold sauces better than other types of pasta, making it an ideal choice for pesto dishes.
Fusilli is great for absorbing flavors, so it pairs well with creamy sauces like pesto.
The ridges also help the sauce cling to the pasta, creating a delicious combination of textures in each bite.
Try adding some roasted vegetables or grilled chicken to your fusilli dish for extra flavor!
Bucatini is a type of pasta that is long and thick, with a hole running through the center.
It’s similar to spaghetti, but it has a hollow center which makes it perfect for holding sauces.
Bucatini originated in Italy and is often used in Italian cuisine.
Bucatini pairs perfectly with pesto sauce because its hollow center allows the sauce to cling to each strand of pasta.
The nutty flavor of the pesto complements the mild taste of bucatini, creating an incredibly flavorful dish.
Plus, the texture contrast between creamy pesto and al dente bucatini adds another layer of deliciousness!
Pro Tip: To make your bucatini even more delicious, try adding some fresh herbs like basil or parsley to your pesto before tossing it with the cooked pasta!
Capellini is a type of Italian pasta that is very thin and delicate.
It’s also known as angel hair pasta because of its fine strands.
Capellini has a mild flavor, making it the perfect base for pesto sauces or light tomato-based sauces.
Capellini cooks quickly, usually in about two minutes, so it’s great for weeknight meals when you don’t have much time to cook.
The thin strands also make it easy to twirl around your fork and scoop up all the delicious sauce!
Pro Tip: To keep your capellini from sticking together after cooking, add a tablespoon of olive oil to the boiling water before adding the pasta.
This will help separate each strand and prevent them from clumping together!
Spaghettini is a type of pasta that is thinner than spaghetti, but thicker than capellini.
It has a cylindrical shape and can be served with a variety of sauces, from pesto to marinara.
Spaghettini is the perfect choice for pesto because its thin strands allow the sauce to coat each piece evenly.
The texture of spaghettini also helps it hold onto the sauce better than other types of pasta.
Plus, its delicate flavor won’t overpower the taste of your favorite pesto recipe!
Pro Tip: To make sure your spaghettini doesn’t stick together when cooking, add some olive oil or butter to the boiling water before adding in your noodles.
This will help keep them separate and prevent clumping!
Fettuccine is a type of pasta that originated in Italy.
It is made from egg and flour, and has a flat, ribbon-like shape.
Fettuccine can be served with a variety of sauces, but it is most commonly paired with pesto sauce.
Pesto and fettuccine are a classic combination for good reason: the creamy texture of the pesto pairs perfectly with the thick noodles.
The nutty flavor of the pesto complements the mild flavor of the fettuccine, creating an incredibly flavorful dish.
Pro Tip: To make this dish even more delicious, try adding some freshly grated Parmesan cheese or toasted pine nuts on top!
Linguine is a type of pasta that is similar to spaghetti, but it has a flat shape.
It originated in the Liguria region of Italy and is traditionally served with pesto sauce.
Linguine‘s long, thin shape makes it perfect for twirling around your fork and scooping up sauces like pesto.
The flat surface also allows the sauce to cling better than round pastas like spaghetti or penne.
Plus, its slightly chewy texture stands up well to heavier sauces like pesto without becoming too soft or mushy.
Pro Tip: To make sure your linguine doesn’t stick together when cooking, add a teaspoon of olive oil to the boiling water before adding the pasta!
Farfalle is a type of pasta that is shaped like bow ties or butterflies.
It is also known as ‘bow-tie’ or ‘butterfly’ pasta.
Farfalle has a unique shape and texture that makes it perfect for pairing with pesto sauce.
Farfalle can be used in many different dishes, from salads to soups to main courses.
Its unique shape helps it hold onto sauces better than other types of pasta, making it ideal for pesto dishes.
The ridges on the surface of farfalle also help trap bits of herbs and vegetables, giving each bite more flavor and texture.
Pro Tip: To make your farfalle dish even more flavorful, try adding some roasted garlic or sun-dried tomatoes to the mix!
These ingredients will add an extra layer of flavor that will really bring out the best in your pesto dish.
Trofie is a type of pasta originating from the Liguria region of Italy.
It is made with durum wheat flour, water and salt.
The dough is rolled into small pieces that are twisted into a spiral shape. Trofie can be served with pesto, vegetables, or seafood sauces.
Trofie has an interesting texture – it’s firm but still tender when cooked properly.
It also absorbs flavors well, making it the perfect accompaniment to pesto sauce.
The combination of the nutty flavor from the pesto and the slightly chewy texture of trofie makes for a delicious meal!
Pro Tip: To make sure your trofie doesn’t stick together while cooking, add some olive oil to the boiling water before adding in your pasta!
This will help keep them separate and ensure they cook evenly.
Tortiglioni is a type of pasta that is similar to rigatoni, but with ridges on the outside and a hollow center.
It’s usually served with thicker sauces like pesto or Bolognese.
Tortiglioni has a unique shape that helps it hold onto sauce better than other types of pasta.
The ridges also help give it an interesting texture when cooked al dente.
Its hollow center also allows for more sauce to be absorbed into the pasta, making it even more flavorful!
Orecchiette is a type of pasta that originated in the Puglia region of Italy.
The name comes from the Italian word for ‘ear’, as the shape resembles a small ear.
Orecchiette are usually served with vegetables, cheese, and sauces like pesto or tomato sauce.
Orecchiette has a unique texture that holds onto sauces well, making it perfect for dishes like pesto.
It’s also great for absorbing flavors from other ingredients like garlic and herbs.
Plus, its small size makes it easy to eat!
Pro Tip: To make orecchiette even more delicious when served with pesto, try adding some fresh cherry tomatoes or olives to give it an extra burst of flavor!
Garganelli is a type of pasta that originated in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy.
It is made from egg and flour, and has a ridged surface which gives it an interesting texture when cooked.
The shape resembles penne, but with curved edges instead of straight ones.
Garganelli are perfect for pesto because they hold onto the sauce well due to their ridges.
The combination of the creamy pesto sauce and the chewy pasta makes for a delicious meal!
Cascatelli is a type of pasta that originates from Italy.
It is similar to macaroni, but with a more twisted shape.
The name comes from the Italian word for “waterfall”, because it looks like small waterfalls cascading down the plate.
Cascatelli has ridges on its surface which helps it hold onto sauces and pesto better than other types of pasta.
This makes it an ideal choice for dishes such as pesto or carbonara, where you want the sauce to cling to each piece of pasta.
Cavatappi is a type of pasta shaped like a corkscrew or helix.
It is also known as cellentani, amori, spirali, or tortiglione.
Cavatappi is usually made with durum wheat semolina flour and water, although some brands may add egg for flavor and color.
Cavatappi has ridges that help it to hold onto sauces better than other types of pasta such as spaghetti or macaroni. This makes it the perfect choice for pesto dishes!
The ridges will help the pesto cling to each piece of cavatappi so you get maximum flavor in every bite.
Rotini is a type of pasta that is shaped like a corkscrew or spiral.
It’s made from durum wheat and comes in different sizes, from small to large.
The shape of the rotini makes it perfect for holding sauces, as the sauce will cling to its ridges and curves.
Rotini is great for salads, soups, casseroles, and baked dishes.
Its unique shape also makes it ideal for pesto dishes because the sauce clings to every twist and turn of the pasta.
The texture of rotini also helps keep pesto evenly distributed throughout each bite!
What goes well with pesto?
Pesto is a delicious and versatile sauce that goes well with many different types of dishes.
For a simple snack or appetizer, try serving it with fresh bread, raw or grilled vegetables, or even make a tasty spread by mixing it with sour cream, Greek yogurt, cream cheese, or goat cheese.
For a more impressive presentation, try making a layered dip such as Pesto Dip.
Additionally, pesto pairs wonderfully with classic Italian flavors like tomato and mozzarella, making it a great topping for pizza or bruschetta.
What do Italians eat pesto with?
Pesto is a popular Italian sauce that can be enjoyed in a variety of ways.
Trofie (the traditional Ligurian short pasta) is a classic dish to pair with pesto, as it helps to bring out the bright flavors of the sauce. Lasagna and potato gnocchi are also delicious when topped with pesto, and a spoonful can be stirred into tomato sauce to add a burst of flavor.
Pesto can even be used to enhance the flavor of fish fillets, making them more appetizing and delicious. Overall, pesto is an incredibly versatile condiment that can be used to flavor many Italian dishes.
What does pesto pasta pair with?
Pesto pasta is a classic Italian dish that pairs well with several flavor-packed side dishes.
For a seafood option, try serving the pasta alongside grilled salmon, sautéed shrimp, or freshly-sliced buratta. If you’re looking for something more light, an arugula or caprese salad would be an ideal accompaniment.
Vegetable side dishes are also a great way to add a nutritious boost to your pesto pasta. Grilled eggplants, roasted peppers and onions, and zucchini noodles are all excellent options. For a heartier meal, you can also add a side of crusty bread.
What pasta holds sauce the best?
When it comes to pasta and sauce, there are certain shapes that hold sauce better than others. For instance, penne, ziti, and rigate (ridged) are tubular shapes that are perfect for sauces like ragu that are thicker and heartier.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for something to soak up creamy sauces, wider, flat noodles like pappardelle are your best bet. Generally, the wider the noodle, the heavier the type of sauce you should pair it with. That said, if you want your pasta to hold sauce well, then opt for tubular shapes with ridges to capture even more sauce.
In conclusion, there are many types of pasta that pair perfectly with pesto, from traditional favorites like fusilli and linguine to more unique options like trofie and bucati.
The best types of pasta for pesto are fusilli, bucatini, capellini, spaghettini, fettuccine, linguine, farfalle, trofie, tortiglioni, orecchiette, bucati, garganelli, cascatelli, cavatappi, and rotini.
Each of these types of pasta adds something unique to the dish, whether it’s a different shape, texture, or flavor.
Experimenting with different types of pasta can be a fun way to find the perfect match for your pesto dish. Try out the different types and see which one is the best fit.
14 Best Types of Pasta For Pesto
- Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
- Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
Jenny has always been passionate about cooking, and she uses her platform to share her joy of food with others. Her recipes are easy to follow, and she loves giving tips and tricks to help others create their own unique culinary creations.