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The 8 Best Pasta for Ragu

Are you looking for the perfect pasta to pair with your ragu?

Ragu is a classic Italian dish that consists of slow-cooked meat and tomato sauce.

It’s hearty and delicious, but it can be tricky to get the right pasta pairing.

The key is finding a type of pasta that will absorb the sauce and hold up against the chunky texture of the meat.

Fortunately, there are plenty of options out there!

In this article, I’ll share my top eight choices for pastas that work well with ragu – from traditional shapes like penne and rigatoni to more unique varieties such as orecchiette and cavatelli.

With these suggestions in mind, you can make sure your next plate of ragu comes out just right!

What is Ragu?


Ragu (pronounced RAH-goo) is a type of Italian meat sauce that typically includes ground beef, pork, or veal simmered in a tomato-based sauce.

It is often served over pasta such as spaghetti or lasagna and can also be used to make pizza.

Ragu has its origins in the northern regions of Italy and is believed to have been created by peasants who needed an economical way to stretch their limited supply of meat.

Ragu sauces are usually made with tomatoes, onions, garlic, herbs like oregano and basil, olive oil, red wine or balsamic vinegar for acidity and sweetness, salt and pepper for seasoning.

The meats used vary from region to region but generally include some combination of beef chuck roast or ground beef; pork shoulder; pancetta; sausage; prosciutto; bacon; ham hock; veal shank or shoulder; chicken livers or giblets.

The meats are cooked slowly until they become tender before being added to the tomato sauce along with vegetables like carrots and celery.

The 8 Best Pasta for Ragu

Ragu is a classic Italian dish that pairs perfectly with pasta.

The key is finding the right type of pasta to compliment the flavors of the ragu.

Here are eight types of pastas that can be used in ragu dishes, each offering a unique taste and texture:

1. Pappardelle


Pappardelle is a type of pasta that originated in Italy.

It’s made from egg and flour, and it has a wide, flat shape.

The noodles are usually about two inches wide and have ruffled edges.

Pappardelle is often served with thick sauces like ragù or pesto because the wide noodles can hold more sauce than thinner pastas like spaghetti or linguine.

Pappardelle has a unique texture that makes it perfect for hearty dishes like ragu.

Its broad surface area allows the sauce to cling to each noodle, making every bite flavorful and delicious!

Plus, its slightly chewy texture stands up well to slow-cooked sauces like ragu—it won’t get soggy or mushy as quickly as other types of pasta would.

Pro Tip: To make sure your pappardelle doesn’t stick together when cooking, add a few tablespoons of olive oil to the boiling water before adding the pasta!

2. Tagliatelle


Tagliatelle is a type of pasta that originates from the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy.

It is made with egg and flour, and has a flat, ribbon-like shape.

Tagliatelle is usually served with sauces like ragu or pesto, but can also be used in soups or salads.

I love using tagliatelle when I’m having ragu because it holds onto the sauce so well!

The wide ribbons are perfect for catching all the delicious flavors of the sauce, making every bite full of flavor.

Plus, it’s easy to cook – just boil for 8 minutes and you’re done!

Pro Tip: To make your tagliatelle even more flavorful, try adding some freshly grated Parmesan cheese to your dish before serving. This will add an extra layer of richness and depth to your meal!

3. Fettuccine


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 noodles are usually about 1/4 inch wide, but can vary in size depending on the recipe.

Fettuccine is an excellent choice for dishes like ragu because it has a slightly chewy texture that stands up well to hearty sauces.

The wide surface area of the noodles also helps them absorb more sauce, making every bite even more flavorful!

Pro Tip: When cooking fettuccine for ragu or any other dish, be sure to salt your water generously before adding the noodles.

This will help bring out their flavor and make them even tastier!

4. Rigatoni


Rigatoni is a type of pasta that is shaped like large tubes.

It has ridges on the outside and a hollow center, which makes it perfect for holding sauces.

The name comes from the Italian word “rigato,” meaning “ridged.”

Rigatoni is an excellent choice when making ragu because its shape allows it to hold onto all of the delicious sauce.

Its ridges also help to create more surface area for the sauce to cling to, resulting in a richer flavor with every bite.

Plus, its hollow center helps keep the rigatoni al dente even after cooking in liquid!

5. Penne


Penne is a type of pasta that is shaped like a tube with ridges on the outside.

It’s one of the most popular types of pasta, and it’s often used in Italian dishes such as lasagna, baked ziti, and penne alla vodka.

Penne is great for ragu because its shape helps to hold onto the sauce better than other types of pasta.

The ridges also help to trap small pieces of vegetables or meat so you get more flavor in every bite!

Plus, it cooks quickly and evenly so you don’t have to worry about undercooked or overcooked noodles.

6. Orecchiette


Orecchiette is a type of pasta that originated in the Apulia region of Italy.

It is shaped like small ears, hence its name which translates to “little ears” in Italian.

Orecchiette are usually served with sauces such as ragu or pesto, and they can also be used in soups and salads.

Orecchiette has a unique shape that helps it hold onto sauces better than other types of pasta.

The ridges on the outside help trap sauce, while the hollow center allows for more sauce to be absorbed into the pasta itself.

This makes orecchiette an ideal choice when making dishes like ragu, where you want lots of flavor and texture!

7. Farfalle


Farfalle is a type of pasta that is shaped like bow ties or butterflies.

It’s also known as ‘bow-tie’ or ‘butterfly’ pasta, and it’s one of the most popular shapes in Italian cuisine.

Farfalle has a unique shape that makes it perfect for capturing sauces and other ingredients, making it ideal for dishes like ragu.

I love using farfalle when I’m having ragu because the sauce clings to each piece of pasta perfectly, creating an incredibly flavorful dish.

The ridges on the surface of the farfalle also help to hold onto more sauce than other types of pasta, so you get more flavor in every bite!

Other common uses for farfalle include salads, soups, casseroles, macaroni and cheese dishes, and even desserts!

8. Spaghetti


Spaghetti is a type of pasta made from durum wheat and water.

It is usually long, thin strands that are boiled in salted water until al dente.

Spaghetti can be served with a variety of sauces, including marinara, pesto, or Alfredo sauce.

I love using spaghetti when I’m having ragu because it’s the perfect shape to hold onto all the delicious flavors of the sauce.

The long strands also make it easy to twirl around your fork for an enjoyable eating experience!

Spaghetti can also be used in other dishes such as baked ziti, lasagna, macaroni and cheese, or even cold salads.

It’s also great for making stir-fries and soups!

Other common uses for spaghetti include:

  • Spaghetti Carbonara
  • Baked Spaghetti Pie
  • Spaghetti Frittata
  • Spicy Sausage & Peppers


In conclusion, there are many types of pasta that can be used to make a delicious ragu.

The best pasta for ragu are pappardelle, tagliatelle, fettuccine, rigatoni, penne, orecchiette, farfalle, and spaghetti.

Each of these pastas has a unique texture and flavor that will complement the ragu sauce perfectly.

Using the right type of pasta for your ragu can make all the difference in the flavor and texture of the dish.

So, the next time you’re making a ragu, make sure to choose one of these eight pastas for the best results.


The 8 Best Pasta for Ragu

Sometimes, nothing beats a classic Italian ragu. But to make it truly special, you need the right pasta. In this article, I'm sharing my top 8 picks for the best pasta for ragu. I'll explain why each one works so well, and provide tips on how to cook them perfectly.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Pasta
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 people
Calories 365 kcal


  • Pappardelle
  • Tagliatelle
  • Fettuccine
  • Rigatoni
  • Penne
  • Orecchiette
  • Farfalle
  • Spaghetti


  • Pick your favorite kind of pasta from this list.
  • Prepare the rest of your meal and enjoy in no time!
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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.