Noodles are the perfect vessel for enjoying cheesy goodness, but some noodles are better than others. Different sizes and shapes can be used for different cheeses depending on what is added to the cheese, the weight of the cheese and how well it sticks. It would be hard, for instance, to put a fettuccine sauce on a lasagna noodle or expect an elbow noodle to support lasagna. Wondering what to do? Check out our guide into the best noodle shapes to hold cheese–ranked from the creamiest cheese sauce to thickest (obviously).
Spaghetti, linguini and bucatini are long, thin and narrow and are used best with a thin, creamy sauce. Since they have a lack of surface area, they work well in sauces that also incorporate lots of meat or vegetables. These noodles are also good for butter or oil-based sauces, meat, seafood, vegetables, pesto, and tomatoes.
Macaroni (elbow noodles) have been traditionally used for loose, cheesy sauces for a reason. Many times, the noodle will have soft ridges on the exterior so the sticky sauce can cling to the noodle. Also, the “elbow” curve is perfect for creating a cheesy pocket and trapping sauce inside.
Fusilli (corkscrew noodles) lock sticky cheese in their spirals making it easy to limit messes. They are able to handle sauces with more texture than a cream based sauce, and are perfect for sauces that have been blended.
Shells come in a variety of sizes, ranging from as small as elbow noodles to as large as your hand. The small shells can tuck away creamy sauces much like a fusilli or macaroni noodle, but the larger shells can be stuffed with a firmer cheese. The large shells will stand for stuffing and baking and are perfect noodle pouches for holding cheese.
Lasagna noodles are thick,wide and dense–perfect to hold up layers of ricotta, meat sauce or veggies.
As a general guide, the more nooks and crevices a pasta has, the better it will hold and sop up a loose cheese sauce. If the cheese is thick and heavy, look for a flat smooth noodle to hold the weight. Do you have a favorite noodle for your favorite cheesy sauce? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter!
Photo Credit: Binnetti Foods