The Absolute Worst Sauces To Pair With Angel Hair Pasta

Everyone knows not all pasta is the same; even though it might be made from the same ingredients, a pasta's shape determines a lot about how it tastes and feels in your mouth. Debates constantly rage online about which is the "best" pasta shape, but these miss the point; every pasta shape has its own strengths for different situations. This brings us to what may be the most divisive pasta shape of them all: angel hair.

Angel hair pasta, sometimes referred to as capellini (the difference between the two is a level of thickness measured in thousandths of a millimeter), is the thinnest long noodle you can find. This makes it ideal when you're looking for a long pasta with a delicate texture — but that doesn't mean angel hair pasta is without its flaws. Angel hair's tendency to stick together, and especially its relative lack of surface area, means you should avoid heavier sauces that will weigh the pasta down. Instead, look to oil-based sauces in lighter dishes, as these will bring out angel hair's strengths.

Thick sauces are just going to slide right off angel hair

Angel hair is essentially a really thin spaghetti, but while the two share uses, spaghetti's delicacy is only magnified in the case of a pasta that's even thinner. The key is that you want to avoid heavy sauces like a bolognese or a thick mushroom cream sauce; there's a reason creamy chicken Alfredo pasta is typically served with a sturdier, noodle-like fettuccine. There just isn't anywhere for a thick, hearty sauce to find purchase on angel hair, meaning it's going to fall right off the fork when you try to eat it.

This isn't the only problem, either. Angel hair tends to clump and become mushy, as its thin texture means it's notoriously easy to overcook. A heavy sauce only amplifies this problem, as the noodles are likely to just break. There are plenty of other sauces that can encourage angel hair to keep from sticking together without turning it into a smushed gruel, and those are what you should go with.

Lighter, more oily sauces are a great match for angel hair

So what sauces should you use with angel hair? Anything light and thin that doesn't require big chunks to adhere to a noodle. Oil-based sauces are a great choice, as they're likely to stick to the pasta easily, as well as keep it from sticking to itself. This is particularly true in seafood dishes, as these tend to be lighter anyway, and the delicate flavors and textures of seafood match the same qualities in angel hair. Angel hair with shrimp scampi is a great combination for this exact reason. You can also go with cacio e pepe, a brown butter sauce, or even a simple marinara.

Alternatively, you don't need to use sauces with angel hair at all, as it's a pasta that lends itself to some creative outside-the-box uses. Sure, you could make angel hair with garlic and lemon-parmesan breadcrumbs, but you can also deep fry angel hair pasta for an unexpectedly delicious dessert, a traditional Sicilian confection known as "pasta fritta." Typically, these are drizzled with cinnamon, honey, and crushed nuts, and the deep frying process dodges the issue of mushy pasta altogether.