How much sauce do I need for 1 pound of spaghetti?

In this article, we will answer the following question: How much sauce do I need for 1 pound of spaghetti? We will talk about choosing the right sauce for the right type of spaghetti. We will also talk about the most frequent mistakes when cooking spaghetti with sauce.

How much sauce do I need for 1 pound of spaghetti?

One and a half cups of sauce is enough for 1 pound of spaghetti. How much sauce to add depends on the pasta (id it is long, short, striped, smooth).

Suppose we choose a simple tomato sauce to add to dry durum wheat pasta (not fresh pasta, not even filled pasta). In this case, the right ratio would be: 100 grams of dry pasta requires 100 grams of tomato sauce.

First, the types of pasta.

The same seasoning is not valid for macaroni as for spaghetti, lasagna, or spirals in the traditional recipe book. But there is also a distinction between dry, egg, fresh (all of them regulated in terms of their ingredients and preparation) … And, of course, quality also influences which determines the absorption capacity of the pasta.

They are so picky about their specialties that a gold tagliatelle model with the exact measurements it should have is displayed at the Bologna Chamber of Commerce, the city of origin of the recipe. Seven millimeters wide raw (it will be eight once cooked), calculated from the Asinelli Tower height.

What appears to us as simple macaroons, sometimes wider, narrower, a little twisted, long or short, take different names in each case. Penne, maccheroni, rigatti, rigatoni, garganelli (which result from rolling a square piece of pasta) are just a few. And the same is true for all other formats.

Well, once you’ve seen the maze of names, shapes, and sizes, another thing to keep in mind is the most appropriate type of sauce in each case. There is not a single preparation for each pasta, but there are specific rules that will make the final recipe tastier.

Then choose the sauce for the pasta.

In general, a distinction is made between long and short pasta (if they are very small, they are usually for soups), flat or rounded, with or without holes, smooth or with folds, filled or not, large or small. There is even a distinction between soft macaroni or grooves, which have a more excellent adherence surface.

Logically, long pasta works better with less thick sauces, especially if it is Bugatti (spaghetti hollow inside) or macaroni (very narrow) because it allows them to penetrate inside. It is even recommended to add a little of the cooking water if necessary. The thicker it is, the more consistent the sauce can be and can include more extensive pieces of meat, fish, or vegetables.

Small formats, such as bows (in Italy farfalle) or fusilli (recommended for salads), allow creamy textures and delicate sauces but with a certain consistency, like pesto, because they stay in their folds. The long ones, like spaghetti and derivatives, are somewhat more versatile, although not everything goes.

If orthodoxy is observed, it would be little less than an aberration to combine spaghetti with ragú (we would say sauce) with Bolognese (meat, tomato, vegetables, wine …), something prevalent in our kitchen. Because according to true Italian tradition, it should be made with tagliatella, a kind of broader noodle typical of the Bologna region. However, it is also correct to use it with lasagna.

Mixing the right pasta with the right sauce

An authentic Italian will also not cook pasta and fish, with which it is not advisable to combine cheese. On the other hand, the carbonara (no cream please), born in Rome and very popular, only has to be served with spaghetti, the canons say.

Like clams, unthinkable for small pasta, the Alfredo, invented in Rome, can be used for many different types. It was still created for fettuccine (ribbons), although it is more prevalent in the United States than in Italy itself.

Here is a modest paste to which is added an emulsion of butter and parmesan that the certain Alfredo Di Lelio prepared at the beginning of the 20th century to relieve his wife in the recovery of her first childbirth.

A clue to know when it has been wrongly combined is that the sauce remains at the bottom of the casserole!


Choosing the right sauce for the right type of pasta is almost an art! A clue to know when it has been mixed wrong is that the sauce remains at the pan’s bottom instead of impregnating the pasta. 

However, the first thing is to remember the cooking formula: for every one hundred grams, one liter of boiling water and between 7 and 10 grams of salt, which should not be incorporated until the start of boiling. One and a half cups of sauce is enough for 1 pound of spaghetti. Happy cooking!

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Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.

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