Made of durum wheat flour and water, dried pasta can be defined as just "processed wheat", for the simplicity and naturalness of its ingredients. It does contain dyes, neither preservatives or chemical additives, nor salt.
Nutritionally the essential components of the pasta makes it a food low in fat, digestible, but at the same time, ideal for those who performs a physical and mental activity and requires a large energy intake.
As pasta is not eaten alone, but combined with other ingredients or sauces, its nutritional value is further enhanced and improved through the process known as "complementarization". This happens, for example, when the pasta is combined with cheese and so milk proteins are added, or when it is combined with meat sauce. The result of these combinations is a complete and perfectly balanced food, even in terms of calorie content, a food respecting the percentage of calorie intake derived from the three energy nutrients (proteins, lipids and carbohydrates), considered optimal by nutritionists from all around the world.
The tradition of Italian pasta has led over time to a continuous improvement of the various combinations possible. All pasta shapes and types have its own sauce. The taste and imagination are undoubtedly very personal, but in principle for pasta and sauces combinations some general "rules" apply, depending on whether dried pasta (smooth or ribbed, long or short) or egg pasta (long or short and flat) is used.
Ribbed or rough pasta is suitable for combination with soft and slippery sauces as it better holds them. While the smooth pasta better matches consistent and thickened sauces. The long dried pasta (spaghetti, bucatini, linguine, etc...) well matches tomato based sauces, fish and vegetables, but also green (pesto) and white sauces based on soft cheese. The twisted pasta (celentani, fusilli, ziti, etc...) is suitable for tomato and vegetable sauces. The short pasta (maccheroni, rigatoni, penne, pipe, sedani, garganelli, etc..) is perfect for stews and meat sauce or vegetable sauces. The flat pasta (lasagne, farfalle, etc..) is suitable for creamy sauces, as well as vegetable and cheese ones.