Despite its simplicity and ease of preparation, the seemingly endless varieties of pasta available on the market today can make you dizzy. So, before you go crazy with the flavors and finishing touches, you should first learn a little about the different sorts of pasta shapes.
There are various kinds of pasta. They can, thankfully, be divided into a few categories: long pasta, short pasta, stuffed pasta, sheet pasta, and dumpling pasta. Many forms of short pasta (though not all) must be extruded to achieve their particular shapes, while long pasta can be extruded or hand-rolled.
What is Pasta?
Pasta is a type of Italian food that is usually made from unleavened dough. The wheat flour is mixed with eggs or water to form sheets or shapes. It is then baked or boiled. Instead of using wheat flour, you can use legumes such as lentils or beans. Also, rice flour can be used to make pasta. For a different texture and flavor, you can use substitutes or make gluten-free pasta.
You can make a 1-pound fresh pasta at home with simple 4 ingredients. It is easy to make pasta in a food processor, mixer, or by hand.
- Eggs – 4, Large
- All-Purpose Flour – 2 1/2 Cups,
- Olive Oil – 1 Tbsp
- Sea Salt – 1 Tsp
- Mound the flour on a large cutting board and use your fingers to create a good-sized well in the middle of the mound of flour. Add eggs to the center of the well and pour olive oil and salt over the eggs.
- To beat the eggs, use a fork and gradually start whisking some of the surrounding flour into the egg mixture. Keep on adding the flour to the egg mixture until it becomes thick. Now start folding the dough to make a loose ball.
- For 10 minutes, knead the dough to make a smooth and elastic dough. Also, keep dusting a little extra flour on the cutting board to prevent the dough from sticking to the cutting board.
- After forming a dough ball, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Let it rest for 30 minutes at room temperature. You can use it immediately or keep it in the refrigerator for 1 day.
- To make pasta, roll out pasta dough into the desired shape by using your hands or a pasta machine. Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water for 1 to 5 minutes, until al dente. The time can vary depending on the thickness of the pasta.
- Once cooked, drain and use it immediately.
Types of Pasta
Double elbow pasta is another name for this hollow, spiral-shaped noodle. The many twists and turns often provide a lot of surface area for sauce to coat and trap inside, while the extra length provides more chew.
This spiral-shaped noodle features numerous grooves and crevices for catching excess dressing and sauce. It’s strong enough to combine with a thicker sauce, such as meat sauce or marinara.
You can use Radiatori noodles in casseroles and soups. It’s not as common in supermarkets, but it’s a unique shape. It resembles a futuristic spiral.
Rotini is a famous corkscrew-shaped pasta. It has a more compact spiral than fusilli. However, like fusilli, it absorbs all kinds of sauces effectively.
Elbow macaroni noodles are small, half-moon-shaped pasta that’s commonly used in mac and cheese.
It may sound fancy, but it’s only bow tie pasta. You can find it in a variety of creamy pasta and pasta salads.
Penne is almost certainly a crowd favorite in your home. It’s a slanted-edged hollow cylinder-shaped noodle with a ridged structure that makes it great for catching sauce. Mostaccioli is another name for it.
Rigatoni appears to be penne’s sister noodle. It’s also cylinder-shaped and has ridged texture. It is, however, slightly stumpier and not nearly as slender, and it lacks the diagonal edges, which penne has.
Ziti is another pasta noodle that resembles penne. It’s also hollow and small, but its texture is smooth without ridges.
Conchiglie is just a fancy term for shells. They come in a range of sizes, ranging from mini, small, medium, and jumbo.
When it comes to little pasta shapes, ditalini is likewise on the tinier end of the range. It’s similar to ziti noodles in that it’s made up of smaller noodles.
Angel hair pasta is thin and long, almost as thin as spaghetti. It goes well with cream-based and mild oil-based sauces. Anything too sizable may dominate it.
It appears to be typical spaghetti. It is, however, more circular, and there’s a hole through the center, giving each noodle a hollow middle. As a result, it’s slightly thicker than spaghetti noodles.
Fettuccini is shaped like a flat spaghetti noodle. It’s a denser, thicker noodle. Unlike other forms of long pasta, it’s pretty broad, so it goes well with chunky meat sauces.
Who doesn’t enjoy spaghetti dishes? It has a cylindrical shape, similar to bucatini and angel hair. Its thickness, though, is somewhere in the center. It’s not as thick as bucatini, but it’s thicker than angel’s hair.
Linguine is similar to fettuccine but not as wide. It’s a popular noodle accompaniment for seafood dishes, especially when combined with clams, mussels, and white wine sauces.
Guess again if you think long pasta can’t go any wider beyond fettuccine. Pappardelle pasta noodles complement rich, meat-based sauces even better.
Tagliatelle and fettuccine are easily confused. In some parts of Italy, tagliatelle is even referred to as fettucine. Both forms of pasta resemble flattened spaghetti and have a similar diameter, although tagliatelle has a somewhat thicker bite.
Vermicelli noodles are thin. There are two kinds of vermicelli: Asian and Italian. The former is a rice noodle, while the latter is made of semolina.
Tortellini looks like little doughnuts or small air tubes drifting down a river. It’s available packed with meat and cheese.
Ravioli is a stuffed square pasta. Store-bought ravioli is frequently on the pretty small side, but don’t be surprised if you’re offered enormous ravioli in some Italian restaurants. The edges are firmly pinched and create a ruffled texture. Try potato ravioli.
Manicotti are similar to large penne noodles. It has the same shape and texture, but it’s much larger.
Cannelloni noodles are a cross between manicotti pasta and lasagne. It’s a tube-shaped pasta (similar to manicotti) without ridges(like lasagna). It begins with a sheet of pasta that’s then rolled into tubes. Try pumpkin cannelloni.
Mezzelune pasta is similar to potstickers, although it’s flatter. It’s a hand-rolled, flat-starting pasta. Before boiling, it’s sliced into ovals that are then packed, folded in two, and have pinched corners to close it tight.
Lasagne is by far the most popular variety of sheet pasta. Its ruffled, ornamental edges define its shape. Of course, it’s used to produce lasagne, which is traditionally layered between meat sauce (vegan variations are popping up everywhere) and ricotta cheese.
Unlike extruded and hand-rolled pasta, gnocchi is made with potato as the base component and egg and flour. As a result, the dumplings are small and dense.
Pasta – Italian Cuisine and Its Types
Pasta is a staple food of Italian cuisine that is made from an unleavened dough of wheat flour. You can make an easy homemade pasta by simply using 4 ingredients and simple cooking methods such as baking or boiling. All the types of pasta are divided into two broad categories such as fresh and dried pasta. Dried pasta comes from the extrusion process, whereas fresh pasta is made by hand.
Both fresh and dried kinds of pasta come with more than 310 specific forms but the common forms of pasta are short pasta, long pasta, dumpling pasta, sheet pasta, and filled pasta. The variety of pasta is so vast that a gnocchetto can be a strascinati for another chef or cook. You can try perfect pasta recipes while hosting an event such as drunk man’s tagliolini pasta, pear flavored pasta fiocchetti, grilled vegetable pasta salad, pasta e Fagioli soup, etc.