What Are the Different Types of Pasta?

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.

SHORT PASTA

Cavatappi

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.

Fusilli

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.

Radiatori

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

rotini pasta

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.

Elbows

Elbow macaroni noodles are small, half-moon-shaped pasta that’s commonly used in mac and cheese.

Farfalle

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

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

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

Ziti is another pasta noodle that resembles penne. It’s also hollow and small, but its texture is smooth without ridges.

Conchiglie

Conchiglie is just a fancy term for shells. They come in a range of sizes, ranging from mini, small, medium, and jumbo.

Ditalini

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.

LONG PASTA

Angel’s hair

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.

Bucatini

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.

Fettuccine

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.

Spaghetti

spaghetti noodles, farfalle

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

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.

Pappardelle

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

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

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.

FILLED PASTA

Tortellini

Tortellini looks like little doughnuts or small air tubes drifting down a river. It’s available packed with meat and cheese.

Ravioli

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.

Manicotti

Manicotti are similar to large penne noodles. It has the same shape and texture, but it’s much larger.

Cannelloni

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.

Mezzelune

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.

SHEET PASTA

Lasagne

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.

DUMPLING PASTA

Gnocchi

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.