Pasta is one of the foods we just can’t get enough of. It comes in many shapes and types that make things interesting. Some shapes of pasta are long and others are short. Some are stuffed and some are hollow. While almost all shapes and types of pasta can be used in a pinch for an easy weeknight dinner, some are better suited for different types of recipes. Thin pasta works great with lighter ingredients Like fresh tomatoes, while Wider, thicker pasta is great with hearty sauces Like the classic fettuccine alfredo.
At the Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen, our food editors have developed thousands of pasta recipes. They range from healthy pasta recipes to comforting lasagna. over here Common shapes and types of pasta that you should know Most are paired with a recipe that highlights how best to use them. Plus, we’ve sprinkled in some fun facts about how some pasta shapes are created and got their name, thanks to insight from pasta company Barilla.
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This long form of pasta is the thinnest and works well when tossed in a thin sauce, oil, or marinade. It is also used by capellini, which directly translates to “little hair”, in which case it means thin hair.
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This long pasta is famous for its distinctive hollow shape – also known by its name pocoWhich means Gap In Italian – you can shake them like straws. It’s good for recipes that require rolling and minimal pricking with a fork, such as hearty sauces with meatballs.
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Named for its resemblance to hand bells, this shape captures small ingredients, like corn and peas, in the best way so you can get a full bite of your favorite recipe in every fork.
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Cavatappi resembles the longest and most rounded elbows. It’s relatively thick with the edges, which makes it good for holding sauces and toppings. They’re great for pasta salad dishes served warm or cold.
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These “little thimbles” are perfect for soup. It’s small enough for a spoon and big enough to fit large chunks of veggies and beans.
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The name comes from the Italian word for butterflies. This shape is short and flat with little pockets that trap small amounts of sauce and bits of ingredients to add pops of flavor without being too overwhelming.
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These long, flat pastas are best served in casseroles with sauce, cheese, ground beef, or vegetables. Its edges help hold different types of ingredients. The broad and flat no-boil varieties are similar to the shape originally made by the Romans, according to Barilla; They make making lasagna easier even though the results aren’t as saucy as we like.
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This pasta is thin — but wider than spaghetti — and is good for recipes that make use of more texture. It takes a little more effort to chew than thin pasta, so it works well with larger sauces.
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These little stars are the best in broth. When served on its own, it retains liquid and has an almost creamy texture, especially when combined with butter. According to Barilla, it is usually an introduction for children to the world of pasta in Italy.
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We love the way the shells often overlap each other when cooked – a bit like an orchid. They are great in sauces, baked goods, or with ground meat. Barilla says the large shells are inspired by oysters near Naples and Genoa.
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A classic that needs a little explanation. It’s long and thin like spaghettithe Italian word for rope lengths, according to Barilla, who also says it’s the most popular form in Italy. It is very versatile and is best for spinning and eating with a smooth coating that can be easily picked up with a fork.
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Tagliatelle is wider than both linguine and fettuccine, but thinner than pappardelle. Its width allows for proper circulation and room for larger components at the same time.
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Some might consider this stuffed pasta to be miniature ravioli, but it has a more toothy bite thanks to its round, pinched shape. It can be used in soups, warm pasta dishes, or cold pasta salads.
Get the refrigerated tortellini romesco recipe »
Ziti is similar to a penne but without the edging and angled edges. We find it softer than a penny but still able to stand up to the top layer. It is traditionally served at weddings in Naples, according to Barilla – zeta It means the bride.
Get the easy recipe for Peasy Shrimp Ziti »
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