Pasta is a staple food of traditional Italian cuisine and is among the most popular food in the world. Made from unleavened dough of wheat flour, there are many different types of pasta that come in many different shapes, names, sizes, and colors. Some estimate that there are actually 600 individual types, and while knowing them all would be nearly impossible, we thought we’d narrow it down for you. Are you ready to be adventurous with this Italian food-staple? Great! Here are 25 Deliciously Amazing Types Of Pasta You’ll Want To Try.
Caution: Don’t look at these pictures of pasta when hungry; you
might will find them dangerously mouth-watering!
Manicotti are very large pasta tubes usually ridged, that are intended to be filled with various stuffing (seafood, meats, salads)and then baked topped with the traditional Italian white Besciamella sauce made with Romano or Parmesan cheese. Despite the large size, Manicotti is a very light (and delicious) dish.
Bucatini is a thick spaghetti-like pasta with a hole running through the center. These 25–30 cm (10–12 inches) long tubes are usually cooked for 9 minutes and then served with buttery sauces, pancetta (bacon) or guanciale (cured pork), vegetables, cheese, eggs, and anchovies or sardines.
Tagliatelle are long, flat pasta ribbons made with eggs. Its texture is porous and rough, making it ideal for thick sauces, generally made with beef, veal, pork, or rabbit. Another popular version of Tagliatelle serving is with truffles, olives and vegetables.
Traditionally made at home, Ravioli come in a shape of filled pasta dumplings. They are usually square, though other circular or semi-circular versions also occur. The stuffing varies with regions. In Rome, for example, the filling is made with ricotta cheese, spinach, nutmeg, and black pepper. In Sardinia, Ravioli are filled with ricotta and grated lemon rind.
Meaning “Twins” in the Italian language, Gemelli is a twisted pasta that is commonly served with lighter, smoother sauces (e.g. pesto) which will cling to the twists. Sometimes called “the unicorn horns“, Gemelli is also a perfect choice for a pasta salad, or paired with various types of tomato sauces.
Translated simply as “The butterflies”, Farfalle are among the most popular pasta types. They come in several sizes but always have the distinctive bow tie shape. Though usable with most sauces, Farfalle are best suited to cream and tomato dishes. They exist in different varieties such as plain, tomato, or spinach. These are often sold together in a mix, recalling the colors of the flag of Italy.
Meaning “Little ribbons”, Fettuccine are flat thick noodles made of eggs and flour. They are similar to Tagliatelle but a little bit wider. Especially popular in Roman cuisine, Fettuccine is often eaten with beef or chicken ragu. However, the most common dish featuring this pasta type is “Fettuccine Alfredo“ which consists of fettuccine tossed with Parmesan cheese and butter.
Fiori is a type of extruded pasta with six petal shapes surrounding the center resembling a flower. It is often used in pasta salads but it also goes well with meat sauces, fish-based sauces, or robust tomato-based sauces.
Translated as “Large reeds”, Cannelloni are a cylindrical type of pasta generally served baked with a filling and covered by a sauce. Popular stuffing includes spinach and ricotta or minced beef. The sauces typically used with this pasta are tomato sauce (underneath) and Besciamella sauce (on top).
Resembling very short macaroni, Ditalini is a type of small-tube-shaped pasta typical of Sicilian cuisine. Ditalini is often one of the main ingredients of pasta salads and, thanks to its small size, it can be also found in soups. In main dishes, Ditalini is usually served with ricotta cheese and broccoli.
Not to be confused with similarly looking Fusilli, Rotini is a type of helix – or corkscrew-shaped pasta that is tightly packed and shorter in length. Due to its unique structure, Rotini binds more sauce with it adding more flavor to the dish. They are often used in pasta salads with pesto, Carbonara or tomato-based sauces.
Linguine is a type of long, flat pasta wider than spaghetti but not as wide as fettuccine. Originated in Genoa, this type of pasta is often served with pesto or seafood. Linguine is typically available in both white flour and whole-wheat versions.
Commonly known as “seashells” or just “shells“, Conchiglie is a type of small-sized durum wheat pasta. Especially popular in Britain, this type of pasta comes in colored varieties which use natural pigments, such as tomato extract, squid ink or spinach extract.
Radiatori are small, squat pasta shapes that got their name after radiators – old heating fixtures. The specific design is to maximize the surface area for better adherence. Because of the intricate shape, they work well with thicker sauces but can also be found in casseroles, salads, and soups.
Pici is a thick, long hand-rolled pasta that originated in the province of Siena in Tuscany. The dough is rolled out in a thick flat sheet, cut into strips and then formed into tiny, long cylinders, slightly thinner than a common pencil. Pici is served with variety of foods including garlic tomato sauce, mushroom sauce, ragu and numerous meats.
Garganelli is a type of egg-based pasta notable for their time-consuming preparation. Made from smooth or ridged pasta, Garganelli is rolled into a tubular shape, resembling Penne. This type of pasta is typical of Bolognese cuisine and is also often served with duck ragu.
Translated as “Little worms”, Vermicelli is a traditional type of long, thin pasta similar to spaghetti. While Vermicelli is one of traditional Italian pastas, some Asian countries have their own versions of this food, made from rice flour. This pasta goes very well with sea food.
Cavatappi is a curly, spiral tube shaped ridged pasta resembling swirly Macaroni. Known by other names such as Spirali, or Scoobi doo, this pasta is the perfect choice for a cold pasta salad but the twists and spirals of Cavatappi allow it to embrace both light as well thick and hearty sauces.
Originally from the Italian region of Emilia, Tortellini is a ring-shaped stuffed pasta. Typically filled with a mix of meat (pork loin, prosciutto), cheese or vegetables (spinach), this pasta is often served in beef or chicken broth. Tortellini is among the pasta types commonly found all around the world.
Pappardelle are large, very broad, flat pasta noodles. The fresh types are two to three centimetres (3⁄4–1 in) wide and may have fluted edges. Typical of the Tuscan region, Pappardelle match well with most of tomato as well as meat based sauces but they can be also served with mushrooms, Parmesan cheese or ragu.
As the name suggests, this pasta type is a mixture of Fusilli and Bucatini. Fusilli gave this pasta its distinctive spiral shape while Bucatini is responsible for the length and hollow center. The coiled design of this pasta makes it an ideal match for almost all kinds of sauces.
You probably know Lasagne, a wide, flat pasta that ranks among the most popular pasta types in the world but few people know there is a smaller version of this Italian staple called Lasagnette. Lasagnette can be served in two forms – either lying one pasta layer on top of another, sandwiching various ingredients in between (like regular Lasagne) or just tossing the pasta on the plate with other elements.
Translated as “Shoe laces“, Stringozzi is a long thin, Spaghetti-like pasta, typical of the Italian region of Umbria. The rectangular cross-section noodles are made by hand and generally served with the local black truffles, meat ragu, mushroom or tomato-based sauce etc.
Also known as “Risoni”, Risi is a pasta which closely resembles rice in both shape and size. Because of its small size, it is usually served in soups, but it also works well mixed in with salads and stews. Risi come in several flavored, colorful versions such spinach, pepper, and sundried tomatoes.
Originated in Campania and Calabria, Paccheri are very large pasta tubes. They are generally smooth, but there is also a ribbed version called Paccheri Millerighe. This pasta can be served with Bolognese and other sauces, or – thanks to its large size – stuffed (with cheese, seafood, or meat sauce) and baked.