There is so much types of pasta in a world that it can be quite stunning to wrap your head around! From tried and true favorites like spaghetti, lasagna and penne to unsung heroes like bucatini, tagliatelle and cascatelli, we’ve rounded up just 30 different types of pasta to help you start your journey to enjoy as many varieties of Italian staples as possible.
How many different types of pasta are there?
There are at least 600 different types of pasta! Pasta can vary not only in shape and size, but also in the composition of individual ingredients. In recent years, gluten-free and grain-free options have been gaining popularity.
What are the types of pasta?
We have collected 30 different types of pasta below, but this only scratches the surface. Different types of pasta can vary from the shape of the pasta to the type of wheat used to make it, the texture of the noodles, how they are made, and what ingredients are used to make them.
What kind of pasta is best?
Different types of pasta work well with different dishes and even with how much time you have to prepare your meal. For example, meat sauces work well with thicker pastas, while lighter dishes are great for thinner, lighter noodles. Moreover, different types of pasta may have different cooking methods and times. However, for the most part, the best type of pasta is purely subjective. You love what you love!
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Types of pasta
1. Angel hair (Capellini)
angel hair as well as capellini two names for the same wonderful thing. Like a super thin version of spaghetti, angel hair is especially delicious due to how quickly it cooks, making it a great option for those evenings when you’re too hungry to wait!
Bucatini looks like a thicker version of spaghetti, but it contains a special surprise that neither spaghetti nor angel hair has: a tiny hole running through its center creates the perfect environment for a special, unexpected flavor from any sauces you serve with it.
Campanel gets its name from the Italian word for bluebell, and it tastes as good as it sounds. You can see it also called torcio or jigley (but we promise it’s better than the movie).
Cascatelli is a new type of pasta developed Controversial podcast host Dan Pashman. He created the cascatelli in 2021 to be the perfect noodle in terms of “juiciness, forkability, and tooth-soaking ability.” There are often queues for cascatelli, but we highly recommend trying at least once!
If you are looking for an aesthetically pleasing corkscrew pasta, cavatappi great choice. Shaped noodles often have small protrusions on the inside that help them hold the sauce well.
Often served with rapina broccoli, sausage and olive oil. cavatelli pasta has a looser texture than other noodles, but is much smaller and not as thick as dumplings.
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Are you making soup? Ditalini it’s a great little tubular pasta for soups and you’ll often find it in chicken soup or pasta e fagioli.
8. Elbows (Pasta)
Macaroni and cheese classic elbow pasta is a fan favorite everywhere from school canteens to the famous blue boxes. It is also a popular choice for pasta salads.
9. Farfalle (Bow ties)
Farfallealso called bow ties, will make almost any dish much prettier. Farfalle is often added to pasta salads, and also with buckwheat in the basic Jewish lakkes porridges.
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In fact, you can pair alfredo sauce with just about anything, but you almost always choose fettuccine Alfredo. The wide, flat, long noodles are great for storing creamy sauce and won’t lose their cheesy goodness when swirling.
If you’re old enough to have a landline phone with a cord, fusilli-especially long fusilli– will make you seriously nostalgic. These long tight spirals are a great choice for meat sauces and heavier sauces because they are strong enough to hold them well.
Gnocchi unique in that it’s actually tiny dumplings with potatoes, unlike any other pasta. It’s heavier and can be served with just about any sauce you can think of.
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13. Lasagna (lasagne)
Garfield’s all-time favorite lasagna the noodles are broad and flat, often with curly edges, and are meant to be spread with cheese and baking sauce. A little lasagna noodles are specially made for baking and have a different cooking time than other types of pasta.
By width linguini sits between spaghetti and fettuccine. Often these are noodles paired with white clam sauce, but they are so versatile that they can be used with just about any topper.
Looks like lasagna manicotti often stuffed with cheese, drizzled with sauce and brought to readiness in the oven. However, it is designed to be rolled up and filled, not in layers.
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Deriving its name from the Italian for “little ears”, orecchiette may also resemble tiny hats. Like cavatappi, it is often served with broccoli rape, sausage and olive oil, as well as some seafood pasta dishes.
Imagine your basic rigatoni. Add steroids. Now you have packeri. Pakcheri are short, thick and ribbed, but often broader and wider than traditional rigatoni.
Long, flat, strong and as wide as a traditional pasta can be. pappardelle has a luxurious vibe and is often served with bolognese sauce.
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I affectionately call pastina “starchy penicillin” because, having been raised in an Italian-American family, it was always used when someone felt unwell, often served in soups. Its tiny size makes it a great option for those days when you’re so sick or exhausted that even chewing becomes a chore. It is also a good option for children as the stars are so tiny that the risk of suffocation is much less.
Penne ribbed, similar to rigatoni, but thinner and with curved ends. It pairs well with almost any type of sauce due to its crests and tubular shape, but the most famous pairing is Italian penne alla vodka.
Filled with cheese, meat or various vegetables, ravioli can be round or square, but it’s always great. Sauce combinations depend on the filling, but marinara and traditional Sunday sauce are popular options.
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22. Rotel (Wagon wheels)
Also referred to as cart wheels, rotel is a popular choice for pasta salads, as well as macaroni and cheese for kids.
Rigatoni, with its smooth, even edges and ridges all over, it’s my personal favorite pairing with Sunday sauce. The ribs help hold just about any sauce you might throw in, and are easier to fork out than longer noodles (or smaller ones like penne).
Rotini similar to fusilli, but its spirals are tighter. There’s a reason the Boston Market uses it for mac and cheese: it holds the sauce perfectly!
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Italian pasta shells can be of different shapes and sizes, like those you find on the beach. Small shells are great for macaroni and cheese, while large shells are great for stuffing with cheese like manicotti.
Anyone who has seen Lady and the Tramp knows magic spaghetti. Long, thin noodles pair perfectly with tomato sauce and meatballs (from well), but is also a great choice for dishes like cacio e pepe.
Tagliatelle it’s simple tiny slightly wider than fettuccine, but still significantly smaller than pappardelle. You can use this ribbon-shaped pasta instead of linguine or fettuccine in just about anything.
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Like ravioli tortellini may be stuffed with meat, cheese, or whatever, but are smaller, thicker, and ring-shaped. They are more “splitty”, making them easier to take in one bite, and are a popular choice for pasta salads as well as creamy sauces.
Imagine ditalini if you were to dry it in the dryer and voila! tubettini Italian for “little tubules” and this tiny tubular pasta is a favorite for use in soups.
Ziti often mistakenly believed to be the same as penne, but they are quite different: ziti do not have penne ridges and the ends of ziti are not slanted. This tube-shaped pasta is thinner than rigatoni and longer than penne. Ziti can be used in almost any dish, but it is best known as an option for baking pasta.
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