There are approximately 350 different types of pasta and about four times that many names for them. This is because some types may have different names according to the region. Here is our guide to the most common pasta shapes that can be found in Italy.
Thick spaghetti like noodles, often made from wholewheat flour, butter and duch eggs.
This straw-like pasta is shaped like thick spaghetti but with a hole in the centre. They are ideal for any kind of sauce or it can be baked in casseroles.
Campanelle pasta looks like a small cone with ruffled edge. It is also sometimes referred to as gigli or riccioli. This pasta is served with a thick sauce or in a casserole. In Tuscany they are calles gigli (lilies).
Cappelletti pasta is folded and then twisted to form the shape of a small hat.
Casarecce pasta is shaped like a very narrow, twisted and rolled tube. It can be used in a variety of casserole dishes.
Cavatappi is Italian word for corkscrew. This kind of pasta goes well with both simple or sophisticated sauces. It is ideal for pasta salads.
Cavatelli ("little hollows") are small pasta shells from eggless semolina dough that look like miniature hot dog buns. Cavatelli paris well with meat, cream, seafood or vegetable sauces.
Conchiglie known as shells, are usually sold in the plain durum wheat variety and also coloured with tomato extract, squid ink or spinach extract. Large shells are best when stuffed with mix of cheese, meat and vegetables.
This shapes can be used as the base of any dish.
Farfalle (butterflies) are know as bow ties pasta. Thick enouhg for a variety of sauces or a perfect addition to a number of salads.
Fettuccine meaning little ribbons is a type of pasta popular in Roman and Tuscan dishes. It is flat thick pasta made of egg and flour. It is often eaten with ragu.
Fusilli are long, thick, corkscrew shaped pasta. This pasta goes well with any sauce and are very popular in Italian dishes.
Gemelli derives from the Italian word for twins.
This wide flat-shaped pasta is one of the oldest types of pasta. They are ideal for baked dishes where they are layered with ragu and bechamel sauce.
If you head to the south of Italy you will find orecchiette (or little ears). The typical way to eat orecchiette in Puglia is with broccoli rabe. Orecchiette goes well with any vegetable sauce.
Orzo is a from of short-cut pasta, shaped like a large grain of rice. It can be served as a part of the salad or in a soup.
Penne is pasta from the south of Italy in the region of Campania. The smaller version is called pennette and larger pennioni. This pasta can be smooth or ridged (penne rigate). It pairs ideal with heaby sauces like arrabiata (spicy tomato sauce).
Ravioli are square round pillows of pasta that have a filling made from meat, cheese or vegetables. Ravioli can be served with red tomato sauce or butter, oil and cream
This pasta is in a form of tube with different lenghts. They are larger than penne and zitti and goes well with any kind of sauce.
The name of this pasta means wheels. They are good for salads, casseroles and stir-fry dishes. They goes well in soups.
The most popular pasta shape in the world are spaghetti. They are ideal choice for any sauce. The most popular dishes are spaghetti carbonara, bolognese and spaghetti aglio olio e peperoncino.
Spaghetti alla chitarra is a variety of pasta from the Abruzzo region. This kind of spaghetti are square-shaped unlike the normal round-shaped spaghetti.
The name for these short twists translates as priest strangler.
Tagliatelle are traditional type of pasta from Emilia Romagna and Marche regions of Italy. It looks like long flat ribbons that are similar in shape to fettuccine. Tagliatelle can be served with a variety of sauces although the most common is with Bolognese sauce.
Tortellini is a ring-shaped pasta typically stuffed with meat, cheese or vegetables. Tortellini is commonly served in broth or cream sauce. Tortellini al brodo is a famous dish from northern Italy.
Trofie pasta is a short twisted pasta usually served with pesto genovese.
Vermicelli pasta is similar to spaghetti but slightly thicker than it.
Ziti pasta comes from Sicily. This hollowed pasta can be smooth or ridged which makes it the perfect for a thick sauce. They are great baked with sauce and cheese.
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