Pasta shapes and their uses

October 25, 2022 (Last Updated: October 25, 2023)
Various types of pasta

Pasta is a kitchen staple that comes in a whole host of different shapes and forms. From traditional spaghetti to potato-based gnocchi and everything in between, each different type of pasta is best suited to a specific sauce or dish. In this article we discuss some of the most popular pasta shapes and the best ways to use them.

Spaghetti

Spaghetti

Pexels

This long and thin pasta is one of the most common and most loved pasta types. The fact that it is only a little thicker than angel hair, but not quite as delicate, means that spaghetti is well suited to both light and creamy sauces, as well as hearty meat-based sauces like a bolognese.

Tagliatelle

Tagliatelle

Pexels

Very similar to fettuccine but slightly thicker, tagliatelle looks like flattened spaghetti. The thickness of the noodle means that tagliatelle is often paired with thicker and meatier sauces, but the long flat shape allows it not to overpower lighter cream-based sauces as well.

Penne

Penne Pasta 1

Unsplash

This is a tube-shaped pasta with slanted ends, and is another staple found in many kitchens. The ridges on penne mean that it is able to cling onto sauces, allowing it to pair well with thicker sauces. Penne is also ideal with a chunky sauce as the hollow tubes can pick up bits of meat or veggies.

Macaroni

Macaroni (1)

Unsplash

A favourite amongst children, this pasta shape is best known for being covered in cheese. The shape of macaroni makes it ideal for use in either casseroles or pasta salads.

Farfalle

farfalle pasta

Unsplash

Otherwise known as bow-tie pasta, farfalle is a small pasta shape with a relatively large surface area. This means that it is super versatile and does well in tomato-based sauces, salads and everything in between.

Rigatoni

Rigatoni Pasta (1)

Pexels

Rigatoni are grooved pasta tubes that are slightly larger than penne. Just like penne, the grooves on the noodles mean that it is ideal for holding onto sauces. The size of the tubes means that rigatoni is great for thicker, heartier sauces like a ragù and does really well in pasta bakes.

Ravioli

Ravioli pasta

Unsplash

These are squares of filled pasta dough that can be found at almost any Italian restaurant. Ravioli can be stuffed with anything such as cheese, seafood, or veggies, and served with any sauce, in soup, or even just drizzled in oil.

Gnocchi

gnocchi pasta (1)

Pexels

This type of pasta is made differently from all the others on this list in that is calls for potato as the main ingredient. Gnocchi is therefore more like dumplings in texture, and pairs amazingly well with creamy sauces.

 

SEE MORE: Homemade pasta guide for beginners

Homemade pasta guide for beginners

How to cook dry pasta perfectly

How to cook dry pasta perfectly

Featured image: Heather Gill on Unsplash

Send this to a friend