The World of Pasta: Discovering Your Favorite Shape

Penne Pasta

Photo by: Christian Cable via

When you buy pasta, do you always buy the same shape? Or do you try out different ones and pair them with different sauces for more variety? If you’re just starting out in your own home kitchen, chances are that pasta is something you’re gravitating toward because it is simple and delicious. If you’re constantly making spaghetti and red sauce, it’s time to liven things up! Here’s your guide to decoding the shapes and names of pasta to add some pizazz to your meals!


Fusili All'Arribbiata

Photo by: Narotake Murayama via: 


If you’re in need of something twisted, this pasta is long and shaped like a corkscrew. It’s great for retaining thin sauces like pesto or an arrabbiata (spicy tomato) sauce.

 Italian Penne Pasta

Photo by: Cinzia via:


Penne is shaped like a cylinder. It’s wonderful with thicker sauces because they get inside the cylindrical tubes and add to the enjoyment of your dish.

 Italian Cavatelli Pasta

Photo by: Jameson Fink via:


Made from eggless semolina dough, this type of pasta is often described as looking like little tiny hot dog buns. This pasta is amazing with creamy or meaty sauces because they get trapped inside the crevice of the pasta.

 Fettuccine Alfredo

Photo by: Meal Makeover Moms via:

Fettuccine & Tagliatelle

This thick, flat pasta is created with eggs and flour. It’s a wider variety of pasta and is the perfect base for creamy, cheesy, meaty, butter or even oil-based sauces. Matriciani pasta is very similar in thickness and shape and can also be used with these types of sauces.

 Italian Pappardelle Pasta

Photo by: Edsel Little via:


Like fettuccine, pappardelle is very wide and flat. It’s a hefty style of pasta so it pairs beautifully with rich creamy sauces or decadently heavy meat sauces.

Italian Bucatini Pasta

Photo by: stu_spivack via:


It’s almost like spaghetti in that it’s long and thick. But the difference with bucatini is that it has a hole in the center. It works well with tomato sauce that can seep deep down into its holes, or for baked pasta dishes.

 Italian Capelini Angel Hair Pasta

Photo by: jeffreyw via:


Capellini is the official name of what you’ve probably known as “angel hair.” It’s extremely thin and long, almost delicate in nature. It goes best with thinner, lighter sauces.

So now that you know a little more about pasta and some of the different varieties it comes in, which one will you be serving for dinner tonight?


Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published