Pasta Shapes
Your place for traditional Italian recipes
No one really knows how many pasta variations there are.  Even the names of the same shaped pasta will vary from one region of Italy to another.  This is a list of some of the most commonly available pasta shapes and suggestions for pairing various types of pasta with sauces.

Which Sauce Goes Best with Which Pasta?

The combination of pasta and a tasty sauce is almost a science in itself.  But there are a few simple rules that people generally follow.
In general, long dried pasta strands like spaghetti are matched with thin sauces and thicker pasta tubes and chunky shells are paired with heavier meat
sauces or those with vegetable pieces.

Filled pasta like ravioli and tortellini have so much flavor of their own that they only need to be served with a simple butter sand sage sauce or a very light
tomato sauce.  In the northern regions of Italy, filled pasta is often accompanied by a cream sauce.  Thin fresh pasta should not be overwhelmed by a
powerful sauce either.  A few truffle shavings, a little butter, or a sprinkling of grated Parmesan cheese is sufficient.  Heavier fresh pasta, such as tagliatelle,
are particularly good when served with a strong sauce of mushrooms, cheese, cream, ham, or even fish. 

With dried pasta, the choice of possible combinations is wider.  Because dried pasta does not have a very strong taste, it is more dependent on the
accompanying sauce.  Here the rule of thumb is the bigger the space inside the pasta the more sauce it can absorb. 

See our Sauce Recipes for more pasta and sauce combinations.
AGNOLOTTI: 'Priest's caps": crescent-shaped, meat-filled ravioli

ANELLINI: The smallest pasta rings

BAVETTINE: Narrow linguine

BUCATINI: Short, straight macaroni with a hole in the center

CANNELLONI: Large, round tubes for stuffing

CAPELLI  D'ANGELO: "Angel's hair," the finest of all pasta

CAPPELLETTI: Stuffed "hats"


CAPELVENERE: Fine noodles

CAVATELLI: Short, crinkle-shaped edged shells

CONCHIGLIE: "Conch shells"

CORALLI: Small tubes for soup

CRESTE DI GALLE: "Cocks-combs"

DITALI: "Thimbles", short macaroni

FARFALLE: "Butterflies" or bows

FARFALLONI: "Big butterflies" or bows

FEDELINI: "Little faithful ones", very fine rods of spaghetti

FETTUCCE: "Ribbons",  widest of the fettuccine family

FETTUCCINE: "Narrow ribbons", of egg noodles

FUSILLI: "Little springs", spindles or spirals

LANCETTE: "Little spears"

LASAGNE: Extra broad noodles, about 2 inches wide, smooth or ripple-edged

LINGUE  DI  PASSERI: "Sparrows' tongues"

LINGUINE: "Little tongues", thick, narrow ribbons

LUMACHE: "Snails", shell-shaped

MACCHERONI:  Macaroni of all types: hollow or pierced

MACCHERONI  ALLA  CHITARRA:  Noodles cut with the steel wires of a special guitarlike tool

MAFALDA: Broad noodles, rippled on both sides, wider than fettuccine

MAGLIETTE: "Links", slightly curved, short lengths of hollow pasta

MALTAGLIATI: Irregularly cut shapes

MANICOTTI:  "Muffs", giant tubes for stuffing

MARGHERITA: "Daisies", narrow noodles, rippled on one side

MARUZZE: :Seashells"

MEZZANI: Short, cut, curved macaroni

MOSTACCIOLI: "Little moustaches"

OCCHI  DI  LUPO:  "Wolf"s eyes", large tubes

OCCHI  DI  PASSERI: "Sparrows' eyes", tiny circles

ORECCHIETTE:  "Little ears"

ORZO: Rice-shaped or barley-shaped pasta

PAPPARDELLE: Broad noodles, traditionally served with game sauces

PASTA FRESCA: Fresh egg pasta

PASTA VERDE: Green pasta, usually incorporating spinach in the dough

PASTINA: "Tiny dough", minute pasta shapes used in soup

PENNE: "Pens" or  quills, tubes cut diagonally at both ends

PERCIATELLI: Long thin hollow macaroni, looks like thick spaghetti, with a hole in the center

PIZZOCCHERI: Thick, dark buckwheat noodles

QUADRETTINI: Small flat squares

RAVIOLI: Pasta squares filled with meat, cheese, and/or vegetables

RICCIOLINI: Little curls"

RIGATONI: Large grooved macaroni

ROTELLI: "Small wheels"

ROTINI: Spirals or twists

ROUTE: Spiked wheels with hubs

Variety of long thin rods, including capellini (very thin)

TAGLIATELLE: Family of egg noodles similar to fettuccine

TORTELLINI: Small, stuffed pasta similar to cappelletti

TRENTETTE: A narrower, thicker version of tagliatelle

TUBETTI: "Small tubes", hollow

VERMICELLI: Very fine spaghetti

ZITI: "Bridegrooms", slightly curved large tubes
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