There are so many different kinds of Italian pasta – you can make endless varieties of dishes when you mix and match pasta types with different sauces and fillings.
All of these are equally delicious, and you can make them at home fairly quickly, particularly if you have a pasta maker. Pasta makers allow you to play with all kinds of shapes and textures to make the most of your love for pasta.
Here are some examples of some worldwide favorites when it comes to types of pasta.
Lasagna is one of the oldest pasta types and is a type of flat pasta that is cut into sheets. A common theory of the origin of the word is that it comes from the Greek word laganon. This word means a flat sheet of dough that is – you guessed it – cut into strips.
Lasagna is brilliant for making layers of noodles with cheese, meat sauce, and a creamy béchamel sauce. Some lasagna noodles are ridged at the edges to help the sauce cling to the noodles.
Fettucine are long and wide strands of pasta and often features in restaurants. Fettucine is delicious when made with a chicken Alfredo or seafood sauce. Cream sauces also work well with fettucine, as well as thick or thin sauces. Fettucine is similar to the wider tagliatelle noodles. The word “fettucine” in Italian means “small ribbons.”
Tortellini is an Italian ring-shaped pasta that is stuffed with a meat and cheese or vegetable and cheese filling. Often tortellini are stuffed with pork loin and raw prosciutto, with added mortadella. Other fillings are spinach and ricotta, mushrooms and tomato sauce, or three cheese and herb. There are also larger versions of tortellini, called tortelloni.
Ravioli is another type of stuffed Italian pasta, though these are made with the filling between two thin dough shapes. Ravioli often has similar types of fillings to tortellini but has a different mouth feel because of the flatness of the dough shapes. The traditional form of ravioli is square, though you can find circular and semi-circular shaped ravioli as well. Ravioli is usually served in either a broth or a sauce such as a Pomodoro or a cream-based sauce.
Penne pasta is in thin tubes and is often served with chunky marinara or pesto sauces. Penne comes in various flavors, the most popular being egg and spinach. Some forms of penne pasta have ridges that allow more of the sauce to cling to the pasta for maximum flavor. Penne is often used in salads or covered with olive oil, salt, and pepper for a simple meal.
Linguine translated means “little tongues” and is a flatter and longer type of spaghetti. Traditional sauces for linguine are white sauce with clams, a pesto cream sauce, a garlic and herb sauce, or a Bolognese. Many people also enjoy a red Arrabiatta sauce or a cream-based Carbonara sauce with linguine.
We couldn’t exclude spaghetti from this list, as it’s one of the most popular kinds of Italian pasta, particularly with children. Spaghetti is typically made from durum wheat semolina and is sometimes enriched with vitamins and minerals.
Spaghetti is most commonly served with a red sauce and meatballs, but cream sauces are popular, too.
8. Angel hair pasta
Angel hair pasta is similar to spaghetti, but the strands are finer and more delicate. This pasta is perfect for thin and light tomato or oil-based sauces and is faster to cook, taking about 5 minutes. Seafood and pesto sauces are also popular with angel hair pasta. Angel hair pasta is often used as a substitute for spaghetti.
The very thin variety of angel hair pasta is called Capellini, which comes from Capelli d’angelo, or “angel hair.”
9. Elbow macaroni
Elbow macaroni is recognizable by the C-shaped tubes. This pasta type is very versatile and can be found in soups such as minestrone or chicken soup. Elbow macaroni also features in salads (think tuna and pasta salad) or in baked casseroles. Ideal sauces for macaroni have a buttery or cheesy base. Cooking time is about 6 to 8 minutes.
Ziti pasta is a type of tube pasta that’s a bit thicker and can be stuffed with ricotta cheese and herbs, a meat filling, or other types of pasta fillings. Ziti makes tasty baked casseroles, and it takes 10 to 12 minutes to cook. Pesto sauce, cheese-based sauces, tomato sauces, or cream sauces all work well with ziti.