How many different types of pasta do you know? How many different types of pasta have you actually tasted?
There’s no definitive number when it comes to the different pasta types there are in the world, and with so many regional variations, historical shapes and differences of opinion, it’s probably not worth arguing over.
One thing is for sure, there are a lot of pasta shapes out there and many of them have very distinct styles and distinct uses.
This food infographic from Chasing Delicious Kitchen 101 takes an encyclopaedic look at pasta and tries to put the world of sizes, shapes and textures into some sort of order.
It looks at everything from minute pasta, to ribbon-cut pasta and those that are filled, and it does a great job of showing just now many different kinds there really are. If you want to impress your Italian friends with your pasta knowledge then this is sure to give you some new information.
The chart is actually available to buy as a poster and we think it would make a great addition to any kitchen wall.
Types of Pasta
Tortelloni are a popular ring-shaped stuffed pasta from the north of Italy, the bigger brother to tortellini. They are often found filled with spinach and ricotta and finished off in a pan with melted butter and sage leaves after boiling.
This special corkscrew shaped pasta hails from Trapani in western Sicily. It is made of durum wheat flour and water, and is usually served with the famous pesto alla Trapanese sauce, as well as fish-based sauces.
This long, thick, corkscrew-shaped pasta originally hails from Southern Italy. Thanks to its spiral shape it is able to imprison delicious sauces, like a classic tomato sauce.
It can also hold its own in simple salads. Try this easy recipe for pasta salad with olives, tomatoes and walnuts.
This popular long, flat, ribbon-like egg pasta hails from central and northern Italy, where it stars in ragù alla bolognese. It is said to have been invented in 1487 in Bologna.
Try making this easy summer dish: tagliatelle with zucchini, peas and basil cream.
This distinctive pasta made with durum wheat, salt and water, hails from Puglia where its particular shape resembling human ears gives it its Italian name: 'orecchia' (ear) and 'ette' (little).
Try this easy hearty vegetarian recipe for orecchiette with beans and rocket pesto.
The Encyclopaedia of different types of pasta
Types of Pasta
- Lasagne ricce
- Spaghetti alla Chitarra
- Fusilli bucati
- Capelli d'angelo
Ribbon cut and long pasta are both perfect with creamy and tomato sauces, really just anything that isn’t too chunky. They are often the most traditional and can be traced back the furthest. Interestingly, two of the most famous long or ribbon pasta exports, spaghetti bolognese (UK) and fettucine alfredo (US) don’t really exist back in the old country.
Pasta with filling
Stuffed pasta filled with rich ingredients has an important place on the Italian dinner table and is often served at celebratory events such as Christmas Eve and New Year. Fillings vary from region to region and can include meat, fish, cheese and vegetarian options. It is generally the filling that takes centre stage, so stuffed pasta is usually best tossed in a light tomato sauce or melted butter with sage.
Short cut pasta
- Cappelli da chef
- Fusilli bucati
- Mezze maniche
Short cut pasta is extremely popular and equally versatile. Often used for hearty sauces, in pasta salads or for baked pasta dishes, many also come in a grooved version to really hold on to all that delicious sauce. Their unique shapes are made with an extruder.
Traditionally hand made by Italian housewives, these shapes are some of the most interesting. Farfalle, or butterflies, originate in Lombardy and Emilia Romagna and are often used in cream-based dishes as well as to liven up kids’ meals! Orecchiette are shaped like little ears, orecchie in Italian, and originate from Puglia in Southern Italy, where they are traditionally served with cime di rape or turnip greens.
These tiny pasta shapes are often used to add heartiness to soups such as minestrone or to salads.