It's the lifeblood of pantries around the world, the go to dish when you're down (and when you're up), the food of champions, families, students and Michelin-starred restaurants... yes, you guessed it, we're talking Italy's beloved pasta.
If you're Italian, or a pasta purist, there's a lot to know about pasta, from the different shapes to matching the right sauces, and that's before you nail the al dente cooking.
With several hundred varieties of pasta to choose from, from long to short and everything else in between, being on first name terms with pasta, outside of the usual favourites, is something of a memory and recognition challenge.
We take the guess work out of it with these six visual guides that give you all the need to know names of pasta along with serving suggestions, plus a video on how to make homemade pasta straight from the Simili sisters themselves.
This guide serves as a great starting point for learning the basics on matching pasta names with shapes, from acini di pepe all the way through lasagna to ziti. It also tells you the right weight of sauce to pair — be it pesto, a creamy sauce, or a satisfying bolognese — to take you to pasta heaven.
2. Pasta Facts
Become a pasta buff with these top facts to impress your fellow pasta lovers. For instance, did you know that the first written mention of pasta dates back to the year 1154? Or that the best pasta is made from durum wheat? With over 600 types worldwide, there's a lot of pasta out there to discover. And no prizes for guessing which three pasta dishes are the most popular.
3. Pasta Shapes
Is it capellini or capellini d’angelo? Oh wait, maybe it’s just vermicelli. Mamma mia! If you have ever been served up a dish of pasta only to not know what it actually is, or wanted to try it again but didn't know what it was called, this chart is for you. The neat process flow helps you to identify what that pasta on your plate in a restaurant by working backwards through a question tree.
4. 34 Different Pasta Shapes
This is a great quick reference guide for when you need to navigate your way through the complicated world that is Italian pasta names.
If you want to go all out on your pasta knowledge this is the ultimate go to guide. The clear, pictorial layout bunches different types of pasta together in 'pasta families'. A great guide to keep on your wall, or experiment when you fancy throwing a few new shapes into the mix. Even if you don’t get the try all the different varieties, half the fun is in rolling words like farfalline, rigatoncini, and tagliatelle around on your tongue.
6. 20 Pasta Shapes Explained
Food can be a great vehicle for stories. Take a tour around Italy in pasta shapes and learn the origin of the pasta and how it was given its particular name, from the butterfly farfalle to the little spindles of fusilli.
And now… what’s for dinner?
If all that talk of pasta has made you hungry, why not try making your own at home. Here's the Simili sisters to help you. And whether you make or buy the star of this show, the options are endless for putting your newfound pasta knowledge to use. Pick a shape that pairs well with a creaminess and make this three-cheese sauce with fennel. Or if you have an itch for an alliterative aliment, go for penne pasta with pesto. And if you have leftover pasta of any kind, why not put it to use in a frittata with rocket?