When it comes to variety and versatility, there is no food group quite like pasta. In fact, it so popular, and so prevalent in many cultures, no one is really sure of its true origin. When we think of Italian pasta, the first thing that comes to mind is the wonderful array of shapes. From the classic spaghetti strand to the delightful twist of fusilli, there is a pasta shape for every type of recipe.
Here is a quick guide to some of our favorite pasta shapes:
Fusilli: Otherwise known as the corkscrew pasta, fusilli is the perfect shape to capture and absorb the sauce. It is popular in cold salads as well as when paired up with a hearty meat sauce or baked in a casserole.
Penne: The cylinder shape of penne pasta originated in southern Italy’s Campania region. The angle cut gives penne its distinctive “pen” look. It come in all sizes and sometimes with ridges know as penne rigate.
Rigatoni: Baked rigatoni is an Italian classic that features this large tube-shaped pasta. Unlike the diagonal cut of penne, rigatoni has a perpendicular cut and features ridges for a soaking up a favorite sauce. Try creating the popular rigatoni pie by tightly standing the shells on end in a circular baking dish. Cover with a hearty meat sauce and cheese and bake just like a lasagna.
Farfalle: More commonly referred to as “bow tie” pasta, farfalle is the Italian word for butterfly. One of the more versatile pasta shapes, farfalle can be found in soups, cold salads, or paired with almost any type of sauce.
Linguine: Flatter and slightly wider than spaghetti, linguine is the traditional pasta served with seafood dishes such as shrimp scampi or clams and marinara. Linguine originated in the Liguria section of Italy, known for its picturesque fishing villages nestled amongst its many coves.