Are you stuck making the same pasta dish for dinner every week and looking for something different? We know that pasta is a go-to for most families, especially on busy weeknights, and the thought of having to prepare a new dish can be daunting. Changing up your pasta routine by incorporating different types of pasta shapes may be the answer to changing up your routine. Varying pasta shapes can also dictate what sauce may pair well with a recipe, which can even spice up your dinner. This article describes the differences between the most common types of pasta.
I think we can all agree that spaghetti has been a household staple for decades. Spaghetti is known for its thin, round width and its long length. Best of all, it’s easy to twirl around your fork. Chefs indicate that spaghetti has grown to be versatile with most sauce pairings. Traditionally, creamy or oily sauces only paired with long noodles, but the rise of marinara sauce and “spaghetti and meatballs” has contributed to the popularity of this type of pasta.
Another favorite long noodle is fettuccine, known for its wide width and thick texture compared to other long noodles such as spaghetti or linguine. For this reason, fettuccine often pairs best with heavy cream-based sauces, which is why fettuccine Alfredo has become one of the most popular pasta recipes around the globe. Fettucine noodles are often anywhere from 6-12 inches in length and perfect for hungry pasta lovers.
Macaroni pasta is one of the most popular in the world, which makes sense because it is thought to have multiple origins. Food historians believe that macaroni could have originated from Arab, Italian, and Sicilian cultures. Traditional macaroni is a thin tubed pasta no longer than an inch in length. Some recipes call for elbow macaroni, which is essentially the same pasta, except for its curved pasta shape, not straight. While cheese-based sauces are the most common pairing with macaroni, the pasta is also often paired with hearty tomato sauces for goulash.
Penne pasta is a short, tubed pasta often cut with angled ends. Penne noodles tend to be wider than macaroni pasta, but typically measure less than a half-inch in width. Traditional penne noodles are smooth and often get misidentified as penne rigate, which is penne with ridges on the outside. Penne noodles are versatile and pair well with most sauces. This tube-shaped pasta is also great for baking. For example, you often find them in pasta bakes and casseroles. Check out this Italian sausage pasta bake recipe, for instance.