So Many Pasta Shapes, So Little Time!
Anyone who’s ever shopped for pasta at a supermarket knows there is an enormous variety available. However, chances are there are even more types of pasta than you’ve seen at your grocery store. Some estimate that there are about 350 different types of pasta around the world, while others estimate that it is closer to 600.
Either way, that’s a lot of types of pasta– why do we have so many different shapes anyways? Was some Italian chef just overly-excited about making new types of pasta, or is there a rhyme or reason behind the extensive variety?
While there are some exceptions, it largely comes down to the one ingredient pasta is most often paired with: sauces. Between classic chunky spaghetti sauces, different oils, cheesy alfredos and more, there are just as many types of sauces as there types of pasta. Different pastas hold different sauces better than others, meaning chefs created pasta shapes to suit their needs. Of course, a lot of it comes down to personal preference and aesthetics as well– everyone has their own favorite kind of pasta, and there’s always some pasta we like just because of the way it looks.
In your own cooking, it’s more straightforward than it seems to pick the right pasta for your dish. As a rule of thumb, simple, thin sauces are best for long and thin pasta. Tomato sauces, thicker and chunkier sauces call for short, tubular and twisted pastas, like penne. Below, we’ve outlined some guidelines for the most common pasta shapes:
- Spaghetti. The most enduring and beloved pasta of all, this one is great for thin tomato sauces.
- Linguini. After spaghetti, this is possibly the most popular type of pasta. It’s a lot like spaghetti, but it’s flattened rather than tubular. As a result, it has a more formal appearance and it also holds onto thin, creamy sauces better than regular spaghetti.
- Penne. These are the short, hollow tubes that are most commonly used in mostaccioli. They are cut at an angle and feature ridges, which makes them great for thicker tomato sauces. The ridges allow heavier sauces to cling to the pasta.
- Ravioli. The appeal and purpose of ravioli is easy to see: it holds delicious cheeses, meats and stuffings that other pasta doesn’t. Not a hard sell for anyone that’s eaten it before!
- Farfalle. These are the ones that everyone recognizes as looking like bowties. Aside from being very nice to look at, they’re great for holding a variety of sauces and pasta salads.
- Tortellini. These look a little bit like belly buttons, and are often referred to as such. Tortellini is best used for broth.
Of course, these are all just guidelines– you should feel free to use these pastas for whatever dish you like. Pierino offers a wide variety of pastas for any dish imaginable, allowing your restaurant or company to make show-stopping meals with the best pasta on the market. Combining generations of experience in making pasta with a top-of-the-line production facility, there’s no one better suited to supply your pasta needs than Pierino.