Pasta Shapes Category
For more information about selecting, cooking, and storing pasta in general, click here.
Spaghetti may be the most popular pasta, but a chunkier sauce needs a pasta that can trap and hold it as it travels from plate to mouth. There are many whimsical pasta shapes that do just that, fashioned after such things as shells, corkscrews, wagon wheels, and radiators. Some shapes have ridged surfaces, which give sauces even more to cling to.
Pasta shapes are also easier to eat than rods or ribbons, so they're a good choice if you're serving kids or crowds. Many are also sturdy enough to use in pasta salads and baked casseroles.
Pasta shapes are often given whimsical Italian names that describes their shapes, like radiatori (radiators), lumache (snails), gigli (lilies), farfalle (butterflies), gemelli (twins), orecchiette (little ears), and strozzapreti (priest strangler), which resemble rolled-up towels.
For most dishes, you can use whatever pasta shape suits your fancy, but its usually not a good idea to mix them together, since they often have different cooking times.