How do you rate this?
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars6 Stars7 Stars8 Stars9 Stars10 Stars
(224 votes, average: 7.82 out of 10)

Share This Article

Strozzapreti_PastaMarco Polo DID NOT return to Italy with pasta from China. This legend is false. In fact, pasta was invented by Italians and has become symbolic of their dedication to perfection and pride in the kitchen.

History of Pasta

Ancient Rome was the birthplace of fresh pasta (pasta fresca),which was made by adding water to semolina-flour. This vital ingredient is made from durum wheat, a thriving crop in Italy’s temperate climate. Unlike the dried pasta found at your local grocery store today, fresh pasta was meant to be eaten immediately. The Arab invasions of Sicily in the 8th Century are thought to be the origins of dried pasta (pasta secca). At the time, Palermo was producing mass quantities of the new product. Some Arabian influence can still be found in select recipes, using ingredients such as raisins and cinnamon.

In the 1300’s, dried pasta became very popular for use on long nautical expeditions because of its shelf-life and nutrition. These voyages contributed to pasta’s worldwide appeal and led to advances in its form and technology. Back in Italy, pasta was slowly migrating north to Naples and reached its destination in the 17th Century. A few historical events boosted pasta to a national icon. It became a kitchen staple during the Risorgimento (Italian Unification) in the mid 1860’s. Italian political and military figure Giuseppe Garibaldi introduced the country to La Scienza in cucina e l’Arte I Mangiar bene, a cookbook written in 1891 by Pellegrino Artusi that featured pasta. Tomato sauce was introduced to Italy in the 19th Century but was met with skepticism. The tomato, being a member of the nightshade family, was considered inedible in many regions; fortunately, those rumors were put to rest shortly thereafter. The last major event to influence pasta’s early history was the Italian Diaspora, a mass migration of Italians from their country in the time between the Unification and World War I. These times of hardship led Italians to take even more pride in refining the art of cooking.

Types of Pasta

There are two major classifications: pasta fresca (fresh) and pasta secca (dried). From here, there are more than 400 unique types of pasta: sheets, strips, long strands, cylinders, unique shapes, flavors, and many other local varieties. There are more names for pasta than the mind can retain, yet all are made from the same basic ingredients — 100% durum wheat and water with a specific percentage of acidity and humidity under Italian law. Varying from the basics, light flavors and colors can be added to pasta with egg yolk, spinach, tomato paste, chocolate, and even squid ink. Each of these pastas creates its own unique dining experience when properly served. Another crucial aspect of the experience is pasta being married with an appropriate, complimentary sauce. The individual shape and texture given to pasta can be somewhat of a code in determining the proper sauce. A simple rule of thumb would be as follows: thick pasta = thick sauce, light pasta = light sauce.

Pasta fresca, the starting point of all pastas, is created with higher humidity, and some types only exist in this category. Variations can often be regional. Northern Italy is known to use all-purpose flour and eggs, while southern Italy uses the standard semolina and water mixture. Reputed to have the best pasta fresca in Italy, the Emilia-Romagna region often serves fresh pasta with cream sauces. Another regional variation could be found in Piedmont where butter and black truffles are a common ingredient. Other ingredients vary, from potatoes to ricotta.

Special tools are used when making dried pasta. First, the pasta is forced through holes in a die-plate and onto sheets for cutting. The next step is drying. Pasta secca is only considered real pasta if it is made in the proper Italian way, slow-drying it for upwards of fifty hours in a copper mold, and then in the open air. The rest of the world usually dries pasta in steel molds at extremely high temperatures for short periods of time, resulting in an inferior product. Italians take pride in their method and can be proud of a smoother tasting, quicker cooking pasta that can hold on to its sauce.


Shapes of Pasta

The following table maps out the various shapes and forms of pasta:

Unique Shapes

Name Description Translation
Campanelle Flattened bell-shaped pasta with a frilly edge on one end Little bells
Capunti Short convex ovals resembling an open empty pea pod
Casarecce Short lengths rolled into an S shape From casereccio meaning homemade
Cavatelli Short, solid lengths From the verb cavare meaning to hollow
Cencioni Petal shaped, slightly curved with rough convex side Little rags
Conchiglie Seashell shaped Shells
Conchiglioni Large, stuffable seashell-shaped Large shells
Corzetti Flat figure-eight stamped
Creste di Galli Short, curved and ruffled Cocks’ combs
Croxetti Flat coin-shaped discs stamped with coats of arms Little crosses
Fantolioni Panda-shaped bow-ties commonly served with boiled olives Pre-packaged pandas
Farfalle Bow tie or butterfly shaped Butterflies
Farfallone Larger bowties Large butterfly
Fiorentine Grooved cut tubes Florentine
Fiori Shaped like a flower Little flowers
Foglie d’ulivo Shaped like an olive leaf Olive leaf
Fusilli Three-edged spiral, usually in mixed colors. Many vendors and brands sold as fusilli are two-edged From fusile, archaic/dialect form of fucile, meaning rifle. As the inside barrel of a gun is “rifled” using a similar screw-shaped device
Fusilli Bucati A spring-shaped variety of the above Holed rifles
Gemelli A single S-shaped strand of pasta twisted in a loose spiral Twins
Gigli Cone or flower shaped Lilies
Gnocchi Round in shape and often made with flour plus potatoes From the Italian gnocco, meaning “a knot in wood”
Gramigna Short, curled lengths of pasta Scutch-grass; more generically, “infesting weed”
Lanterne Curved ridges Lantern holders
Lumache Snail-shaped From lumaca, meaning snail
Lumaconi Jumbo lumache Large snails
Maltagliati Flat roughly cut triangles Badly cut
Mandala Designed by Philippe Starck in 1987 for French pasta-maker Panzani Design based on compensating for overcooking
Marille Designed by Giorgetto Guigiaro in 1983 – like a rolling ocean wave in cross-section with internal rugosities, but unsuccessful and no longer produced From mare, meaning “sea”
Orecchiette Bowl or ear shaped pasta Little ears
Pipe Larger version of macaroni Smoking pipes
Quadrefiore Square with rippled edges Flower quadrants
Radiatore Shaped like radiators Radiator
Ricciolini Short wide pasta with a 90-degree twist From riccio, curly
Ricciutelle Short spiraled pasta From riccio, curly
Rotelle Wagon wheel-shaped pasta Little wheels (from ruota-wheel)
Rotini 2-edged spiral, tightly wound. Some vendors and brands are 3-edged and sold as rotini
Spirali A tube which spirals round Spirals
Spiralini More tightly-coiled fusilli Little spirals
Strangolapreti Rolled across their width Priest-chokers or priest-stranglers
Torchio Torch-shaped Winepress
Trofie Thin twisted pasta

Tubular Pasta

Name Description Translation
Bucatini Hollow spaghetti Little holes
Calamarata Wide ring shaped pasta Squid (also known as “calamari”)
Calamaretti Smaller Calamarata
Cannelloni Large stuffable tubes Big pipes or reeds
Cavatappi Corkscrew-shaped macaroni Corkscrews; also known as Cellentani and Spirali
Cellentani Corkscrew-shaped tube
Chifferi Short and wide macaroni
Ditalini Short tubes, like elbows but shorter and without a bend Small fingers
Fideua Short and thin tubes
Gomito Maccheroni Bent tubes Elbow macaroni
Elicoidali Slightly ribbed tube pasta; the ribs are corked as opposed to those on rigatoni Helicoidal
Fagioloni Short narrow tube Little beans
Garganelli Square egg noodle rolled into a tube
Maccheroni As long as a little finger, usually striped
Maccheroncelli Hollow pencil-shaped pasta
Maltagliati Short wide pasta with diagonally cut ends Roughly cut
Manicotti Large ridged tubes that are stuffed Sleeves, from the Italian word manica
Mezzani Pasta Short curved tube From Mezzo meaning half-size
Mezze Penne Short version of penne Half-pens
Mezze Bombardoni Short, wide tubes Half bombards
Mostaccioli Sometimes mistakenly used as another name for Penne, Mostaccioli differ in that they do not have ridges. Mostaccioli are also called Penne Lisce or “smooth penne” Mustaches
Paccheri Large tube
Pasta al Ceppo Shaped like a cinnamon stick
Penne Medium length tubes with ridges, cut diagonally at both ends Literally “pens” because the tip is similar to that of a quill, or fountain pen
Penne Rigate Penne with ridged sides
Penne Lisce Penne with smooth sides
Penne Zita Wider version of penne
Pennette Short thin version of penne
Pennoni Wider version of penne
Perciatelli Thicker bucatini From the verb Perciare meaning “Hollow inside”
Rigatoncini Smaller version of rigatoni
Rigatoni Large and slightly curved tube From riga, meaning line: rigatoni is pasta with lines (large). Rigato or rigate, when added to another pasta name means lined, or, with ridges added, as in “spaghetti rigati”
Sagne Incannulate Long tube formed of twisted ribbon
Trenne Penne shaped as a triangle
Trennette Smaller version of trenne
Tortiglioni Narrower rigatoni From the verb Torcere meaning “to twist.” Twisted, wringed
Tuffoli Ridged rigatoni
Ziti Long, narrow hose-like tubes
Zitoni Wider version of Ziti

Strand Pasta

Name Description Translation
Spaghettoni Thick spaghetti Thick little twine
Spaghetti Most common round-rod pasta Spago means twine, spaghetto means little twine, spaghetti is plural
Spaghettini Thin spaghetti Thin little twine
Fedelini Between spaghetti and vermicelli in size Little faithful ones
Vermicelloni Thick vermicelli Thick little worms
Vermicelli Thicker than capellini, thinner than fedelini Little worms
Capellini Thinner than vermicelli, thicker than angel hair Fine hair
Capellini d’angelo Thinnest round-rod pasta Angel hair

In order of thickest to thinnest.

Various Strand Pasta

Name Description Translation
Barbina Thin strands often coiled into nests Little beards
Spaghetti alla Chitarra Similar to spaghetti, except square rather than round, and made of egg in addition to flour Named after the device used to cut the pasta, which has a wooden frame strung with metal wires. Sheets of pasta are pressed down onto the device, and then the wires are “strummed” so that the slivers of pasta fall through
Ciriole Thicker version of chitarra
Fusilli Lunghi Very long coiled rods (like a thin telephone cord) Long rifles
Pici Very thick, long, hand rolled

Ribbon Pasta

Name Description Translation
Bavette Narrower version of tagliatelle Little thread
Bavettine Narrower version of bavette
Fettuce Wider version of fettuccine Ribbons
Fettuccine Ribbon of pasta approximately 6.5 millimeters wide Little ribbons
Fettucelle Narrower version of fettuccine
Lagane Wide noodles
Lasagne Very wide noodles that often have fluted edges Cooking pot
Lasagnette Narrower version of lasagne
Lasagnotte Longer version of lasagna
Linguettine Narrower version of linguine
Linguine Flattened spaghetti Little tongues
Mafalde Short rectangular ribbons
Mafaldine Long ribbons with ruffled sides
Pappardelle Thick flat ribbon
Pillus Very thin ribbons
Pizzoccheri Ribbon pasta made from buckwheat
Reginette Wide ribbon with rippled edges Little queens
Sagnarelli Rectangular ribbons with fluted edges
Sciatelli of Sciatelli Home-made long spaghetti with a twisted long spiral
Stringozzi Similar to shoelaces From stringhe, meaning shoestrings
Tagliatelle Ribbon fairly thinner than fettucine From “tagliare” – to cut
Taglierini Thinner version of Tagliatelle
Trenette Thin ribbon ridged on one side
Tripoline Thick ribbon ridged on one side

Micro Pasta

Name Description Translation
Acini di Pepe Bead-like pasta Peppercorns
Anelli Small rings of pasta Rings
Anellini Smaller version of Anelli Little rings
Conchigliette Small shell shaped pasta Little shells
Corallini Small short tubes of pasta Little corals
Ditali Small short tubes Thimbles
Ditalini Smaller version of Ditali Little thimbles
Farfalline Small bow tie shaped pasta Either bowties or little butterflies
Fideos Short thin pasta
Filini Smaller version of Fideos Thin threads; (from filo, meaning thread)
Fregula Bead-like pasta from Sardinia
Funghini Small mushroom shaped pasta Little mushrooms
Ochi di Pernice Very small rings of pasta Partridge’s eyes
Orzo Rice shaped pasta, also “Risoni” Barley
Pastina Small spheres about the same size or smaller than Acini di Pepe Little pasta
Pearl Pasta Spheres slightly larger than Acini di Pepe
Quadrettini Small flat squares of pasta Little squares
Risi Smaller version of Orzo Little rice
Seme di Melone Small seed shaped pasta Melon seeds
Stelle Small star-shaped pasta Stars
Stelline Smaller version of Stelle Little stars
Stortini Smaller version of elbow macaroni Little crooked ones
Trachana Granular, irregular shaped pasta of Greek origin

Stuffed Pasta

Name Description Translation
Agnolotti Semi-circular pockets; can be stuffed with ricotta or mix of cheese and meats or pureed vegetables Lambs’ ears
Cannelloni Oven cooked, stuffed rolls of pasta Big tubes
Casoncelli A semi-circular stuffed pasta, specifically associated with the style alla bergamasca, which is stuffed with a mixture of bread crumbs, egg, cheese, ground beef, salami, raisins, Amaretti biscuits, pear, and garlic
Fagottini A ‘purse’ or bundle of pasta, made from a round of dough gathered into a ball-shaped bundle, often stuffed with ricotta and fresh pear Little purses
Mezzelune Semi-circular pockets; about 2.5 in. diameter Half-moons
Occhi di Lupo A large, penne shaped pasta that is stuffed Eyes of the Wolf
Panzerotti Pasta made from eggs cheese and flour
Pelmeni Meat-filled dumplings, usually served in broth
Pierogi Dumplings filled with meat, vegetables, cheese or fruit
Ravioli Square. About 3x3cm. Stuffed with cheese, ground meat, pureed vegetables, or mixtures thereof Possibly from rapa, “turnip”
Sacchettini Little sacks
Tortellini Ring-shaped. Stuffed with a mixture of meat and cheese
Tortelloni Larger version of Tortellini


36 Responses to Pasta

  1. ashok thakur says:

    good knwlde about of pasta

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 8
  2. aime says:

    Can you provide an updated list with photos for visual learners.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 4
  3. Add pictures (that are labeld)of diffent types of pasta :)

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 4
  4. Pingback: different types of water heaters | FilesDrag - Search Engine for Shared Files

  5. Pingback: different types of baby food | Baby Product Deal of The Day

  6. janice wilson says:

    i have been trying to find linguine in out stores here , but cant , i love the linguine with pesto and tomato flavor .. where do i find it thank you

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 4
  7. Mel says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 7
  8. goasvi dhananjay keshav says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 6
  9. roshan salins says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 6
  10. Iubna hayat says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 8
  11. Anonymous says:

    cool dude

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4
  12. Barbara says:

    Had fegottini, ” little purse”, in Monterossa, Cinque Terre, at XX Verdi, and was stuffed with puréed pear and cheese. Was Devine!

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 5
  13. Anonymous says:

    thats so cool

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4
  14. It’s amazing to know there are so many different types of pasta. Most people only know 5-6 varieties

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3
  15. Teresa Ellis says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3
  16. Atiya says:

    Add the pictures with the names please so one understand easily

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3
  17. Atiya says:


    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2
  18. Anonymous says:

    interesting facts, even for children.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2
  19. Lisa says:

    I never knew that there were more than 600 types of pasta.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3
  20. wow real fact,pasta good for health.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2
  21. Nick says:

    What about capeletti?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2
  22. Pingback: Types of Italian Pasta | Family Cooking | Food - Share Your Favorite Link

  23. Pingback: Types of Dry Pasta | Family Cooking | Food - Share Your Favorite Link

  24. ami says:

    I think if the accompanied image would be great, thanks for info. I like :)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2
  25. Pingback: A penne for your thoughts | In My Own Kitchen

  26. Pingback: Pasta Primavera with Zucchini, Mushrooms and Chard - Mother Rimmy's Cooking Light Done Right

  27. Mary says:

    1) The word gnocco means dumpling.
    2) The word gnocchi is from the Italian word nocca or knuckle.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1
    • Well, half correct!
      gnocco is a dumpling, gnocchi is the plural.
      nocca is knuckle, nocche is the plural!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1
      • Sara says:

        Ah Ha!…You have just settled a decades old argument between my husband and I! I grew up with chicken and dumplings, dumplings being bread cooked floating on top of the chicken soup! My husbands grandmother made chicken soup with what he insisted was dumplings! What he was calling dumplings are what I have always said is not because it is more like paste made with flour egg and milk, what I call(not to his face)pinch noodles because she just pinched off bits into the chicken soup. These pinch noodles are much like misshapen gnocchi!…so all these decade we were both right she just didn’t take the time to shape the “dumplings”….lol

        Thank you!

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1
  28. EatAllNite says:

    Great Info And Expalin Very Well

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  29. guay joy says:

    where did you refer the kind of pasta

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  30. C. Alexia Fazeli says:

    This is such a great source of information. Thanks for posting :)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  31. Taliiwo Tom says:

    It’s such a good page for a chef like me to read.Continue to provide such information.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  32. damion pegg says:

    in-depth knowledge. thanks for taking time to share.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  33. Mary says:

    Looking to buy the pasta called ruffles and can’t find it anymore. Did they change the name?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  34. my web blog engagement rings for sale (

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

Leave a comment