Have you ever noticed that when you go out to eat at an Italian restaurant, or even to your favorite grocery store, the choices of pasta is nearly limitless? There is every kind of different shape and size of pasta that you can imagine. Truly, it can be overwhelming at times trying to figure it all out. What are all these different kinds of pasta for? How can you determine what is what? Let's take a closer look at all the various kinds of pasta and what they are used for.
Spaghetti. This is an easy one. It's one food that we all know and love. Spaghetti comes in a box, or a bag, in long thin strands. You cook it in boiling water and mix it into your favorite spaghetti sauce recipe.
Ravioli. Here is another pretty easy one for everybody. Ravioli is a small, square shaped pasta that is stuffed with several different fillings like meat, cheese, mushrooms, sausage, etc. Ravioli can be topped with tomato sauce and can even come toasted.
Macaroni. One of the all-time favorites! Macaroni is a small, hollow tube pasta. It is used mainly in cooking macaroni and cheese.
Cannelloni. Cannelloni is also a hollow tube pasta, but it is much larger than macaroni. Cannelloni is stuffed with different meat sauce mixtures and also will have various cheeses baked in the middle.
Linguine and Fettuccine. These pastas are know as ribbon noodles due to the fact they are long, stringy and flat. They can come in many different lengths. These noodles are a delicious food with creamy sauces mixed onto them such as Alfredo sauce.
Tortellini. Tortellini is yet another type of stuffed pasta. They come in half circle pieces that are folded over and stuffed with meat, cheese, sausage, or other ingredients. You can also pour your favorite sauce over the top of this delicious food.
Vermicelli. Vermicelli is a very fine, thin string of pasta. It is also known as "angel hair" pasta. It can be used with a creamy sauce of your choice, or used with other items such as crab, or shrimp. Many times vermicelli is formed together to form a type of nest that will hold the crab, or shrimp on top of it.
Conghiglie. This pasta is shaped like small shells. There are many different sizes of conghiglie. From tiny pasta shells that are good for using in soups, to larger sizes that can be stuffed. This type of pasta is a favorite food in pasta salads.
Farfalle. Farfalle is a pasta that is bow shaped and also used mainly in different pasta salads.
Fusilli. Fusilli is a thin spiral shaped pasta that is good in pasta salads. It is also good with different styles of sauces.
Lasagna. Lasagna is perhaps the best of all the different pastas. These are long, wide strips of pasta that are layered with fillings between them. These fillings can include meat, sausage, cheese, mushrooms and about anything else you can think of. More cheese is piled on top and then baked in the oven.
This list should help you the next time you see a pasta that you're unfamiliar with. No matter what shape or size, pasta is a favorite on everyone's list of great tasting foods!