10 Common Pasta Types and Dishes They are Used For

Italian immigrants to North America brought with them their rich culture and history of pasta, of which the most well-known is Italian pasta. In the Early Modern Period, Italian peasants and city slickers made their noodles in large quantities as they did their arid bread and cereals. By the end of the 17th century, however, when the first mass production of pasta began in the Italian city of Bologna, a new trend had emerged. Instead of working in the kitchen, hand-made noodles were placed on tabletops and quickly became a staple diet for Italian town dwellers.

For thousands of years, different types of noodles had different names across the globe. In India, the word “pasta” referred only to the dough made from wheat and similar kinds of pasta used in India and Tibet. In Spain and Portugal, pasta was referred to as the round white ronged disks cooked with oil and served hot. The history of pasta can also be traced to Italian food, where the filling was considered to be rich and delicious. Fettuccine, a much simpler dough, became the common dough for pasta dishes in Italian cuisine.

Pasta dishes have played an important part in Italian cooking for over two thousand years. From early Italian cooking to modern Italian cooking, pasta has become an integral part of Italian cuisine, whether simple or delicious, and it is easy to see why. 

The classic Italian pasta recipe generally consists of pasta, bacon or pancetta (or any pork belly meat), eggs, and parmesan. But aside from this, other Italian pasta dishes utilises different types of pasta and sauces. Here are some of the pasta types and the dishes they suit well:

Spaghetti. It is a long, thin pasta that can be partnered with many sauces. This pasta is probably the most famous pasta type in the world. Furthermore, spaghetti Bolognese, which consists of pasta with meat and marinara sauce, is also perhaps the most well-known spaghetti dish. Spaghetti noodles can be used in any type of meat or vegetable dish. It can also be great paired with garlic and olive oil.

Linguine. It is very similar to fettuccine and spaghetti but is slightly smaller and not as wide. This pasta can be served with cream-based sauces and dishes with lighter textures, such as seafood, because of its larger surface area.

Fusilli. It is a spiral-shaped pasta that is generally likened to a corkscrew. Because of its shape, fusilli pasta adds an exciting twist to any dish. It works well with thick meat sauces and chunky vegetables because the pasta’s twirls accumulate heavy sauces and chunks. Moreover, this pasta type is so flexible that it can also be used in both oven-baked dishes and pasta salads.

Macaroni. It is a pasta that comes in small tubes that are shaped like a C. They are narrow and cut to very short lengths. This pasta can be used for many different dishes. While it is best known for its use with the dish Macaroni and Cheese, it can be used to make appetisers like butter and cheese and chicken soup.

Penne. It is a tube of pasta made from unleavened dough that has been rolled out and then cut into small pieces. Penne pasta can be made with any dish that combines meat sauce, cheeses, mushrooms, garlic, and onions.

These are only some of the common pasta types used in pasta recipes. There are more types of pasta that you need to be aware of, particularly if you are planning to create a pasta dish of your own. 

The pasta types are categorised accordingly: 

Long pasta (spaghetti, fettuccine, and linguine) is the most popular and well-known pasta shape, which you will find in every grocery store. These are thin, long ribbons that can be cooked in creamy sauces. 

Tubular pasta can be distinguishable from other types because of its hollow centre. Pasta types in this category (penne, macaroni, rigatoni, fusilli, and farfalle) are popularly served with a heavy sauce. In addition, they can also be used in salads and casserole dishes. 

Sheet pasta (lasagne) is best used in oven-baked dishes, like Lasagne al Forno or Lasagna, as this type of pasta holds up well in the oven. 

Lastly, filled pasta (ravioli) is the type of pasta that has stuffing inside and comes in various appearances. Ravioli is the most popular type of filled pasta, and it is often loaded with cheese, seafood, vegetables, or meat. It can be topped with sauce or served in soup. In addition, since it already has fillings inside, ravioli can be served with a drizzle of olive oil. 

When people think about Italian pasta, they usually picture themselves having a plate of spaghetti. However, contrary to popular belief, spaghetti does not always come on a plate. In fact, the word “pasta” literally means “through the food”. In Italy, Pasta is used to refer to a whole variety of foods-not just spaghetti. 

Pasta may be one of the most versatile foods in the world. The varieties of pasta are tremendous, and it is this diversity that makes it so easy to make pasta dishes from the different pasta types.

For instance, in the Veneto area of Italy, the word Pasta refers to a whole array of different Italian pasta dishes, including linguine, Manichella, rigatoni, lasagna, and other meat-based plates pasta. In Southern Italy, pasta can also refer to other vegetable dishes like scampi, tagliatelle, focaccia, etc. In contrast, when used in North Africa and the Middle East, the word Pasta generally describes a thin, white, or unleavened bread dough. 

If you want to learn how to cook pasta from the different types available, you will need to familiarise yourself with all the pasta types and their varieties. You can get a list of pasta from any Italian food store or grocery store. However, many other sources are available, including libraries with Italian newspapers and even online sources like the World Wide Web. Once you become acquainted with the different pasta types and their uses, you will be able to select the pasta that is best suited to your recipe.

When it comes to Italian pasta, a spiraliser plays a vital role in creating delicious pasta dishes. These devices are available in different sizes and shapes and are available at the supermarket or even online. Depending on your preferences, you can buy one that has a hand crank or a motor that will let you control the speed at which the blades rotate. However, you should not rely solely on these machines, and you should also manually spin the dough with your own hands.

Moreover, to create a flavourful pasta dish, the herbs and spices used should be grounded before using them. This ensures that the flavours are well integrated into the pasta. For instance, basil and tomatoes have a natural tendency to grow plants on each blade of the pasta. By using dried beans and chopping these plants into smaller pieces, you will be able to extract the flavourful essence of these herbs for added flavour to your pasta dishes.

You can use fresh tomatoes to add a bit of zest to your meals. However, these tomatoes will become mushy when they are cooked. Therefore, it is advisable to use canned Sicilian tomatoes. This will ensure that the tomato retains its shape and keeps its flavour. In addition, the canned tomatoes will be easier to use because you do not need to use a food processor to process them.

If you are serving it on a pasta grill, you should not include too much cheese. Pasta that is served on a pasta grill tends to get overcooked and too much cheese results in an undercooked and bland pasta dish. Instead, you can increase the amount of olive oil that is incorporated into your pasta sauce. Just remember that you should keep the cheese and tomato sauce separated to avoid overheating.

You can transform your ordinary pasta dish into an amazing one by using fresh herbs and spices. You can make a pasta recipe more interesting by incorporating different types of fresh vegetables into it. For example, you can incorporate some basil, oregano, rosemary, garlic and dill into your tomato-based aglio e olio. Fresh vegetables and fresh herbs can play a major role in transforming an ordinary pasta dish into an irresistible one.

Apart from these, you also need to figure out what type of pasta you will use, and the sauces or preparation methods you need to consider to create a pasta dish that does not only have an appetising look but also has a great taste. 

It is evident that certain pasta types are best for specific recipes. Hence, despite the many types of pasta that you can choose from, not all kinds of pasta will work well with every sauce or ingredient. 

To get more insight about the different pasta types and the dishes they can be paired with, see this infographic from Cirelli & Co, an Italian restaurant in Carlton. 

10 Common Pasta Types and Dishes They are Used For

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