Learn About Pasta

Author: Chef Sydney

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What are the Different Types of Pasta?

  • Ribbon
  • Tubular
  • Strand
  • Stuffed
  • Shaped
  • Soup


Ribbon pasta is long and flat and can come either fresh or dried.  Ribbon pasta is used for both hearty sauces or lighter sauces.  Types of ribbon pasta include fettuccine, lasagna, pappardelle, and linguine.  Fettuccine alfredo, baked lasagna, shrimp carbonara, and chicken alfredo are common dishes made with ribbon pasta.


Tubular pasta is pasta with a hollow center that creates a tube shape.  This type of pasta can come in a variety of shapes and sizes.  Tubular pasta is best used with thicker, chunky sauces because the sauce will stick to the inside of the tube.  This type of pasta is also used in baked dishes and salads.  Types of tubular pasta include cavatappi, macaroni, rigatoni, penne, cannelloni, and manicotti.  Macaroni and cheese, pasta salad, stuffed manicotti, and pasta bakes are popular foods made with tubular pasta.

Learn About Different Pastas
Different types of pasta in wooden spoons on the table.


Strand pasta is typically long and thin.  Strand pasta is best used with thinner sauces because the pasta is not thick enough to handle thicker sauces.  Types of strand pasta include spaghetti, angel hair, and vermicelli.  Shrimp scampi, spaghetti with meatballs, pasta primavera, and bolognese are made with strand pasta.


Stuffed pasta is pasta that is stuffed with cheese, vegetables, or meats before being cooked.  Because of the flavor being stuffed inside the pasta, this type of pasta is best served with lighter or simpler sauces.  Types of stuffed pasta include ravioli, tortellini, and mezzelune.  Cheese ravioli, spinach tortellini, and baked ravioli with tomato sauce are common dishes made with stuffed pasta.


Shaped pasta is pasta that is made into a shape.  This kind of pasta comes in various shapes and sizes.  Shaped pasta works with both creamier and chunkier sauces and in most dishes.  Types of shaped pasta include farfalle (also called bowtie), fusilli (also called corkscrew), and orecchiette (also called shells).  Popular dishes made with shaped pasta include cheesy farfalle, pasta bakes, and taco skillets with pasta.


Soup pasta is pasta made into smaller sizes to cook into soups.  Types of soup pasta include orzo, ditalini, and fregula.  Popular soups made with soup pasta include Italian wedding soup, minestrone, and pasta e fagioli.

Recipes Using Different Types of Pasta


Layer pasta, sauce, and cheese for a delicious family meal. Use a large baking dish to assemble the lasagna. Place lasagna noodles in an even layer on the bottom. Then, spoon meaty marinara sauce over the noodles. Next, top with ricotta cheese. Continue layering the lasagna until you almost reach the top of the baking dish. Top the lasagna with shredded mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese and bake.


Prepare a quick and easy meal by making spaghetti. Use a stock pot to boil the water and cook the spaghetti. Prepare an easy marinara sauce recipe in a skillet while the water boils and the pasta cooks. Ladle spaghetti on a plate, top with finished marinara, fresh parsley, and grated parmesan.


Create a delicious ravioli dish with store-bought cheese-filled ravioli! Prepare ravioli according to package instructions. Make an easy homemade marinara sauce recipe in a skillet while the ravioli cooks. Add finished ravioli to the sauce and stir with a spatula. Top with grated asiago cheese.

Pasta Salad

Use pasta to make a chilled pasta salad. Cook and drain fusilli pasta. In a large bowl, add cherry tomatoes, sliced red onions, olives, red peppers, feta, and pasta. In a separate bowl, mix together homemade vinaigrette and pour over the top. Chill before serving.

Vegetable Soup

Jazz up your vegetable soup with soup pasta. In a large stock pot, combine diced potatoes, onions, carrots, corn, peas, diced tomatoes, kidney beans, ditalini pasta, vegetable stock, and herbs and spices. Simmer ingredients until vegetables are cooked and fork tender. Serve in bowls with fresh parsley over the top.

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