Types of Pasta

by Christopher Jones

Wherever you go in the world, there’s a good chance that pasta might just be an option on the menu. Considering that most of the world enjoys a hearty plate of lasagna or spaghetti, it’s important to know about all of the different types of pasta that are available for you to enjoy. With that being said, let’s take a journey together into the wide world of pasta and just maybe you’ll find a new type of pasta that you’d love to try out!

Types of Pasta
Types of Pasta

A Little Bit of History of Pasta

Types Of Pasta
Types Of Pasta

Obviously, none of you are old enough to remember when pasta was created and made popular. While most people just enjoy the deliciousness of pasta, no one really thinks about how it came about. Well, that stops here. Before we talk about the different pasta options, let’s take a few moments to discuss where the whole concept of pasta came from.

One of the theories surrounding the origin of pasta includes none other than the world-renowned explorer, Marco Polo. Some people believe that the Italian explorer brought noodles to Italy from one of his expeditions to China during the 13th century. Other people believe that pasta has been around much longer than that. According to some historians, when the Greeks founded Naples during the 3rd century BC, the natives in the area already had a dish known as “Macaria”. This dish was made of flour from barley and water and was later dried in the sun. There are also people who believe that noodles came from Central Asia long before Marco Polo even stepped foot there. Regardless of what you believe or where pasta originates from, there’s no denying that pasta is a staple in countless people’s diets.

Let’s Talk About the Noodles

Spicy Noodles
Spicy Noodles

Typically, people use one of a few well-known kinds of pasta. Lasagna, spaghetti, and ziti are some of the most commonly used types of pasta, but there are so many more out there that deserve a bit of attention.

If you’re in a rush to buy a noodle maker, here are the guideline to follow.


Bucatini is almost exactly like spaghetti, but with a hole going through the middle of it. Originating from Naples, Liguria, and Lazio, the word bucatini actually comes from the Italian word “buco”, which means “hole”. Bucatini is typically served with pancetta and cured meat in a dish known as bucatini all amatriciana sauce with cheese, eggs, anchovies, and sardines in a buttery sauce.


Penne pasta comes in the form of a small cylindrical shape and is considered to be one of the most popular types of pasta. Coming from Sicily, penne is typically stuffed with different fillings and served with a tomato or cream-based sauce.


Tagliatelle comes in long, flat strips that tend to look like ribbons. Coming from the Marche and Emilia-Romagna regions of Italy, tagliatelle is extremely easy to make and is usually paired with pork or beef.


This type of pasta is a lot like fettuccine or linguine in appearance but has a shorter length. Originating from the Amalfi coast, scialtelli is often paired with fish and different types of seafood sauces.


Mafalda, also known as reginette, has a very interesting past. It is believed that Mafalda was named after Queen Mafalda di Savoia, which is why it’s shape is called reginette, meaning “little queen” in Italian. This type of pasta is cut into long strips and it has ruffled edges, and it’s typically paired with ricotta cheese or Italian sausage.


Despite the fact that caserecce was created in Sicily, it has had no problems making its way throughout the world. Featuring a twisted shape that’s rolled into an “S” shape, caserecce is served with eggplants, seafood, and ricotta cheese.


Unlike the other types of pasta on this list, gnocchi is more of a dough dumpling than it is a pasta. Gnocchi, which originated from the days of the Roman Empire, is cut into small pieces and is typically associated with spinach, ricotta, cheese, eggs, or potatoes.

Gnocchetti Sardi

Known as malloreddus on the island of Sardinia, gnocchetti Sardi is a type of pasta that looks a bit like tiny seashells. Often served with meat, gnocchetti Sardi tastes amazing when combined with the right amount of cheese sauce.

Sagne Torte

Originating from Puglia, Italy, sagne torte is a spiral-shaped pasta that is typically combined with a variety of different mixed meat sauces.


This tube-like pasta, known as tortiglioni, originates from Naples and is well-known for the small ridges running down the length of the tube. While this pasta sure does look nice, the ridges aren’t just for aesthetic purposes. The ridges on tortiglioni actually allow it to be perfectly suited for hearty, full-bodied sauces.


This tubular-shaped pasta hails from the lands of Calabria and Campania and is typically used in tomato-based sauce recipes. Paccheri also pairs nicely with seafood sauce recipes and any type of dish that has a heavy amount of garlic.


Speaking of tubular pasta, rigatoni is one of the most popular types of pasta there is. Slightly large than penne pasta, rigatoni is most commonly served with meat ragu. It also goes well with heavy sauces because of the vertical ridges that run down the length of the pasta. These pasta are capable of reheating.


Ditalini, which literally means “small thimbles” in Italian, is cut into tubes that are approximately the size of a kernel of corn. Ditalini is commonly paired with ricotta cheese or broccoli and is often a great choice for soup.


Coming from the regions of Emilia-Romagna and Lombardia, farfalle is often referred to as “bow-tie pasta” because of its similar appearance to bow ties. Farfalle is commonly used in dishes that have light sauces.


Getting its name from the place where it originates from, Liguria, linguine is commonly used in combination with seafood and clam sauces. It also works well with different red sauces, as well.


Even though no one really knows where this type of pasta comes from, ravioli is one of the most popular types of pasta out there. Typically stuffed with meat, cheese or veggies, ravioli works great with shellfish, as well.


Coming from Puglia, Italy, capricci is a fun type of pasta. Despite the fact that it looks like a big swirly slide, capricci takes its job seriously. Often paired with thick sauces, capricci is more than capable of being suited with a thick, hearty sauce.

As you can clearly see, there are tons of options to choose from when it comes to picking out a pasta. And considering that this list just skims the surface of the wide world of pasta, there are still plenty of different types out there for you to explore all on your own. No matter what type of meal you’re preparing, whether it’s plant-based or meat-based, there is surely a pasta that will go perfectly with the dish. The internet is a great place to look up different recipes and types of pasta that go well with one another, but if you don’t have the time to do some research, then you can always try the trial and error method. After all, you can’t really go wrong when you have a big steaming pile of pasta right in front of you!

About Christopher Jones

Chris is an avid traveler and a gastronome.
He used to live for years in Europe and has far reached many unheard-of corners in Asia.
While at it, he never stopped looking for top local foods to try them out.
His favorite motto is "how can one live well, travel well, and work well without having good food every time?"
Chris received his MBA at University of San Francisco at the age of 24.

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