How To Use Different Pasta Shapes

What type of pasta person are you? Do you love lasagna, or is it penne or bow tie pasta you love best? There’s a type and shape of pasta for every personality. Choose the right shapes for different sauces – here’s why.

How Do We Categorise all the Different Pasta Shapes?

With so many different pastas, it is difficult to choose the right one. Thankfully, we can easily group pasta into categories. There are long pasta, pasta sheets, and short pasta. Other pasta groups include stuffed pasta and dumpling pasta.

Short pasta differs from long pasta because we can prod this shape with a fork. Long pasta we twirl and eat. Short pasta examples include bow ties, fusilli, and penne, amongst others.

When we add large components to our pasta sauce, it is best to add these to a short pasta dish. Some of these large ingredients are olives, beans, and veggies. The secret to a successful short pasta dish is they contain the sauce in unusual ways.

Hand-Rolled Pasta or Machine Made? Which is Best?

We can hand-roll long pasta or we can make it with a pasta machine. For the unique shapes of short pasta, we need a machine. It all depends on the pasta results you want.

Here are examples of the different pasta types:

Long, thin pastas:

Pasta Tubes Include:

Twisted Pasta Shapes Include:

Pasta Shells Shapes:

Long Ribbon Shapes


Filled Pasta


  • Spaghetti
  • linguine.
  • Fusilli lunghi
  • Vermicelli
  • Capellini
  • Spaghettini
  • Bucatini
  • Penne
  • Rigatoni
  • Macaroni
  • Paccheri
  • Tortiglioni
  • Trenne
  • Manicotti
  • Ditalini’
  • Canneloni
  • Rotini
  • Strozzapreti
  • Caserecce
  • Gemelli
  • Rotini
  • Fusilli
  • Trofie
  • Lumache
  • Lumaconi
  • Conchiglie
  • Orzo
  • Fregola
  • Canestrini
  • Strelline
  • Risi, Quadrettini
  • Anelli
  • Tagliatelle
  • Pappardelle
  • Fettucine
  • Mafaldine
  • Stringozzi
  • Trenette
  • Agnolotti
  • Cappelletti
  • Tortellini
  • Ravioli

 But Why All the Varietals? Is there a Reason?

What pasta personality are you? Everyone has a “type”. What is yours? Here we unpack a couple of typical pasta varieties and how they pair up with different sauces.

When creativity steps in, there’s no stopping chefs from experimenting with a vast array of pasta shapes. Chefs realise that the various shapes serve a variety of purposes.

A good example is the delicate angel-hair pasta. We pair light sauces with delicate pasta shapes. Chefs prefer to pair heavy sauces with thicker pasta shapes that cling to the product.

When Last Did You Get Adventurous and Try a Unique Type?

There’s pasta for every application. Once you’ve cooked your pasta, add anything that your heart desires. Some pastas are great in salads and soups. Others are fantastic, simply served with delectable sauces.

Pasta List

Different Pastas You Should Try. Let Your Inner Adventurer Find out More!

The possibilities with pasta are endless. There are so many shapes and kinds. We pair pasta with classic sauces like marinara and tomato sauce. Or we pair pasta with herb and cream creations. Experimenting and mix and matching with exciting combinations is only part of the fun. Pasta is an easy dish that offers enough scope for experimenting with a wide range of ingredients.

Pasta might seem an easy dish to make, but with the vast array of options, it will help to find out more about which shapes pair well with different sauces.

1. Why is Farfalle so Popular?

We often refer to this pretty pasta as bow tie pasta. Use it in any dish that calls for reasonably small pasta shapes.

2. When to Use Angel Hair Pasta?

We perfectly pair these dainty strands of pasta with creamy, light sauces. They are also brilliant as an addition to hearty meat sauces or vegetable sauces.

3. How to Use Ditalini Pasta?

Brilliant in soups and salads, Ditalini pasta shapes are a great choice. Ditalini are short pasta tube shapes with smooth sides. They pair perfectly with hearty sauces.

3. What About Bucatini Pasta?

What is Bucatini pasta and which dishes are best paired with it? Bucatini are hollow-shaped pasta tubes. Bucatini does well when added to stir-fries and casseroles. Home-made tomato sauce is excellent with Bucatini.

4. What Dish Would Shine by Adding Egg Noodles?

Add egg noodles to umpteen dishes. Bulk up casseroles, stews, and soups with these flat noodles additions. They are typically eaten with creamy sauces.

5. Everybody Loves and Knows Fettucine.

If you know nothing about fettucine, it’s time you did! Most of us are familiar with the long-shaped ribbons of fettucine. We find fettucine on almost every authentic Italian restaurant menu.

You can interchange fettucine with spaghetti or linguini. The world’s your oyster when choosing from long pasta shapes. Most famous is Fettucine Alfredo, a popular shape of pasta loved by many.

6. And Then There’s the Beautiful Spiralled Fusilli Shapes

Add an element of interest to any recipe with fusilli pasta. Fusilli is the perfect accompaniment for thick, hearty sauces. Fusilli is also wonderful in pasta salads.

Do Different Regions in Italy Have Different Pasta Shapes?

Yes! There are types of pasta for every one of the 20 regions of Italy. The climate and geography influence many pastas. Italian cuisine is also a direct result of the history of the region. We take you on a guided tour of the different regions and the pasta shapes from the regions.

Some examples are gorgonzola creamy sauces from Piedmont. Others are the artichokes from Italy’s southernmost tip. We usually include fresh local ingredients in sauces.

One can create many pasta shapes for holding sauces in the best possible way. Many types of pasta were created with the sauce in mind.

Italy boasts over 400 pasta shapes we know of. Many are called by different names! There’s a shape for every region

Veneto in Northern Italy is Famous for Bigoli

Veneto in Northern Italy is Famous for Bigoli 

Bigoli is a heavier, thicker spaghetti. They make it from whole wheat flour, duck eggs, and butter. Bigoli is best eaten with cream and oil-based sauces. It pairs well with seafood sauces.

Emilia Romagna in Northern Italy is Best Known for its Strozzapreti.

Strozzapreti is a short, twisted pasta. Locals gave the name to this creation, and it means priest strangler! We serve strozzapreti with smooth, light sauces like pesto that cling to the pasta shapes. One will usually serve strozzapreti with pesto, green beans, and potatoes using the Genovese method.

You Will Find Chitarra Pasta in the Abruzzo Region of Central Italy

Chitarra is a pen or quill and cut at an angle. We perfectly pair this pasta with meaty sauces and tomato sauces. It is ideal for baking.

We often refer to chitarra spaghetti as maccheroni alla chitarra. It is an egg pasta typical of the Abruzzo region in central Italy. A closer look will soon tell you that this pasta has a square shaped cross section and is about 3mm thick.

We cut chitarra from sheets, hence their square appearance


How Can I Use Different Pasta Shapes?

Whether you are looking for pasta to pair with chunky sauces, or for baked dishes, there is a piece of pasta that is ideal for the job. Add simple sauces and lighter sauces with a little dash of olive oil. You will soon learn how different shapes respond to the sauce they’re in.

Do you love tomato-based sauces or thicker sauces? Get to know how to pair your fresh pasta with anything from a butter sauce to a Bolognese sauce. No matter what type of palate you have, there is a delicious sauce for every Italian pasta on earth. And Bruna’s Italian can help you explore popular dishes and more.