If you are cooking a pasta dinner for your family, chances are you have some requests for the type of pasta noodle that each diner prefers.
There are quite a few types of pasta noodles on the market, and each one has some benefits that will help it work in certain dishes
With all the types of pasta noodles out there, we thought it would help you to have somewhat of a guide as to which of these you may want to cook tonight.
Each of the items on our list will give you some more information about the shape and what each option should be used for.
Depending on the meal you are making, this is a list that should have you covered the next time you make pasta.
30 Types Of Pasta Noodles
1. Penne Rigate
Penne is without a doubt one of the most popular types of pasta noodles.
This short but sturdy shape works really well in a variety of Italian pasta dishes.
The fact that the inside of the noodle is hollow allows for more of the sauce to flow through the noodle.
The casarecce is another Italian shape known for its ability to catch plenty of sauce inside the pasta.
With a casarecce, you will barely notice the inner channel of the twisted shape, but it is a more unique style.
This shape is a little heavier than some others and is not typically used in pasta salads or something like macaroni and cheese.
Elbows are a favorite among many groups of people.
The elbows are small, easy to eat, and can make a perfect dinner for a young child.
One of the great things about elbows is that you can fit plenty of them on a fork at one time.
Although many people will probably confuse this with spaghetti, there is a significant difference between linguini and spaghetti.
Linguini is a great pasta used for many seafood dishes because of the way that it can soak up a great sauce.
Look for this to be a flat and long pasta as opposed to the tubular style of the spaghetti.
Dinner doesn’t get much more classic than spaghetti and meatballs.
The spaghetti shape is something that many people enjoy, and it is straightforward to wrap around the fork and eat.
When cooking spaghetti, it sometimes makes sense to break the pasta in half before placing it in the pot, though many gourmets will tell you that’s an absolute no-no.
6. Angel Hair
While we are talking about all of the longer types of pasta on the market, it’s worth mentioning angel hair.
Angel hair is one of the thinnest types of pasta that you can find.
If you want something light that feels airier than a heavier spaghetti or bucatini, then the angel hair could do the trick.
Bucatini will look a bit like spaghetti, but when you examine it a bit more closely, you can see that the shape is more of a round tube as opposed to the solid feature of spaghetti.
The bucatini pasta has a lot of substance to it and is much heavier than some others on the market.
This typically pairs well with a lighter sauce and some vegetables.
8. Wide Egg Noodles
Egg noodles are created to be used in a different recipe than traditional noodles, but they are designed to stand out as having a milder distinct flavor.
The egg noodle is very popular in casserole-type dishes and soups.
With an egg noodle, you can also branch out of the Italian cuisine and even create some Asian type meals and dishes.
A lasagna noodle is typically something that is used just to make lasagna, although it can be used for other dishes.
The lasagna noodle is flat, and it creates a layer in the pan.
The layer can then be stacked with some of your favorite ingredients.
Overall, lasagna is not hard to make, and it becomes a great meal for entertaining people.
Rotini pasta looks like a small twist.
Unlike many kinds of pasta that have a hole in the center, the rotini has crevices that will help keep the flavor in place.
This is a type of pasta that is very commonly used in pasta salads.
You may see quite a bit of the rotini used in the summertime with lighter salads that have fresh vegetables as the main ingredients.
Overall, the rotini is popular, similar to penne.
Similar to the bowtie pasta, the papillon pasta shape looks like a butterfly, which is what the word “papillon” means in French.
These are smaller bite-sized pieces, and they are known for working in a variety of dishes.
Many people use the papillon for a pasta salad while others like it with an Italian dish.
One of the things that makes this particular pasta so popular is that the finished product in the pan or bowl is quite attractive.
If you want to add a bit of class to your next pasta party, this could be the way to do it.
If you are not a big fan of spaghetti, you may want to give fettuccine a try.
One of the things that people love about fettuccine is that it is easy to eat and has a flatter shape and style than spaghetti.
You can still wrap this around your fork, but it gives you a much different eating experience than traditional spaghetti.
If you are looking for something a little different to change up a meal, this could do it.
Although some people may say that gnocchi is not really pasta and deserves its own category, it can be used just like any pasta is used.
Gnocchi is like a small dumpling made of potato.
It is cooked and eaten the same way as pasta and is served as an alternative to pasta in many dishes.
Almost anything that you can make with pasta can be substituted with gnocchi.
If you want to create something different for dinner, try a baked gnocchi dish instead of a baked ziti.
Gnocchi makes it easy to revise and revamp recipes without having to make any drastic changes.
If you want to impress your guests with your knowledge of unique kinds of pasta, then bringing out the torcinelle could do it.
Remember that some of these pasta shapes could be hard to find as they are not all that popular.
This is one of those shapes.
The torcinelle has a hollow center making it an excellent option for those trying to get some sauce running through their pasta noodles.
The outside of the torcinelle pasta has some ribs on it that provide a classic and impressive look to the dish.
The farfalle pasta is very similar to the papillon.
This is the classic bowtie shape that works well in almost any pasta dish you could think of.
The great thing about the way the bowtie folds and sits is that it can pick up quite a bit of the flavor that is in the dish itself.
Farfalle is a smart choice for feeding a group of people as well.
Even though it is a smaller shape, it can be very filling.
16. Pipe Rigate
Have you noticed that many of the pasta shapes on the market look a bit like plumbing fixtures?
When you combine these tubes and pipes, you can almost imagine the way that sauce would flow through pasta shapes as water flows through pipes.
The pipe rigate shape looks a bit like pipe connectors, and it creates these perfect little pockets for collecting sauce and flavor.
Right up at the top of the list when it comes to popularity, you will find rigatoni.
Rigatoni is one of the most popular types of pasta on the market, and that is because it holds plenty of sauce and flavor inside the noodle shape.
The rigatoni pasta tastes great and can be enjoyed in a sauce or a baked dish.
Many people that are new to cooking start with something made with rigatoni because it is easy to work with.
The orecchiette shape looks almost like a thumbprint.
This is one of the more popular shapes to use in soups because of the way that it responds to being in the broth.
Typically, orecchiette is known for being a bit firmer in texture, but placing it in a sauce or broth really helps to loosen it up.
This is a favorite shape among many people that like pasta dishes.
Cavatelli almost looks a bit like gnocchi because of the way that it is shaped.
When you examine it a little more closely, you will see that the round edges on the cavatelli are the perfect place for collecting flavor.
It is an exciting but very true concept that the more you are able to plan the shape of your pasta noodle to the style of your dish, the better the chance you have of making it a complete and wholesome meal.
Fusilli is something that looks a lot like rotini, but it is smaller in size.
The fusilli is a popular option for pasta salad as it is smaller to eat but will adapt to the flavors surrounding it.
If you like fusilli, chances are you also enjoy rotini and maybe even penne.
This pasta fits in nicely with those similar types.
Cellantani pasta is a small spiral twist.
This is another one of those pasta types that will dress up the finished look of your pasta dish.
When all is said and done, the presentation of the cellantani is one of the better options on the market.
This is used in various pasta dishes, but look for it most commonly in the summertime with slightly lighter fare.
Tortellini is a unique pasta shape that allows you to stuff the pasta with a variety of ingredients.
Tortellini can be eaten on its own or used in a soup, whatever you would prefer.
The great thing about Tortellini is that you can fill the inside with anything that you wish.
If you like vegetables or cheese, the Tortellini can be filled and then matched accordingly to a sauce.
The trumpet pasta noodle is something that almost looks as though it is not complete.
The pasta is folded over but does not completely connect.
This is one of those that makes for great flavor and creates that pocket to collect sauce.
24. Acini de Pepe
The acini de pepe is a very small pasta piece that is used in a variety of rice dishes or as an excellent meal to feed young kids.
This is a unique shape, and it will almost seem as though you are eating rice or something similar as opposed to pasta.
If you are making a thicker sauce or a pasta salad or soup, this is a great choice.
With a runnier or more liquid sauce, the flavor can get a little lost with the ability of the acini de pepe to soak in the flavor.
The ditalini is very similar to something like an elbow, but it is much shorter.
If you took a thin tube of pasta and cut it very small, the ditalini is what you would be left with.
We recommend this pasta for soups as it tends to fit in perfectly without taking over the flavor.
Some people also like to make macaroni and cheese with a ditalini-style pasta.
26. Italian Mafaldine
With the Italian mafaldine pasta you are going to get what looks like a mini lasagna.
These are almost the same as lasagna noodles, but they are cut lengthwise into about a third or a fourth of the width of a traditional lasagna noodle.
This makes a very bulky dish that will be a favorite in your crowd if you are feeding a large group of hungry people.
An Italian meat sauce is a good pairing with the mafaldine pasta.
27. Fine Egg Noodles
Although we had wide egg noodles on our list, you should also know about fine egg noodles.
The fine egg noodles are a perfect pairing for a great chicken noodle soup.
These noodles bring so much flavor but do not overpower the dish.
Some people that start eating egg noodles want to switch to it for almost any meal they can.
The pastina style of pasta is an excellent choice for young kids or for making an Italian soup.
With the pastina, you get a small star shape that will blend in with almost any meal you try to make.
This unique shape will stand out because it is so small and fine.
When you take a spoonful of pastina, you will get quite a few to fit on one spoon.
This is a popular choice among families with younger kids that may be picky eaters.
Orzo is a very small pasta shape that will look like a tiny piece of spaghetti or fettuccine cut up.
With the orzo style of pasta, you can expect to make almost any Italian dish out there.
One of our favorite ways to use Orzo is in a summer pasta salad.
Many people forget about Orzo except when making soups or brothy pasta, but it works great for pasta salads as well.
30. Alphabet Letters
Last but not least, we went with the childhood classic alphabet letters.
The alphabet pasta has a random assortment of letters, and it makes for a very interesting topic of conversation when eating the pasta.
Although you can use this in a variety of dishes, it is not likely something to choose for a high-end dinner party.
Instead, if you are trying to teach young kids the letters of the alphabet, this pasta makes a great choice.
Overall, this is a fun shape, and it still has great flavor, but it is not the best for picking up the most flavor available in a sauce.
Hopefully, you now feel ready to pick the pasta noodle that will work for your next dish.
With all of these great options on the market, it is hard for us to say that one of them is the very best.
However, you won’t have to choose a favorite because you can simply make pasta more often and use each of these different types.