While pasta might be your go-to weeknight Hail Mary, that doesn’t necessarily qualify it as a simple dish.
There are hundreds of types of pasta—long and skinny, round and thick, flat and wide. If you think these different shapes of noodles are just for looks, think again!
The Complete Guide to Pasta
Today, we’re talking all things pasta. The shapes, the size, and why it’s made the way it is.
Farfalle, commonly referred to as Bow Tie Pasta, is a very popular pasta for many different reasons. This small, rounded pasta is extremely versatile—throw a handful in your favorite soup for a hearty base, add it to salads for a little more sustenance, or serve it with your favorite sauce. We’ve put this popular pasta in one of our top selling meal kits, Cajun Chicken Pasta. This 10-minute meal is packed with flavor. Using cajun spices and sous vide chicken, you’ll experience this noodle in whole new way.
Try it: Cajun Chicken Pasta
Rotini is another popular pasta. The medium-sized, twist-shaped noodle is great for lighter, smoother sauces. The swirls cling on to the smooth sauce so you get full flavor in each and every bite. We’ve partnered with The Bikini Chef to create this delicious, lighter meal kit. All you need is a few simple ingredients to create this dinner. The light pesto sauce clings on to the rotini and give each bite the balanced flavor it needs.
Linguine is spaghetti’s sibling. The long noodle has a thicker, flatter body than spaghetti, allowing for a heartier bite. Our celebrity chef partner, Claire Thomas uses a hearty linguine noodle to balance out the dark dressing and light shrimp.
Try it: Linguine Shrimp Fra Diavolo
Penne pasta is one of our favorite tubed noodles. This popular pasta is designed to perfectly pair with hearty vegetable sauces, ragu, and bolognese. Our proud partner, the New York Times Cooking has developed the perfect pasta dish using penne. You’ll create a homemade ragu that will make your mouth water with all of the delicious flavors.
Try it: Sausage Ragú
We’ve partnered with Los Angeles pasta maker, Domenico’s Foods to highlight this unique pasta in a new way. Festonati is not an authentic Italian pasta that is can be subbed for penne or rigatoni. These ribbed, tubed noodles pair nicely with heartier meats and fish sauces because of the ridged texture. We’ve developed our Pasta with Vodka Sauce using festonati noodles to highlight this bold sauce. The vodka sauce finds a home inside each noodle, giving you a burst of flavor in each bite. Best part? It takes only 10 minutes to make.
Try it: Festonati Pasta with Vodka Sauce
One pot dishes are all the rage right now, and we don’t see this cooking trend going anywhere anytime soon. All you need is one pot to create a seriously amazing dinner—less time in the kitchen, less time doing dishes. Our partner Allrecipes.com used orecchiette noodles in this one pan pasta with turkey sausage. The small, ear-shaped pasta cooks quickly and helps balance out the bold flavors in the sausage.
If you’re looking for a full-bodied pasta, this is your choice. The long, rigid, and hollow rigatoni is the perfect base for your meat-heavy, sauce-heavy dishes. We’ve partnered with celebrity chef Ana Quincoces to create a ham and pork chorizo casserole that gives Rigatoni the spotlight it deserves. Each noodle is stuffed with the spicy pork and sweet ham then smothered in cheese, creating an insanely flavorful casserole that the whole family will love.
Strozzapreti is a long, spiralized noodle that pairs nicely with light sauces, salads, and soups. The spicy arrabbiata sauce clings onto the curved structure of this type of noodle. Strozzapreti is also a bit thicker than other types of spiraled pasta, cooling down the spicy flavors in this unique sauce.
Fettuccine is everyone’s go-to pasta for a rich and easy weeknight dinner. We’ve put a gourmet twist on this classic pasta by adding succulent shrimp and fresh mozzarella and basil. You’ll create an impressive dinner in just minutes with this simple meal kit.
Torchino is another authentic pasta. The swirled body shows a variety of textures when it’s cooked. Paired with a classic homemade marinara, you’ll get a fluffier version of your favorite go-to pasta dish.
Gnocchi is little puffy noodles from heaven. Gnocchi is stuffed with anything from cheese to chicken. In this meal kit from Brooke Williamson, you’ll learn how to make your own, homemade gnocchi using creamy ricotta cheese. You’ll pop them in boiling water for a few minutes and you’ll create a gourmet meal that you’ll crave time and time again.
Try it: Ricotta Gnocchi
What’s not to love about maccaroni? Smother it in cheese, throw it in a salad, add it to soup—this versatile noodle is great for a wide variety of dishes.
Pappardelle is every noodle-lover's dream. The large flat, long noodle creates a hearty bed for any sauce to it upon. Our best-selling meal kit from chef Becky Reams features a veal bolognese sauce that is to die for. This hearty meal is sure to impress any home chef with how delicious and easy it is.
Try it: Pappardelle
We all know and love spaghetti. This long, skinny, and rounded noodle is a staple in Italian cuisine. Best with just about any sauce, this noodle is the ultimate base. The New York Times Cooking has created a light pasta dish featuring springtime ingredients to put a new spin on classic carbonara dishes.
Try it: Springtime Spaghetti Carbonara
Like rotini, radiatore pasta has a twisted body. Radiatore has a tighter twist, creating a fully spiralized body. We’ve partnered with celebrity chef, Chris Santos who has used this noodle in an ingenious way. He’s replaced macaroni with raditore to create a seriously delicious, shareable Mac n Cheese that’s full of flavor.
16. Baby Shell
Baby shells just as they sound—small, shell-like pasta noodles. These little shells hold onto sauces, but also make for a great base for light soups and salads. We’ve added baby shells into our signature kids dish, the Kid’s Chicken Soup. The savory broth perfectly complements the fluffy shells, creating a simple yet delicious dish your kids will love.
Try it: Kid’s Chicken Soup
Campanelle pasta is a unique noodle that we don’t see very often. The noodle is flat and circular with ridged edges. The noodle curls into itself and creates a hollow, tubed pasta. The Coca-Cola Company uses this noodle in their Chicken and Mushroom Marsala meal kit, which allows the other ingredients to live in the spotlight.
Try it: Chicken and Mushroom Marsala
Orzo is the Italian version of rice. It’s thicker composition and small body make it a hearty base for many dishes. Rather than smothering this pasta in sauce, it’s better to use this noodle as you would use rice. Good Housekeeping has developed this meal kit with orzo as a side to a delicious serving of protein.
Bucatini is spaghetti’s other sibling. This thick version of spaghetti packs a fluffy punch with every slurp. The James Beard Foundation has created a simple, yet gourmet meal kit using bucatini. With just a light sauce, green onion, and finely chopped pancetta, you’ll create a spectacular dish that shows just how versatile bucatini can be.
Last, but certainly not least, lasagna. Every meat and sauce lover swoons over a piping hot slice of lasagna. Lasagna noodles are layered between sauce, cheese, and more sauce to create a casserole style dish that is perfect for sharing with the family. Fabio Viviani, the king of Italian cuisine has created an at home
Try it: Meat Lasagna
Ready for More Pasta?
At Chef’d, we’ll never say no to a bowl of pasta. Shop all of our pasta dishes now!