Do you love pasta? Then this post is a must read for you! Why? Because the pasta you eat so enjoyably is not an ordinary dish. It has got a great history attached to it.
Say pasta and the first thought that pops up is about the beautiful country of Italy, right? And the very next moment your mind is flooded with images of the different types of pasta available to be savored!
However, how many of us actually know about the different pasta types that exist in this world?
When it comes to pasta, the questions are endless – are there any kinds of flavors available in pasta? Is vermicelli too a kind of pasta? Is macaroni the only kind of tubular pasta? Is Ravioli a type of pasta? If your mind too buzzes with these questions, we are here with all the answers!
A Sneak Peak Into The Origins Of Pasta:
Pasta was founded in ancient Rome by combining durum wheat semolina flour and water. However, in those times, pasta was consumed fresh (‘fresco’ as it was called in Italian), and was not dried (‘secca’ in Italian) like the pasta we get in our grocery stores today. With the Arab invasion, dried pasta came into origin and went on to become popular in the 14th century.
With time, more and more countries invaded it, got influenced by this staple food of the Italians and took it along with them. They imparted their countries’ flavors and gave pasta the many flavors it has today. Thus, pasta was slowly travelling across the globe and was even changing flavors! That is why today there is a large variety of pasta available to us with an equally vast range of recipes for preparing them.
Different Pasta Types:
There are more than 400 types of pasta available across the globe today. All are made from durum wheat semolina and water in specific percentages. The types of pasta shapes range from sheets, strips, cylinders, and bows to tubes and circles and many more. The flavors and colors available in these are equally wide in their range and it would indeed be difficult for one to retain the names of all pasta variants. However, one thing is for sure – knowing about all types of pastas available would be an interesting task for any food enthusiast for sure! And it will also earn you a few brownie points in the culinary world!
1. Tubular Pastas:
Tubes are the most famous form of pasta. However, many of us think that ‘macaroni tubes’ is the only tubular form of pasta. There are many other tubular pastas to be found, like Bucatini, which is spaghetti that is hollow from within and Calamarata and Calamaretti variants that are in the shape of wide rings.
The Cavatappi and Cellentani variants are shaped to resemble corkscrews and then there are the Chifferi, Fideua, Gomito Maccheroni and Elicoidali variants that are all tubular with slight differences in their shapes.
Among the tubular pastas, there are also some variants that are large enough to be stuffed. One such is the Cannelloni pasta. There is also Manicotti pasta that belongs to this category and is shaped like large, ribbed tubes.
Another category of pastas in the tubular range is that of long tubes like pipes or hoses. Within this category, there are the Garganelli, Fagioloni, Maccheroncelli, Mezzani, Ziti, Zitoni, Mezze Bombardoni, Pasta al Cappo and Sagne Incannulate pasta, which is a long tube made by twisting a long strip of pasta.
2. Strand-Shaped Pastas:
Pasta is quite popular in the shape of strands as well, the most popular variants being vermicelli and spaghetti. Apart from these, there are the other stranded variants like Spaghettoni and Spaghettini which are the thick and thin spaghetti respectively. There is also the Fedelini pasta, which is shorter than spaghetti and longer than vermicelli.
Some of the finest and thinnest stranded pastas are the capellini and Capellini d’angelo pastas, which are thin like hair, so much so, the name of the latter variant literally means ‘angel hair’. There is also Barbina pasta in this category, which is thin pasta, coiled to resemble a nest. The thicker variants of pasta are Ciriole, Spaghetti alla Chitarra, Fusilli Lunghi and Pici, which are best prepared by combining them with thick and tangy sauces.
3. Micro Pastas:
Apart from the long, thin, thick and stranded pastas, there are some variants of pasta that are tiny! These are shaped like beads or small rings or tubes. Some names from this category are Acini di Pepe and Fregula, which are shaped like beads, Anelli and Anellini, which are shaped like small rings; Ditali and Corallini, which resemble small tubes; and Farfalline, which is shaped to resemble small bow ties.
The Conchigliette pasta from this category resembles small shells and the Funghini pasta resembles small mushrooms. There are also some rice-shaped pasta, named Orzo, Risi and Seme di Melone, all of which resemble rice grains with slight differences in their shapes and sizes.
Some of the micro pastas are shaped like rings, spheres and squares; namely, Ochi di Pernice, which resembles small rings; Pastina and Pearl pasta, which are shaped like spheres and Quadrettini which is square in shape. All of these variants are small in size such that these are mostly added to fine sauces and are combined with vegetables or are used as fillings.
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4. Ribbon Pastas:
A popular variety of pasta is ribbon pastas, which are flat pastas that are combined with types of Italian pasta sauces and vegetables to create some remarkable Italian delicacies. Some of the pastas belonging to this category are merely 6.5 millimeters wide, while there are others that can be as wide as 5 cms. The former range includes variants like Fettuccine, Bavette and Bavettine.
Even Lasagne belongs to this very category of pasta and has some popular variants in Lasagnette and Lagane pastas. Both of these are wide noodles with fluted edges.
Some of the ribbon pastas are also shaped in the form of short pieces, to resemble bow ties and small squares.Mafalde and Sagnarelli pastas belong to this type of ribbon pastas. The longer variant of Mafalde is Mafaldine,which is similar in thickness but is shaped like long strips. Similar to this variant are Pappardelle, pillus, Reginette, Sciatelli,
Trenette and Tripoline pastas, which are long ribbon pastas with slight variations. Some unique variants of ribbon pasta is Pizzoccheri, which is made from buckwheat and Strinozzi, which resembles shoe laces.
5. Stuffed Pastas:
A very well known type of pasta is the stuffed pasta types that can be filled with various kinds of stuffing to create unique dishes. One such pasta is Casoncelli pasta, which is semi-circular in form and is usually stuffed with a mixture of egg, cheese, bread, beef mince, raisins, salami, pear, biscuits and garlic to make alla bergamascastyle Italian dishes.
A similar variant is the Agnolotti, which is shaped like semi-circular pockets and is popularly stuffed with ricotta or cheese and meats/vegetables.
Some of the stuffed pastas are rolled and baked. The prominent names in this category are Cennelloni, Occhi diLupo and Mazzelune. Another type of stuffed pastas are rolled and shaped uniquely to first bake and then serve with sauces and gravies. One such stuffed pasta is Fagottini, which is made into a purse or bundle shape and is commonly stuffed with ricotta and pear filling. Then there is the Pelmeni pasta, which is filled with meat and is served with broth or sauce of one’s choice.
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Some popularly known variants in this category are Ravioli, which is square in shape and is stuffed with cheese and meat or vegetable mixtures; and tortellini, which is a ring shaped, stuffed pasta that is commonly stuffed with meat and cheese.
There are also dumpling shaped pastas in this category, like Panzerotti, Pierogi and Pelmeni, which are again stuffed with a variety of fillings and are served with sauces and broths of various kinds.
Some Extraordinary Variants:
While the above mentioned categories can be commonly seen in our regular grocery stores, there are a few variants of pasta that are very unique in terms of their shapes.
- One such unique variant is Casarecce pasta. This is a short length pasta which is rolled into an ‘s’ shape.
- There is also the Cencioni pasta, which is uniquely shaped pasta. It looks like a petal with a convex side and a slight curve on the other side.
- There is also the Conchiglioni pasta, which, as the name hints, resembles a conch or a shell in shape and is large enough to be stuffed while preparing.
- Looking into some other unique variants of pasta, there are the Campanelle and Capunti pastas. While the former is flattened with a frilly edge and resembles a bell, the latter looks like an empty, open pea pod due to its convex, oval shape.
- And not to miss, the Farfelle and Farfellone pastas, which are in the shape of bow ties.
- There are some nature-inspired variants of pastas like the Lumache and Lumaconi that resemble a snail in their form. There are also the Fiori and Gigli variants that are shaped like flowers and Foglie d’ulivo, which is shaped to resemble an olive leaf.
Whew! That was quite a ‘pasta’ full of information, don’t you think? But for foodies, the more they learn, the more they enjoy food. So, now that your pasta knowledge is up to date, go brag about it!
Did you hear about these pasta variants? Which one surprised you? Do you have any other pasta related question? Feel free to ask us in the comments section below!
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