How many pasta names do you know?

If you are a pasta lover, you might already know quite a lot of pasta names: there are many different shapes, each one perfect with a type of sauce because of its features. Italians take it seriously: knowing as many pasta shapes as possible is crucial in order to combine them with the right ingredients and have a delicious result.

On top of the most standard ones, there are also the regional varieties: shapes that you can find in a region or even only in part of it, which comes from a local tradition with its long story. It’s really fascinating!

Short or long, fresh or dry: let’s see some pasta names!

Farfalle: literally “butterflies”, this is a sort of bow tie pasta, perfect with creamy sauces or in a pasta salad.

Penne: short tubes (with or without ridges) cut diagonally at the edges, a versatile shape used in many recipes.

Bucatini: similar to spaghetti but thicker and hollow, famous for the amatriciana, Roman recipe with tomato sauce and cheek lard.

Rigatoni: medium tubes with ridges, great with rich sauces or to make pasta al forno (pasta baked in the oven).

learn some new pasta names


Fettuccine: long fresh egg pasta, incredibly good with meat sauces like ragù.

Ditalini: very short smooth tubes, normally used in soups. There is also a version with ridges.

Fusilli: spiral shaped short pasta, particularly good with thick, creamy sauces.

Ziti: long smooth tubes, normally broken by hand before cooking and used with different tomato sauces. Ziti are often used for baked pasta recipes.

Orecchiette: round, dome-like shape called “little ears”, they come from Puglia and are traditionally combined with turnip greens.

Rotelle: literally “wheels”, they are loved by children and used with a variety of sauces.

Conchiglie: shell shape that can come in different sizes, so the large shells are normally stuffed and baked in the oven, the medium ones are used with vegetables or sauces and the small “conchigliette” are perfect in soups.

Which one is your favourite?

If you want to learn some amazing Italian recipes follow this link.