Top 10 Types of Pasta to Add to Your Weeknight Dinner Rotation.

You can never go wrong with pasta. From hosting a dinner party to feeding your kids, pasta is a crowd-pleaser through and through — in part because of its versatility and endless flavor combinations. Did you know, it’s estimated that there are 350 different types of pasta? That’s a lot of noodles!

DeCecco Banza and Barilla Brand Rotini Pasta Types

10. Capellini

Capellini, or more commonly known as angel hair pasta, is one of the thinnest types of pasta with a diameter ranging between 0.85 and 0.92 millimeters. The long, delicate strands of capellini pasta are best paired with light sauces, as the noodles will get lost in something like a hearty meat sauce.

Pronunciation: cah-peh-LEE-nee
Pairings: Thin tomato sauces, broth, or olive oil
Cook time: 5 to 6 minutes
Popular recipes:

Shrimp Scampi

Capellini with Garlic, Lemon, and Parmesan

Capellini with Tomatoes and Basil

Type of pasta capellini pasta
Type of pasta fettuccini pasta

9. Fettuccine

The flat, ribbon-like shape of fettuccine makes it a sturdy pasta that can hold up to a variety of sauces. It’s best known; however, for the popular dish fettuccine alfredo.

Pronunciation: fet-uh-chee-nee
Pairings: Cheese or vegetable sauces
Cook time: 11 to 13 minutes
Popular recipes:

Fettuccine Alfredo

Fettuccine with Olive Oil, Garlic, and Red Pepper

Mushroom Fettuccine

8. Fusilli

Fusilli gives any dish an unexpected twist with its spiral shape. These short noodles pair well with nearly any sauce, but they also make great summer pasta salads that you can bring on a picnic or to the neighborhood potluck.

Pronunciation: foo-ZEE-lee
Pairings: Meat or cheese sauces
Cook time: 11 to 13 minutes
Popular recipes:

Pasta Salad

Creamy Chicken Fusilli Casserole

Garlic-Parmesan Fusilli

Type of pasta fusilli pasta
Type of pasta farfalle pasta

7. Farfalle

The fun shape of this pasta earned it its nickname “bow tie pasta.” Farfalle is a versatile pasta shape that can be used in most recipes that call for a short pasta. It pairs particularly well with meat and vegetable dishes.

Pronunciation: far-FALL-lay
Pairings: Tomato or light vegetable sauces
Cook time: 13 to 15 minutes
Popular recipes:

Farfalle al Salmone

Farfalle with Broccoli and Italian Sausage

Greek Pasta Salad

6. Linguine

Long, thin, flat linguine noodles fall somewhere between the thickness of fettuccine and spaghetti. Linguine is best known for its ability to compliment clam-based sauces and other seafood dishes.

Pronunciation: lin-GWEE-nee
Pairings: Pesto or seafood sauces
Cook time: 9 to 13 minutes
Popular recipes:

Linguine with Seafood (Linguine allo Scoglio)

Linguine with Herbed Clam Sauce

Avocado Pesto Linguine

Type of pasta linguini pasta
Type of pasta macaroni pasta

5. Macaroni

Everyone knows this kid-favorite pasta. Whether it’s homemade or from a box, macaroni and cheese is a crowd-pleaser. The tube-shape of macaroni pasta is perfect for cream sauces or anything with melty cheese because the hollow inside fills with whatever it’s paired with.

Pronunciation: mac-uh-ROW-nee
Pairings: Meat, cheese, or vegetable sauces
Cook time: 8 to 10 minutes
Popular recipes:

Ribs with Broccoli, Mac & Cheese

Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

Macaroni Salad

4. Orecchiette

Orecchiette translates to “little ears” because the pasta’s concave shape resembles an ear. The indent picks up vegetables or whatever else it’s paired with, making it a great carrier of stronger flavors.

Pronunciation: oh-reck-ee-ET-tay
Pairings: Meats and white wine sauces
Cook time: 9 to 12 minutes
Popular recipes:

One-Pan Orecchiette

Tuscan Kale with Orecchiette

Orecchiette Pasta with Broccoli Sauce

Type of pasta orecchiette pasta
Type of pasta pappardelle pasta

3. Pappardelle

Pappardelle noodles are similar to fettuccine in that they’re flat, but pappardelle is wider than fettuccine. While it’s not usually a household staple, pappardelle is a popular type of pasta for hearty meat sauces like bolognese. Its name is appropriately derived from the verb "pappare," which means to gobble up.

Pronunciation: pa-par-DAY-lay
Pairings: Hearty meat sauces
Cook time: 7 to 10 minutes
Popular recipes:

Pappardelle Pomodoro

Pork Bolognese

Pappardelle with Portobello Mushroom Ragu

2. Penne

Penne is a classic pasta type and pantry staple. The short, tube-shape and hollow center makes it suitable for all sorts of sauces and pairings, from chunky meat sauces to delicate creams.

Pronunciation: PEH-neh
Pairings: Chunky tomato, meat, vegetable, or cream
Cook time: 9 to 13 minutes
Popular recipes:

Penne Pomodoro with Bacon, Broccoli & Capers

Penne Creamy Parmesan with Mushrooms

Chicken Penne Casserole

Type of pasta penne pasta
Type of pasta spaghetti pasta

1. Spaghetti

Spaghetti is one of the most, if not the most, well-known types of pasta. Likely because spaghetti and meatballs is a quintessential pasta dish that nearly everyone has eaten at some point. It’s a long, thin, and round noodle that pairs wonderfully with a multitude of flavors.

Pronunciation: spah-GEH-tee
Pairings: Tomato or puttanesca sauces
Cook time: 8 to 10 minutes
Popular recipes:

Spaghetti Pesto

Spaghetti Chili Garlic with Meatballs & Mushrooms

Spaghetti Creamy Parmesan with Bacon, Broccoli & Capers

Bonus: Zoodles

While not pasta in the traditional sense, zoodles have become a popular pasta alternative among the health-conscious community. Zoodle are long, thin strips of zucchini that resemble spaghetti. No matter the shape, most pastas are made with similar ingredients, meaning the nutritional value is essentially the same. The only way to boost the nutritional value of pasta significantly is to replace your noodles with zoodles or some other spiralized vegetable.

Pronunciation: ZOO-​dle
Pairings: Tomato, meat, or pesto sauces
Cook time: 3 to 5 minutes
Popular recipes:

Zoodles Pomodoro with Turkey, Broccoli & Capers

Tomato Basil Zoodle Bowl with Chicken Breast

Zoodle & Quinoa Bowl with Cherry Tomatoes, Basil & Flank Steak

Type of pasta zoodle zucchini noodles
Type of Pasta Pasta Shape Pairings
Long Capellini Thin, round-shaped Thin tomato sauces, broth, or oil
Fettuccine Thick, ribbon-shaped Cheese or vegetable sauces
Linguine Thin, flat, ribbon-shaped Pesto or seafood sauces
Pappardelle Wide, thick, ribbon-shaped Hearty meat sauces
Spaghetti Thin, round-shaped Tomato or puttanesca sauces
Short Fusilli Spiral-shaped Meat or cheese sauces
Farfalle Bowties Tomato or light vegetable sauces
Macaroni Semicircular, curve-shaped Meat, cheese, or vegetable sauces
Orecchiette Small, ear-shaped Meats and white wine sauces
Penne Short, slanting, hollow, tube-shaped Chunky tomato, meat, vegetable, or cream

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