Pasta Shapes

Do You Know Your Pasta? Meet These 17 Italian Shapes

Do You Know Your Pasta? Meet These 17 Italian Shapes

We've got a partnership with the recipe, equipment, and product-testing gurus at America's Test Kitchen. They'll be sharing some of their time-tested recipes and technical expertise with us weekly. Today's topic? A guide to 17 common Italian pastas, plus a fast, easy recipe for meatless pasta recipe to boot.

Ridged, tubed, stranded—they're all here.

What could be a higher art form than Italian pasta names—where pappardelle means "gulp down" and ziti translates to "bridegroom"? Pairing a pasta shape with the right sauce is more art than science. However, we think there's only one basic rule to follow: Thick, chunky sauces go with short pastas, and thin, smooth, or light sauces with strand pasta. (Of course, there are a few exceptions—but that's where the art comes in.) Although we specify pasta shapes for every recipe we publish, like campanelle in pasta with roasted tomatoes and porcini sauce, you should feel free to substitute other pasta shapes as long as you're following this one basic rule.

Read on for the pasta shapes we use most often, along with translations or alternate names, plus some measuring tips.

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