Let’s discuss on the different types of pasta dishes, their names and most popular pasta food dishes in the world.
Table of Contents
What Are Pasta Food?
Pasta is a a type of food typically made from an unleavened dough of wheat flour mixed with water or eggs, and formed into sheets or other shapes, then cooked by boiling or baking. Rice flour, or legumes such as beans or lentils, are sometimes used in place of wheat flour to yield a different taste and texture, or as a gluten-free alternative.
As a category in Italian cuisine, both fresh and dried pastas are classically used in one of three kinds of prepared dishes: as pasta asciutta, cooked pasta is plated and served with a complementary sauce or condiment; a second classification of pasta dishes is pasta in brodo, in which the pasta is part of a soup-type dish.
A third category is pasta al forno, in which the pasta is incorporated into a dish that is subsequently baked in the oven.
Pasta dishes are generally simple, but individual dishes vary in preparation.
Some pasta dishes are served as a small first course or for light lunches, such as pasta salads.
30+ Different Types Of Pasta Dishes You Should Know
Rigatoni are a form of tube-shaped pasta of varying lengths and diameters originating in Italy.
They are larger than penne and ziti, and sometimes slightly curved. If so, they are not as curved as elbow macaroni.
Rigatoni characteristically have ridges down their length, sometimes spiraling around the tube, and unlike penne, rigatoni’s ends are cut square (perpendicular) to the tube walls instead of diagonally.
• Spaghetti Pasta
Spaghetti is a long, thin, solid, cylindrical pasta dish. It is a staple food of traditional Italian cuisine.
Like other pasta dishes, spaghetti is made of milled wheat and water and sometimes enriched with vitamins and minerals.
Italian spaghetti is typically made from durum wheat semolina.
Usually the pasta is white because refined flour is used, but whole wheat flour may be added.
Spaghettoni is a thicker form of spaghetti, while capellini is a very thin spaghetti.
• Penne Alla Vodka Pasta
Penne alla vodka is a pasta dish made with vodka and penne pasta, usually made with heavy cream, crushed tomatoes, onions, and sometimes sausage, pancetta or peas.
The recipe became very popular in Italy and in the United States around the 1980s, when it was offered to discotheque customers.
• Fusilli Pasta
Fusilli, commonly known as rotini in the United States, are a variety of pasta that are formed into corkscrew or helical shapes.
The word fusilli presumably comes from fuso (“spindle”), as traditionally it is “spun” by pressing and rolling a small rod over the thin strips of pasta to wind them around it in a corkscrew shape.
• Cavatappi Pasta
Cavatappi is macaroni formed in a helical tube shape. Cavatappi is the Italian word for corkscrews.
It is known by other names, including cellentani, amori, spirali, or tortiglione.
It is not to be confused with a different pasta shape that is often called “corkscrew pasta” and that also goes by several names, that other shape being fusilli, also known as rotini, eliche, girandole, tortiglioni, or spirali, which is distinguished by fusilli being a twisted flat pasta rather than cavatappi’s hollow tube shape.
Cavatappi is usually scored with lines or ridges (rigati in Italian) on the surface.
Cavatappi is a type of pasta macaroni, or thick, hollow pasta that is made without using eggs.
• Rotini Pasta
Rotini are short, corkscrew-like shaped pasta. The name translates from Italian to “small wheels” and the shape originated in Southern Italy.
It is a type of pasta dish that is very similar shape to fusilli but the screw is a bit tighter.
• Pappardelle Pasta
Pappardelle are large, very broad, flat pasta dish, similar to wide fettuccine, originating from the region of Tuscany.
The fresh types are two to three centimetres wide and may have fluted edges, while dried egg pappardelle have straight sides.
• Bucatini Pasta
Bucatini, also known as perciatelli, are a thick spaghetti-like pasta with a hole running through the center.
They are common throughout Lazio, particularly Rome. The similar ziti are long hollow rods which are also smooth in texture and have square-cut edges; “cut ziti” are ziti cut into shorter tubes.
• Tagliatelle Pasta
Tagliatelle are a traditional types of pasta from the Emilia-Romagna and Marche regions of Italy. Individual pieces of tagliatelle are long, flat ribbons that are similar in shape to fettuccine and are traditionally about 6 mm wide.
• Macaroni Pasta
Macaroni is a type of dry pasta shaped like narrow tubes. Made with durum wheat, macaroni is commonly cut in short lengths; curved macaroni may be referred to as elbow macaroni.
Some home machines can make macaroni shapes but, like most pasta, macaroni is usually made commercially by large-scale extrusion.
• Ravioli Pasta
Ravioli are a type of pasta comprising a filling enveloped in thin pasta dough. Usually served in broth or with a sauce, they originated as a traditional food in Italian cuisine.
Ravioli are commonly square, though other forms are also used, including circular and semi-circular.
• Tortellini Pasta
Tortellini are traditional type of pasta originally from the Italian region of Emilia (in particular Bologna and Modena).
Traditionally they are stuffed with a mix of meat (pork loin, raw prosciutto, mortadella), Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, egg and nutmeg and served in capon broth.
• Fettuccine Alfredo Pasta
Fettuccine Alfredo or fettuccine al burro is an Italian pasta dish of fresh fettuccine tossed with butter and Parmesan cheese.
As the cheese melts, it emulsifies the liquids to form a smooth and rich cheese sauce coating the pasta.
• Spaghetti Alla Puttanesca
Spaghetti alla puttanesca is an Italian type of pasta dish invented in Naples in the mid-20th century and made typically with tomatoes, olive oil, olives, anchovies, chili peppers, capers, and garlic—with vermicelli or spaghetti pasta.
• Orzo Pasta
Orzo, also known as risoni, is a form of short-cut pasta, shaped like a large grain of rice.
Orzo is traditionally made from flour, but it can also be made of whole grain. It is often made with semolina, a type of flour made from durum wheat.
• Lasagne Pasta
Lasagne are a type of pasta, possibly one of the oldest types, made of very wide, flat sheets.
Either term can also refer to an Italian pasta dish made of stacked layers of lasagne alternating with fillings.
• Cappelletti Pasta
Cappelletti are ring-shaped Italian pasta so called for the characteristic shape that resembles a hat.
Compared to tortellini, they have a different shape, larger size, thicker dough and different filling.
• Pizzoccheri Pasta
Pizzoccheri are a type of short tagliatelle, a flat ribbon pasta dish, made with 80% buckwheat flour and 20% wheat flour.
When classically prepared in Valtellina or in Graubünden, they are cooked along with greens, and cubed potatoes.
• Pasta alla Norma
Pasta alla Norma is an Italian dish of pasta and eggplant. It is typical of Sicilian cuisine, from Catania in particular.
• Sugo all’amatriciana
Sugo all’amatriciana also known as salsa all’amatriciana, is a traditional Italian pasta sauce based on guanciale (cured pork cheek), pecorino romano cheese, tomato, and, in some variations, onion.
• Israeli Couscous
Israeli couscous, is toasted type of pasta dish in tiny balls, developed in Israel in the 1950s when rice was scarce due to austerity in Israel. Despite the name in English, it is not a type of couscous.
• Spätzle Pasta
Spätzle is a type of small pasta noodles or dumpling made with eggs, typically serving as a side for meat dishes with gravy.
Commonly associated with Swabia, it is also found in the cuisines of southern Germany and Austria, Switzerland, Hungary, Slovenia, Alsace, Moselle and South Tyrol.
• Mafaldine Pasta
Mafaldine, also known as reginette or simply mafalda or mafalde, is a type of ribbon-shaped pasta dish.
It is flat and wide, usually about 1 cm in width, with wavy edges on both sides.
It is prepared similarly to other ribbon-based pasta such as linguine and fettuccine. It is usually served with a more delicate sauce.
• Gnocchi Pasta
Gnocchi are a varied family of dumpling in Italian cuisine of pasta dish. They are made of small lumps of dough composed of semolina, ordinary wheat flour, egg, cheese, potato, breadcrumbs, cornmeal or similar ingredients, and possibly including herbs, vegetables, and other ingredients.
• Capellini Pasta
Capellini is a very thin variety of Italian pasta, with a diameter between 0.85 and 0.92 millimetres.
Like spaghetti, it is rod-shaped, in the form of long strands. Capelli d’angelo is a thinner variant with a diameter between 0.78 and 0.88 millimetres.
• Tortiglioni Pasta
Tortiglioni are a type of pasta, similar to rigatoni but larger and with deeper grooves which spiral around the pasta.
They take their name from the Latin word torquere, meaning “to twist”. A tortiglione is a characteristic design from the lathe used in pasta manufacturing, with vertical ridges.
• Tortelloni Pasta
Tortelloni are a stuffed type of pasta common in Northern Italy, with a shape similar to tortellini, but larger and with the extremities closed differently.
They are traditionally stuffed with ricotta cheese and leaf vegetables such as parsley and/or spinach.
• Baked Ziti Pasta
Baked ziti is a popular casserole with ziti pasta and a Neapolitan-style tomato-based sauce characteristic of Italian-American cuisine.
It is a form of pasta al forno. Typically, the pasta is first boiled separately until it is nearly, but not completely, done.
• Orecchiette Pasta
Orecchiette are a pasta typical of Apulia, a region of Southern Italy. Their name comes from their shape, which resembles a small ear.
• Farfalle Pasta
Farfalle is one of the types of pasta commonly known as bow-tie pasta or butterfly pasta.
The name is derived from the Italian word farfalle. In the Italian region of Emilia-Romagna, farfalle are known as strichetti.
A larger variation of farfalle is known as farfalloni, while the miniature version is called farfalline.
• Fregula Pasta
Fregula is a type of pasta from Sardinia. It is similar to North African Berkoukes, Middle Eastern Moghrabieh.
Fregula comes in varying sizes, but typically consists of semolina dough that has been rolled into balls 2–3 mm in diameter and toasted in an oven.
• Maultaschen Pasta
Maultaschen are a kind of large meat-filled dumpling in Swabian cuisine. They consist of sheets of pasta dough filled with minced meat, smoked meat, spinach, bread crumbs and onions and flavored with various herbs and spices.
Maultaschen are typically 8–12 centimetres across. They are square or rectangular in shape.
• Calamarata Pasta
Calamarata is a kind of thick ring pasta, often dyed with black squid ink so that they resemble sliced calamari.
It originates from Naples in the South of Italy. Calamaretti is the smaller variant of Calamarata.