Five Types of Pasta, and How to Use Them

Five Types of Pasta, and How to Use Them




Who doesn’t love pasta? It seems to have been part of our lives forever. It’s ridiculously simple to make fresh in just a few minutes and, depending on how it’s used, it can be high and filling or light and healthy. It started as a dish of peasant farmers but its elegant simplicity has taken it to the heights of the most famous restaurants worldwide.

Look at any tiny shop in Italy and you’ll find dozens of different types of pasta. Look in a supermarket and there are hundreds. Outside Italy only a few of these are widely known – spaghetti and lasagne being the most obvious. already then, they’re often used in completely the wrong kind of dish. Take spaghetti bolognese, for example – no self-respecting Italian would ever put a Bolognese sauce with spaghetti – spaghetti is far too thin and the meat just won’t stick to it as it should.

So to help you get it right, here’s a description of five basic types of pasta, and the different dishes they’re best served in.

Farfalle: translated, method “bow-tie” – so called, clearly, because of its shape, like little wide bow-ties. This pasta is great served covered in a simple butter and garlic sauce to join slices of meat such as grilled chicken, ground beef, or sausage. And its shape and high texture also goes well with tomato and cheese sauces and with vegetables as entree kind meals.

Capellini: commonly known as “angel hair” pasta. This is similar to spaghetti in that it is long and thin, but it is much more fine and can’t keep up meat or vegetable sauces. Because of its delicate texture, angel hair pasta is great for use in broths and soups but can also be effective served with a simple lemon butter sauce. It is particularly popular in the warm summer months because its light texture doesn’t weigh down the stomach as much as a complete-blown spaghetti kind pasta.

Penne: These types of pasta are elongated tubes cut at a slant, with ridges. This is a pasta for hearty and high meals and is typically served with meat sauces, or covered in pesto sauce to join meatballs, sausages and chicken. It’s also commonly used in casseroles and cold pasta salads because the ridges keep up on to the herbs and sauces well.

Linguine: linguine is a cousin of spaghetti – it’s long and straight but instead of being round is flat in design. One of the most versatile pastas, it’s great with tomato based sauces, especially with seafood, and is often used for alfredo and carbonara dishes. Unlike other pastas, it’s often sold dried in Italian shops.

Macaroni: or “macheroni” to give it its proper Italian name, comes in a associate of varieties. It’s always short and round with a hollowed middle but can be straight or can have a slight bend in the middle. Macaroni is usually used for high, cheese-based baked casserole dishes and stove top meals – the most shared of them, of course, being macaroni cheese.

For Italian people, these pastas are just a little on the unexciting side, but in other places in the world they’re some of the most shared. Any kind of pasta is really very easy to make at home, cooks in a matter of minutes, and provides a tasty, healthy, inexpensive meal for the whole family. Kids love helping to make it too – it’s messy enough for them to have fun, and they love winding it by a pasta machine into a long, long strip.

Have a look at this page on our website for more information about how to make pasta.

And next time you want to whip up a quick meal that’s both satisfying and economical, look no further than the pasta of your choice.




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