The Many Types of Pasta and What You Need To Know About Them
Have you ever gotten ready to order a dish of pasta and suddenly realized you have no idea what type of noodle you are ordering? If the words rigatoni, fusilli and linguini all look the same to you on paper, then you may want to take a look at our overview of different pasta types so you know just what you are getting when you place your order.
Did you know that the name spaghetti translated actually means “a length of cord”? It makes sense when you look at the shape of this noodle. This is perhaps the most popular type of pasta in the United States and while it can be used with any sauce, most eat it with hearty tomato sauce and meatballs for a classic, yet delicious dish.
Linguini, or linguine, actually translates in Italian to mean little tongues. Simply put, it is a long, spaghetti-like pasta, flattened into an oval-shape, approximately 1/8 inch wide. The shape of this pasta noodle is very versatile and works with almost any sauce imaginable. You may also find linguini in different stir-fry dishes or salads.
Most people recognize lasagna when they see it. This famed Italian casserole mixes creamy cheeses, typically red sauce, meats and even more cheese to create a one-of-a-kind, hearty Italian dish. The key, of course, is the long, wide flat noodles, known as lasagna noodles that make up the heart of this casserole.
At most Italian restaurants, you will find gnocchi in the menu under the pasta section. However, this classic Italian dish, isn’t exactly pasta, it is a creation all of its own. Technically, gnocchi are thick, soft dough dumplings. They are served with similar sauces, meats and vegetables as pasta, but they have a texture and flavor that is all their own.
Rigatoni noodles are short, wide and hollow in the middle. They are often called tube noodles and are known for the little ridges alongside the edge of these noodles. Typically, rigatoni noodles are served with really hearty, chunky meat sauces, but they can be prepared and served with virtually any type of sauce or cheese.
There is no easy way to describe the shape of cavatelli noodles, except that they look like tiny hot dog buns. Some people may even initially get them confused with conchiglie or shell shaped pasts. Typically, this type of pasta is served with thick, chunky sauces and many times with meat, cream or seafood. You may also find cavatelli in cold pasta salads.
If you have never tried bucatini before, then it is about time you give this noodle a try. This long pasta noodle is shaped like a thick piece of spaghetti but has a hollow center. One of the great things about bucatini is that it works with all types of sauces and with virtually any protein from chicken to crabs. Many chefs will also use bucatini is casseroles as the noodle really maintains a great texture when baked.
Ravioli are a type of dumpling composed of a filling sealed between two layers of thin pasta dough. Raviolio is also very versatile often square, stuffed with a filling, usually of meat or cheese, and often served with a tomato sauce.
Now that you are a seasoned expert on all things pasta noodles, it is time to put your knowledge to the test next time you order. In fact, you can come on down to Bottiglia, a Green Valley Ranch Restaurant, and impress us with your impressive noodle knowledge.