How to Order the Perfect Plate of Pasta Without Asking Your Waiter

How to Order the Perfect Plate of Pasta Without Asking Your Waiter

With so many different types of noodles out there, it can be overwhelming to know which type of pasta is right for you. While most people know whether they like red sauce or creamy, prefer chicken or sausage, it doesn’t mean that they don’t know what the different noodles are or mean.

The good news is, you don’t have to spend time asking your waiter to explain the differences for you. Here is your guide to ordering your perfect plate of pasta and an overview of the different pasta shapes that are likely to appear on your menu.


Cavatelli noodles look like little hot dog buns and commonly look similar to conchiglie shells, which are also known as “shells.” These pasta noodles are most commonly served with a thick, chunky pasta sauce, you may also see them in pasta salads. This type of noodle can be served with a variety of toppings, including meat, cream, veggie or seafood sauces.


Lasagna is one of the most popular types of pasta out there. Lasagna is made using thin flat noodles that are layered together with chunky sauces, veggies and meat and is served with marinara sauce. You can typically also find vegetables lasagnas as well.


Linguini noodles, also known as angel hair pasta, are extremely thin noodles that are perfect for dishes that are served with lighter sauces. Similar to other types of pasta dishes, linguini is often served with different veggies, seafood, cream sauces or light red sauces. Many times, linguini is also used as a substitute for spaghetti noodles. 



If you see ravioli on the menu, you can expect to find large shells that are typically filled or stuffed with meat or cheese and topped with a sauce. Usually, you will only find ravioli served with sauce on top, not with additional meats, veggies or extras. This is because the extra flavor typically comes from what is stuffed inside the ravioli noodles.


You may see gnocchi in the pasta section at many Italian restaurants, but it isn’t actually a pasta. Gnocchi is actually an Italian dumpling made of potatoes and typically served with thick sauces and vegetables, similar to standard noodles. In general, gnocchi is lighter than traditional wheat pasta noodles and have a more airy texture.


Just like gnocchi, risotto open appears on many pasta lists, but isn’t technically pasta. It is a type of rice that, when prepared properly, is extra light and fluffy. Typically risotto is served as mushroom risotto with a creamy sauce base and plenty of shitake mushrooms.


Rigatoni noodles are large, long and grooved with a hollow interior. They look like small tubes. Since they are so versatile, and simple, these noodles can be served with virtually any type of sauce, but they are most commonly served with meat marinara, cream sauce or cheese sauce.

Keep these distinctions in mind if you are planning on ordering a plate of pasta at your next dinner at your favorite Henderson Italian Restaurant, Bottiglia. The more you know about the different noodle types, the easier it will be to place an order for your perfect plate of pasta.