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Pasta

Fact Sheet

 

Pasta is an Italian food made from a dough using flour, water and/or eggs.

 

There are approximately 350 different shapes of pasta.  Examples include spaghetti (solid, thin cylinders), maccheroni (tubes or hollow cylinders), fusilli (swirls), lasagne (sheets), and gnocchi (balls), although this is considered a separate dish by some.

 

The two basic styles of pasta are dried and fresh. There are also variations in the ingredients used in pasta. The time for which pasta can be stored varies from days to years depending upon whether the pasta is made with egg or not, and whether it is dried or fresh. Pasta is boiled prior to consumption.

 

The word, pasta, can also denote dishes in which pasta products are the primary ingredient, served with sauce or seasonings. There are many ingredients that can be used to make pasta dough. They range from a simple flour and water mixture, to those that call for the addition of eggs, spices and cheeses, or even squid ink to the dough.

 

Under Italian law, dry pasta (pasta secca) can only be made from durum wheat or semolina flour. Durum flour has a yellow tinge in colour. Italian pasta is traditionally cooked al dente (Italian: "to the tooth", meaning not too soft). Abroad, dry pasta is frequently made from other types of flour (such as farina), but this yields a softer product, which cannot be cooked al dente.

 

Particular varieties of pasta may also use other grains and/or milling methods to make the flour. Some pasta varieties, such as Pizzoccheri, are made from buckwheat flour. Various types of fresh pasta include eggs (pasta all'uovo). Gnocchi are often listed among pasta dishes, although they are quite different in ingredients (mainly milled potatoes).

 

Common name

Image

Description

Alfabeto 

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Letter-shaped soup pasta

Anchellini

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Short-cut pasta, suitable for vegetable or thin soups

Anelli Siciliani

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Large size ring-shaped short-cut pasta, suitable for soups or salads

Armonie

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Short-cut pasta, suitable for vegetable or thin soups

Ballerine

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Short cut pasta suitable for salads or soups

Bigoli

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Large diameter (about 3 mm) and very long-cut spaghetti, made with wholemeal soft wheat flour or semolina.

Bucatini

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Small diameter (about 2.4 - 2.7 mm) and smooth surface long-cut dry hollow pasta.

Cannelloni

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Short-cut shape, suitable for vegetable sauce pasta or casserolas

Cannolicchi medi

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Hollow short-cut pasta, suitable for casseroles or vegetable soups

Capelli d'angelo

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Very thin long-cut extruded pasta ( mm 1 - 1.2), usually nested or coiled, suitable for clear soups.
Very popular shape all over the world.

Cappelletti

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Medium size, pinched stuffed fresh pasta, filled with vegetables, cheese, ricotta or meat based filling

Cappelletti Umbri

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Typical for the Umbria region

Cappello napoletano

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Short cut pasta suitable for casseroles or salads

Casarecci

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These are short lengths of rolled and twisted Italian pasta.   They're usually served with meat sauces. 

Cavatelli

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It usually refers to small pasta shells that resemble tiny hot dog buns. The name is less commonly used for a type of dumpling made with ricotta cheese. 

Chiocciole

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Short cut pasta suitable for salads or soups

Ciocchetti

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Short cut pasta suitable for salads or soups

Cocciolette

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Small shell-shaped pasta, suitable for vegetable or thin soups

Conchigliette

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Extruded short-cut shape, suitable for soups or meat sauce pasta

Conchiglioni

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Large size short-cut grooved pasta

Coquillettes

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Short-cut extruded shape, suitable for vegetable or meat sauce pasta

Creste di galli

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Short cut pasta suitable for salads or soups. Shaped like creste di galli ("cockscomb" in Italian).

Dischi

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Short cut pasta suitable for casseroles or salads

Fagiolini rigati

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Farfalle

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Stamped " Bologna " shape, suitable for casseroles or meat sauce pasta

Fettuccelle ricce

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Curled fettuccine (width about 12 mm).

Fettuccine

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Long-cut pasta with rectangular section (about 0.8 x 8 mm), fresh or dry.

Francesine

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Extruded short-cut shape, suitable for soups or meat sauce pasta

Fusilli

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Spiral shape short-cut pasta, suitable for casseroles or salads

Fusilloni

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Spiral shape short-cut pasta, suitable for casseroles or salads

Gemelli

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Spiral shape short-cut pasta, suitable for casseroles or salads

Gianduietta

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Short-cut pasta, suitable for vegetable or thin soups

Gigli

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Short cut pasta suitable for casseroles or salads

Gramigna

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Short-cut extruded shape, suitable for vegetable or meat sauce pasta

Gramignoni

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Short-cut extruded shape, suitable for vegetable or meat sauce pasta

Grano

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Short-cut pasta, suitable for vegetable or thin soups

Grattoni

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Short-cut pasta, suitable for vegetable or thin soups

Italiana

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Pierced short-cut pasta, suitable for vegetable and clear soups

Lasagne

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Long-cut pasta with rectangular section (about 0.6 x 25 mm), fresh or dry.

Linguine

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Small size and elliptic section long-cut pasta.

Lumachine

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Short cut pasta suitable for salads or soups

Maccheroni   

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Hollow elbow-shaped pasta

Mafalde

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Rectangular size double side-curled long-cut pasta (width about mm 10).

Malloreddus

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Short-cut pasta, suitable for vegetable or thin soups. From Sardinia .

Maltagliati

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Short-cut pasta, suitable for vegetable or thin soups

Margherita Messinese lunga

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Middle-lenght cut extruded shape, suitable for vegetable or meat sauce pa

Merletti

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Short-cut pasta, suitable for soups or salads

Messinesi

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Short-cut extruded shape, suitable for vegetable or meat sauce pasta

Mezzani

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Large diameter (about 5 - 6 mm) and smooth surface long-cut dry hollow pasta

Mostaccioli

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Slanting short-cut pasta, suitable for casseroles, soups or salads

Mparrettati

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This unusual variety of Italian pasta consists of poorly wrapped straws of dough, about 20-30 cm long.

Nuvole

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Short cut pasta suitable for soups or salads

Occhi di Passero

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Short-cut pasta, suitable for vegetable or thin soups

Ondule

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Curled short-cut pasta, suitable for casseroles or salads

Orecchiette  

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Short cut pasta suitable for salads or soups. Shaped like ears.

Orzo

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Short-cut pasta, suitable for vegetable or thin soups

Pantacce

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Short cut pasta suitable for soups or salads

Pappardelle

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Long-cut pasta with rectangular section (about 0.8 x 20 mm), fresh or dry

Paternoster

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Short-cut pasta, suitable for vegetable or thin soups

Pennine (Penne)

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Slanting short-cut hollow shape, suitable for vegetable sauce pasta

Pennoni

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Large size short-cut hollow pasta

Perciatelli

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Medium diameter (about 4 mm) and smooth surface long-cut pierced dry pasta.

Pizzoccheri

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These long buckwheat noodles are popular in northern Italy

Quadrefiore

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Short cut pasta suitable for salads or soups.

Quadrettini

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Short-cut pasta, suitable for vegetable or thin soups

Quadrucci rigati

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Short-cut pasta, suitable for vegetable or thin soups

Radiatori

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Short-cut extruded shape, suitable for vegetable or meat sauce pasta

Ravioli

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Different size and shape fresh pasta, stuffed with vegetables, ricotta, cheese, meat and even fish based filling.

Ricciarelle

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Double size curled large tagliatella (width about 15 mm).

Rigatoni

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Long hollow tube shaped pasta

Rocchetti

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Short cut pasta suitable for casseroles or salads

Ruotine

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Wheel-shaped, short-cut pasta, suitable for casseroles or salads

Sagnarelli  

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This flat Italian pasta is about 5 cm long, and has a ridged border.

Sciviottini

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Hollow short-cut pasta, suitable for soups or casseroles

Semi di Melone

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Short-cut pasta, suitable for vegetable or thin soups

Spaghetti

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Medium diameter (1.8 - 2.4 mm) long-cut dry pasta (broken for Vermicelli).

Spighe

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Tree-shaped short-cut pasta, suitable for casseroles or salads

Stellette

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Short-cut pasta, suitable for vegetable or thin soups

Strozzapreti 

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The name means "priest strangler" in Italian, and it refers to a pasta shape that resembles a rolled towel.

Tagliatelle

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Long-cut pasta with rectangular section (about 0.8 x 10 mm), fresh or dry.

Tagliati di Ziti

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Short-cut shape, suitable for vegetable sauce pasta

Tagliolini

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Long-cut pasta with rectangular section (about 0.8 x 3 mm), fresh or dry.

Tempesta

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Short-cut pasta, suitable for vegetable or thin soups

Torchio  

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These pasta shapes resemble torches, the better to scoop up chunky sauces.

Tortelli

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Medium or large size, rectangular or square stuffed fresh pasta, filled with vegetables, ricotta, cheese or meat based filling

Tortellini

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Very small size fresh or even dry pasta, stuffed with meat based special filling, by tradition only suitable for meat broth or casserole

Trenne

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Hollow tubes, flattened on one side.

Trennette

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Same as Trenne, but smaller.

Tripolini

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One side curled long-cut pasta (width about 10 mm).

Troffiette

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Small, twisted pasta.

Trottole

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Short cut pasta suitable for salads or soups

Tufoli

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Very large diameter short-cut and smooth surface hollow pasta, suitable for vegetable or meat sauce pasta and for casseroles

Ziti

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Very large diameter long-cut and smooth surface hollow pasta