Thomas Jefferson first introduced macaroni to the states in 1789. Jefferson had a penchant for mac and cheese and imported both macaroni and Parmesan for his use at his estate in Virginia. In 1802, Jefferson even served "a pie called macaroni" at a state dinner.
The reason there are so many pasta forms is that the weight, texture, size, and shape all contribute to the way in which the build holds onto sauce. For instance, light and creamy sauces cling best to long and skinny pasta strands like spaghetti and linguine, and tubular shapes like rigatoni and penne are better suited for thick, chunky sauces that trap the goodness within their voids.
Whichever shape you prefer, revel in this gift from Italian culture by digging into a bowl of your favorite pasta. Here are 20 of our favorites.
— Editor Rachael Pack contributed to this roundup.