As any pasta lover knows, there are many types of pasta, and the beloved carb comes in all shapes and sizes. Some pasta have long, stringy shapes, and some are short spirals. Some have distinct shapes resembling shells or bow ties, while some have shapes very similar to seeds or grains.
Depending on its shape, certain varieties of pasta are better paired with certain sauces and dishes. Vermicelli, a thin spaghetti-like pasta sometimes broken into short pieces, is ideal for soups or noodle salads. Manicotti, short, wide pasta tubes, are meant to be stuffed with meat, cheese, and vegetables. And ruote’s wagon-wheel shape goes well with many types of dishes, but its spokes are especially great for catching chunks of meat and vegetables in thick sauces.
It’s easy to get stuck in a pasta rut and continuously fall back on a pasta shape you know and love. But knowing which pasta shapes go best with different sauces and dishes might encourage you to get out of that routine and try new pasta combinations.
This guide to pasta varieties can help you branch out of your one-shape habit and experiment with all sorts of pasta dishes.
Haley WIllard is The Daily Meal's assistant editor. Follow her on Twitter @haleywillrd.