All The Pasta Shape Names Explained: How Many Do You Know?

It is brimming with infinite options for pasta due to the vast assortment of shapes and sizes. Every pasta shape is accompanied by a name that may be confusing if you’re familiar with Italian, but with some help in the language, it’ll appear to make sense.

You think you know everything? We’ll take a step beyond pasta and penne and provide three new types of pasta, including quattrotini cas, Castelli, and Vesuvio.

Grab your fork and get one bite of what the names of these pastas actually refer to. You’ll discover the names of pasta that are derived from butterflies and which ones are named after thin ropes, and when someone comes up to farfalle as “the bow tie pasta” (the nerve! ), it’s possible to get a bit sexy!


Dan Pashman, a James Beard Award winner and presenter on the Sporkful podcast, developed Castelli. The name, which was specially crafted to describe the new shape–translates to “waterfalls” in Italian (properly cascatelle). The pasta was developed over three years to create through collaboration with Sfoglini, a pasta maker Sfoglini and has an elongated tube in the middle, with two edges that have ruffles and is a bit like the caterpillar’s shape that’s half bent. The idea behind the creation of the Castelli was to create the best pasta that holds the most sauce possible. It is easy to scoop up with a fork and is a pleasant bite. After the cult success of the Castelli, Pashman teamed up with Sfoglini again to introduce two more special shapes on the marketplace: quattrotini and Vesuvio.


Quattrotini can be described as an innovative Sfoglini pasta created by Pashman and is based on a distinctive shape, which is served only once a year in a tiny area in Sicily. It is shaped like four tubes that are joined to form an oval. In Italy, the shape is referred to as fiveue Buchi (“five holes”).


The new design, Vesuvio, is designed to resemble a volcano named after the mountain Vesuvius and looks like a twirling string that is unraveling at the end. The availability of the shape was restricted in the US. However, Sfoglini plans to sell it more widely from now on.

Now, let’s take a closer look at some of the traditional pasta shapes that you’ll likely notice at the table.


The bow tie-wearing form of pasta. Farfalle is rectangular with a pinched center, and the edges are zigzag. The word”farfalle” in Italian does not have anything to do with fashion or style, however. Farfalle means “butterflies” in Italian, which is connected to the shape and not any other fancy hues. This kind of pasta was first introduced in the 1500s in Northern Italian areas in Emilia-Romagna as well as Lombardia. Nowadays, it is often utilized in dishes with creamy sauces.


You are likely familiar with the spaghetti throughout the entire process in the event that you’re even the tiniest of normal with Italian pasta. It’s possible to use spaghetti as a shorthand for the various Italian pasta shapes. However, it’s actually only one kind: white, starchy pasta, which is served with long strings and served with a variety of tomato, meat, or other sauces. Spaghetti is derived directly from the Italian word spago, which means “thin rope.” Fun fact: spaghetti is the plural form of spaghetti. If you’re talking about a single string, the singular form is spaghetti.


Fettuccine is a pasta cut into narrow and flat strips. In fact, the word “fettuccine” originates from the word fetta, meaning “slice” or “ribbon” in Italian. Foods made with fettuccine have evolved and gained popularity since the beginning of 1900. The most popular dish made with pasta within the US is the fettuccine Alfredo, which is made from flour as well as cream and milk. It’s served with chicken or shrimp. It’s more straightforward in Italy that is usually served just as noodles, butter, as well as fresh Parmesan.


The term fusilli was first documented in English between 1925 and 1930. It comes in the form of Fusillo (“little spindle”) in the southern Italian dialect. It is the shape of a corkscrew or a spiral spiral, and fusilli are made of small noodles. It was initially created by completing the spaghetti noodles on rods and drying them.


Similar to the fettuccine noodle, linguine is a long, flat noodle. Its name is derived from the form of the plural Italian word linguini. It is a reference to “tongue,” and linguine directly means “small tongues.” Whereas the more popular noodle, flat, is fettuccine, it can stand up to more intense sauces; linguine is usually served with a light white sauce and with clams on the top (linguine all vongole).


You could put an eagle in your cap and refer to it as macaroni, but that doesn’t, in actuality, create the appearance of macaroni. The pasta is small and tubular and is made by combining wheat flour. Macaroni is mentioned in English between 1590 and 1600. It is probably derived from its Neapolitan dialect name, Maccarone, which is itself derived directly from Greek malaria, which means “food made from barley.”


Orecchiettes are tiny pieces of pasta that resemble ears with a cupped middle. This is appropriate as its name, Italian, literally means “little ears.” The shape of the pasta originates from Puglia in the southeastern region of Italy. In contrast to many pasta shapes machines can effortlessly spit out, orecchiette is generally made by hand. It is usually eaten with tomatoes or a thick sauce.


The majority of Italian pasta is made into longer noodles or shorter ones with ridges, which makes it easier to take in the sauce. This isn’t and. This pasta shape is characterized by small grains that resemble rice. According to Italian, orzo refers to “barley.” Though it is rooted in Italy and has an Italian designation, orzo is popular in Greek as well as other Mediterranean cuisines.


Pappardelle is the name given to another pasta shape, which is part of the flat pasta family. Noodles. It’s cut into wider strips as compared to the fettuccine and Linuine; however, it’s not quite as broad as lasagna. The first mention of the name was made in English between 1895 and 1900. It is the plural variant of the Italian word “pappardella.. It’s thought that the name derives from the Italian verb “pappare,” meaning “to gobble up or devour.”


When Yankee Doodle was off-calling feathers macaroni, he could be more successful using the pasta known as penne. Penne is an oval pasta with cuts that are diagonally placed on the ends. The term “penne” can be a plural form of”penna,” the Italian phrase penna meaning “pen,” “feather,” or “quill.”


This pasta type is made to store sauces and other meats inside. Ravioli can be described as tiny pasta filled with a filling and served with sauce. They’re usually square but could also be triangular, circular, or any other form you can think of. The name derives directly from the Italian word “raviolo,” meaning “little turnip.”


As with raviolitortellini is a pasta type that is filled with cheese, meat, or sauce. These are more specific to their shape; however, tortellini is cut into rings prior to boiling and served with broth or sauce. The term tortellini is the smaller version of tortilla, which means something similar to “cake” or “fritter” and is used to describe the cake that is stuffed with food.

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