What’s the best way to describe Italian Cuisine? A few adjectives spring to the mind. It is hearty, bursting with natural flavours, vibrant and colourful. In short, it is an experience to be celebrated and savoured. Pasta is a common staple in the Italian diet, and given its versatility it is cooked in numerous parts of the world. Dress it up with a wonderful aromatic sauce or dress it down by tossing it with some cheese and butter. While you can partake of fresh homemade pasta in Rome, for those of us who live a little further down south in the desi part of the world dried pasta is the variety that graces most store shelves. So for those who need to acquaint themselves with pasta in all its glory and infinite variety, here is a humble introduction to basic pasta shapes.
Spaghetti consists of long strands or strings of pasta. Different varieties of spaghetti vary in terms of their thickness. Once spaghetti is boiled, the exterior should be soft while it retains its firmness on the inside- a term known as “al dente.” Spaghetti is best combined with creamy sauces. It is a key ingredient in meals such as Spaghetti Bolognese, Spaghetti with Meatballs and Spaghetti Carbonara. A fat variety of spaghetti is known as ziti.
Bucatini pasta is akin to spaghetti albeit with a hole. Not only that, it is also slightly thicker than spaghetti. This tube shaped variety possesses a long length. It can be combined with sauces to create delicious meals such as Carbonara. Check this Carbonara recipe by Chef Dev.
Remember the Garfield and Lasagne connection? This flat shaped pasta is the widest among the ribbon pasta variety. It is also available in the form of squares or rectangles. The edges of Lasagne might either be plain or ridged. Chicken and Mushroom, Spinach and Vegetable Lasagna are some of the tasty and delicious meals prepared with this variety.
Macaroni is a tube shaped pasta. It is hollow from the centre. It is often cut into shorter lengths. Macaroni can also be curved and elbow- shaped. Mac n Cheese is a favourite meal prepared with this kind of pasta. Macaroni and Beef and Macaroni pizza are also enjoyed thoroughly by people of all ages.
Penne pasta takes the form of cylindrical tubes cut into shorter lengths. It is quite handy for dishes which require baking. Penne all’ Arrabiata, Penne Pasta Bake with Beef and White Sauce Penne Pasta are all hot faves in local restaurants.
Tagliatelle are flat strips or strands of pasta which are narrow in width. They are often assembled into a nest- like formation. Tagliatelle is typically boiled and makes a great combination with Bolognese Sauce.
Tagliatelle and Fettucine bear a striking resemblance, with some minor differences. Fettucine is also flat shaped. However, it is slightly wider than Tagliatelle in terms of its width. Fetuccini Alfredo is a wonderful treat with its creamy, buttery sauce. Fetuccine pasta enhances the texture of dishes that contain sauce as one of the main ingredients.
Fusilli falls under the category of small pasta. These spiral shaped bites make an ideal combo when served with pesto sauce. Other delicious dishes include Fusilli with Fresh Pomodoro and Fusilli with Meat Sauce.
This pretty bow- shaped variety adds a lovely texture to soups such as minestrone. Use it to prepare baked dishes or combine it with other falvourful sauces.
Ravioli pasta is stuffed with filling and is often accompanied by a sauce. Ravioli is typically square shaped. However, it can also take other forms such as a circle or semi circle.