Get a taste for these popular Italian pastas.
Whether it’s freshly made or from a box, pasta is one of the simplest—and most beloved—dishes to prepare at home. From stuffed shells and spaghetti and meatballs to fettuccine Alfredo and potato gnocchi, there are countless recipes that feature pasta as their main ingredient. This carbohydrate-rich food is traditionally made from simple ingredients, including wheat, water, and eggs, and then molded into different shapes before being cooked in boiling water. Thanks to the low-carb and gluten-free movements in the U.S., there are now a variety of “alternative” pastas made from protein-packed lentils, chickpeas, or quinoa. Many of these are offered in classic shapes like rotini, penne, or fusilli, so you can try more health-conscious versions of time-honored pasta recipes. (Check out our favorite healthy pasta recipes here!)
But despite how pervasive pasta is in kitchens and restaurants across America, you might see a word like “bucatini” or “pappardelle” on a menu and find yourself either completely stumped or racking your brain to recall the shape of that particular noodle. That’s why we’ve rounded up some of the most common Italian types of pasta to give you a crash course on one of the world’s most delicious, popular foods. Plus, check out our corresponding recipes for delicious twists on all your favorite traditional pasta dishes! (Don't miss these summer pasta recipes and pasta salad recipes too.)