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different-shapes-of-pastaPasta is a very common staple foodstuff made from unleavened dough that is cut into a variety of shapes from waves and shells to tubes and strings. Pasta is cooked by boiling in water and covered with sauce. The type and density of the sauce is paired to the shape of the pasta.

Other uses of pasta are as part of a soup-like dish or included in a baked dish, such as cannelloni or lasagna.  Pasta dishes can be small and served as a first course.  They can also be made into cold pasta salads.  Long and thin strands of pasta go well with pesto and other simple sauces.  Tomato sauces combine well with thicker sauces. Think marinara sauce, clam sauce, and ravioli alla marinara.

The Following are Different Shapes of Pasta

Agnolotti:Semicircular pockets; can be stuffed with ricotta or a mix of cheese and meats or pureed vegetables.

Cannelloni: Large stuffed tube or “large little canes.”

Capellini: A thin strand of Italian wheat pasta usually shaped in a straight string or nest and most often served in broth or with a thin or delicate sauce.

Couscous: These tiny grains of wheat pasta originated in northern Africa and migrated north to Sicily. Precooked or instant couscous is the most common form used in the U.S. because it requires no cooking; simply added to boiling water, taken off the heat, and couscous is ready to eat in about 5 minutes.

Egg noodles:  Made with eggs and wheat, egg noodles come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Fine egg noodles are best used in soups. Medium egg noodles works well in both soups and casseroles. Buttered, they can be served as accompaniments to main dishes. Wide egg noodles work well in casseroles and noodle bakes. Extra wide noodles are hearty enough to stand up to meaty sauces and work well in casseroles and lasagnas.

Farfalle: Bow tie or butterfly shaped or “butterflies.”

Fettuccine:  Slightly wider than linguine, these noodles, literally “little ribbons” in Italian, go well with cream sauces.

Lasagna: Very wide noodles that often have fluted edges; used in casseroles.

Linguine:  Narrow ribbons of pasta that are often teamed with clams or shrimp. The name means “little tongues” in Italian.

Mafalda: The ruffled edges on these long, flat, and wide noodles make them resemble a narrow lasagna noodle.  They hold up well to thick meaty sauces.

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