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So Many Types of Pasta and Uses!

Grocery stores have plenty of “dried” pasta varieties but if you choose to experiment with making your own “fresh” pasta, all you need is flour, egg, salt, water and a pasta maker.  These come in the hand-cranked style or electric pasta makers.  Some stand mixers have pasta attachments that can be bought separately.

Orecchiette:  These “little ears” of pasta are shaped like tiny bowls or discs. They work well with moderately chunky sauces.

Orzo:  This rice shaped pasta is best served as a side dish to roasted or grilled meats, stirred into soups, or tossed into a pasta salad.

Pappardelle:  These very thick wide (3/4 inch) ribbons of pasta come both straight and in nests. Pappardelle, which literally means “gulp down,” pairs well with hearty meat sauces.

Penne:  The name means “pens” or “quills” in Italian. The diagonal cut on these pasta tubes helps to scoop the sauces inside.  Penne is quite versatile and can be used with sauce, baked into a casserole or used in pasta salads.

Rigatoni:  These large, grooved pasta tubes are substantial and toothsome. Like ziti, they are often sauced with hearty vegetable or meat sauces or baked into casseroles.  The grooves in the pasta help to hold and absorb sauces.

Spaetzle:  Translated from German, the name for this cross between a dumpling and a noodle means “little sparrow.” These little pillows made from wheat flour, eggs, and milk are eaten primarily in Germany and Austria. To make spaetzle, the dough is often forced through a large holed colander into a pot of boiling water.

Spaghetti:  The most popular pasta variety, the name means “little strings” in Italian. Spaghetti is best used with light tomato or cream sauces.

Tagliatelle: Ribbon fairly thinner than fettuccini or “little cut ones.”

Vermicelli: In the U.S. vermicelli is thinner than spaghetti and means “little worms.”

Ziti: These smooth, hollow tubes of pasta, “bridegrooms” in Italian range from 2 to 12 inches long. The shorter versions of this pasta, called cut ziti, are more common in U.S. supermarkets. They go well with hearty meat sauces and are often baked into casseroles.

Any way you wish to use pasta, I hope you will enjoy the many shapes and varieties of pasta. Mangia bene!

And if you care to travel and learn to cook, there are many options available these days.  Fortune Magazine says select Starwood, Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons properties as well as the Asian luxury chain Anantara have added cooking schools.

For more information, please visit Sallys Place.

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