All About Pasta Shapes and Types

Italian pasta comes in a variety of types and shapes (it’s not all spaghetti), and with each bringing an individual contribution to specific dishes. While to some pasta is just pasta, those who love Italian food know that no two are ever the same.

When Pasta Isn’t Just Pasta

The size and shape of pasta create a unique texture that can entirely alter the experience of any meal. To give you some background — so you can choose what’s right for your recipe — here are a few Italian pasta types and traditional pasta shapes that will bring a distinctly unique, or a subtle nuance to, your next Italian dinner party.

  • Tortellini

A popular stuffed, curled pasta that is often served in soups or sauces. Here’s a great way to try tortellini: Sauté garlic in a pan with olive oil. Then, add salt, pepper, several halved cherry tomatoes, and a handful of fresh spinach. Once the greens wilt, toss together with cooked tortellini and serve with freshly grated parmesan.  

  • Angel Hair

This pasta, Angel’s hair, also referred to as capellini, is as delicate as it sounds. It cooks very quickly, so when cooking pasta if you’re not careful, it can be easily overlooked. It doesn’t tend to stand up under a heavy, meat sauce, but does go well with a lighter accompaniment.

The Angels will sing when you make this light, fresh, and delicious meal. Take cooked angel hair and toss it in a pan of extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, red pepper flakes, parsley, a splash of fresh lemon juice, and a bit of lemon zest. Just like its pasta name implies, this dish is heavenly.

  • Farfalle

Also called bowtie pasta, Farfalle is a heartier, slightly chewy pasta, that can handle a heavier sauce. You can easily use farfalle with meat, or vegetable, ingredients.

Here’s a great way to serve farfalle: toss cooked farfalle with extra virgin olive oil, salt, red pepper flakes, grated parmesan, and a generous amount of cooked broccoli florets. This is as simple, and colorful, as it is delicious.


  • Penne

Shaped like a pen, but its name translates as quills. Penne is a rather sturdy pasta that works perfectly with heavier sauces, and with meats, vegetables, or fish

Here’s one your family will love: take cooked penne and toss it in a pan. Heat to medium, with shredded cooked chicken, coarse salt, pepper, parmesan cheese, and heavy cream. Serve topped with fresh parsley for added flavor and color. Mangia!

  • Linguine

Linguine translates as little tongues. Flat in shape, and sturdier than spaghetti, it’s particularly wonderful in an olive oil-based sauce.

Try this one for a light, easy, delicious treat. Toss cooked linguine into a pan of sautéed olive oil, garlic, sea salt, parsley, and a splash of lemon juice or white wine. Serve it with grated parmesan. Also, this dish is great with sautéed Scampi. Make sure to try both versions!

  • Ravioli

Ravioli is a stuffed pasta that everyone loves. Ravioli can be filled with meat or cheese and is sturdy enough to handle a rich tomato meat sauce. However, it’s also delicious served with a cream sauce.

Here’s a ravioli dish that incorporates a bit of both. Take your favorite tomato sauce recipe and heat in a pan to medium. Add heavy cream, while stirring constantly. Be sure not to let the sauce come to a boil. Add a sprig of fresh thyme, and serve over cooked cheese ravioli. This is the best of both worlds, for sure!

To try a variety of Italian pasta as well as other entrees, soups, appetizers, and even desserts, join us at Serafina in Miami. We are conveniently located at 19565 Biscayne Blvd. #1944.

For Reservations, simply give us a call. We look forward to serving you.


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