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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Italian all the way - Know your pasta!

I love pasta and to be specific, the whole grain and multi-grain variety. I cant tell you enough about my maida Phobia. I was introduced to different pastas during my Business School intership at Bambino Agro Ltd. For people who don't know, Bambino is a generic pasta/vermicelli brand in India. The project I worked on was their new product launches (Varieties of Pasta) (inventory management, raw material sourcing among a few other topics). Although international brands were available locally, they were too expensive for an average middle class kitchen pantry.

I have had my family members ask me questions about pasta ever since my internship...Being the pasta guru in the family ("smiles"), I have taken it upon myself to clear their doubts and provide well researched answers to their FAQs. Not that I am an expert, but yes, my research interests are a mixed bag. I love researching about food, among everything else. (Force of habit I guess.)

International vegetarian cuisine are always a draw for me. A small introduction to the shapes and their names would work well at this point.

We find pasta in long, tubular, spirals, rounds, and other fancy shaped varieties. Wiki mentions that pasta was introduced to Italy thanks to the silk route and European trade with china.

The varieties...
Spaghetti,  is the most popular pasta and works well with simple olive & tomato sauce due to its thin, round strand like shape. It is generally difficult to eat them with chunky veggies and sauces with meat chunks.
This is a whole wheat version.

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Bucatini is a thick, round strand with a hole in the center

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Conchiglie : Look like tiny shells

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Fettuccine :(look like a flatter versions of spaghetti)...

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 Farfalle : Are the bow tie shaped pasta
Image source: wiki

LINGUINE  are flat, smooth strands of pasta and generally a preferred pasta in fancy Italian restaurants

Image source: culinariaitalia.files.wordpress

FUSILLI they look like drill bits or rather corkscrew :-) and look very pretty in a soup or a salad. Look at these lovely tri coloured fusilli
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PAPPARDELLE are very similar to fettuccine, but are wider. they taste really good with strong sauces and flavours. However I have never seen them paried with white sauces or cream based sauces

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RIGATONI Ridged, tubular shape works with chunky sauces and baked dishes

PENNE is another very popular tube shape pasta which complements most sauces and ingredients; It is generally very chewy so holds up well in baked dishes.

Image source: wiki 

ORECCHIETTE are very cute cup shaped pasta which are good to go with a vegetable of your choice. This works well in string flavoured sauces
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TAGLIATELLE looks similar to fettuccine, but is a wider and more substantial pasta served generally with meat and tons of vegetables and chunky sauces
 Image sources: wiki
Bavette is an imaginative version of Spaghetti as it is flatter and has a slightly convex shape. This helps them  capture a wide variety of flavours and also work well with lighter and delicate sauces as well.
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Orzo pasta is in the shape and size of a rice grain. Works well in a wide range of recipes, say in soups, salads and as side dishes served with meat or grilled veggies.
Image source: wiki
Vermicelli literally means little well in soups, sauces and is a great dessert ingredient...who doesnt love a bowl of yummy vermicelli kheer/payasam. :-). I make crazy varieties of main course wiht this pasta variety.>>here is the link to an earlier post
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While researching for shapes and varieties of pasta, I came across this comprehensive list here
Go pasta way, say once a week and enjoy your meal!!!


  1. Loads of info there abt pasta..Love u'r blog!!

  2. Hi Ramya

    Thank you for stopping by and keep visiting to share your ideas and thoughts with me....Loved your blog too..We share the same love - veggie cooking :)

  3. Neat post! I haven't used some of the varieties like orzo and bavette... must hunt!

  4. hey must try them..they are a treat :)



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