There’s something reliable about pasta. It is affordable, practical, and can easily swing from leftover night to date night, depending on your ingredients. While much of pasta’s flavor and character rely on the sauce, the types of pasta you use can also spell a huge difference in the dish’s overall effect. Choosing the right pasta shapes can help enhance the taste and texture.
Are you tired of the usual spaghetti, macaroni, and fettuccine? Here are some underrated pasta shapes you can try to make pasta nights more memorable.
Rotelle, the Wheel Pasta
This whimsical wheel-shaped pasta is ideal for soups. Think beefy sopas, chicken noodles, or minestrone. The spokes serve as a net that helps you catch the other ingredients – such as bits of carrots, ground meat, and corn – giving you the best bite every time.
Orecchiette, the Small Ear
It’s a round pasta with a shallow dip in the middle perfect for catching sauces and sahog. Orecchiette works best as a substitute for macaroni. You can use it for mac and cheese (orecchiette and cheese, anyone?) or with meaty sauces, like Bolognese or ragout. Make sure to add Knorr Beef Cube to your sauce to enhance its flavor.
Tagliatelle, the Ribbon
Tagliatelle looks like many other types of long pasta. However, it’s flatter, wider, and longer than fettuccine and linguine, and narrower than pappardelle. As with other pasta of this shape, tagliatelle is a terrific vehicle when the sauce is the star of your dish. Try it with carbonara, alfredo, or even pesto.
Paccheri, the Tube
It’s an upsized version of rigatoni and macaroni. Tube pasta helps you appreciate dishes that are heavy on ingredients. Classic pasta components like peas, cherry tomatoes, clams, chicken chunks, and nuts are delicious but not exactly fork-friendly. Paccheri manages to catch all of these for a more intense bite.
Orzo, the Grain
Tiny types of pasta like orzo, fregola, and stelline are extremely versatile and work best with scoopable dishes, like broths, soups, and even casserole. You can also add it to add a little heft to fresh salads. Orzo is shaped like grain, so you can try it as a rice substitute. Try it and see how it revises the texture of your favorite paella or risotto recipe.
Bucatini, the Straw
Bucatini is a cross between spaghetti and tube pasta. It’s essentially the former except it has a hole running through the middle, making it extra friendly to rich sauces, like amatriciana, a delicious cheese, tomato, and guanciale combo. Amplify the flavor of the pork jowl by integrating Knorr Pork Cube when you prep the sauce. In Italy, people even use uncooked bucatini as a biodegradable straw.
There are probably as many types of pasta out there as there are sauces. Learning to mix and match and discover your preferences are part of the fun. Use this guide to upgrade your favorite pasta dishes with more unconventional shapes. Start by finding out which one works best with this Vigan Vongole recipe.