How many pasta shapes do you use regularly? If you're like most people, you probably use mostly spaghetti, macaroni, penne, and perhaps some shells. It's time to branch out and try something different! Here are five lesser-known pasta shapes that will satisfy your palate.
Cavatelli are a thick and hearty pasta. The pasta is first made into a circle, which is then partially rolled to create a shell-like log. Cavatelli works really well with thick, creamy sauces since the log traps a lot of the sauce inside. They also stand up well in dishes that need to be baked; you're less likely to overcook the noodle because it is so thick.
You may be familiar with rotini, or corkscrew pasta. Gemelli is similar, but the twists are much thicker. Because of this, gemelli has a lot of bite to it, even if you happen to overcook it a little. It works really well in pasta salads since light dressings cling to it well. You can easily stab it with a fork, too, and it won't break apart when you stir it like some pastas tend to do.
The next time you make a really light pasta dish like scampi or cacio e pepe, use fideo. It's thin, little noodles that look like cut lengths of spaghetti. The light, delicate texture is the perfect match for thin and delicate sauces that would be hidden on a heavier pasta. It only has to cook or three or four minutes, too, so it makes for fast meal prep.
Anelli are little rings. They look just like rubber o-rings or tiny rubber bands. Their classic use is in soups since they are easily spooned up when they're floating in a broth or stock. Anelli is also a good choice if you'd like to serve a stew or hearty meat dish over a pile of pasta.
This pasta is shaped like little ears or flying saucers. They are thick enough that they retain their texture even when baked. They're also a good choice for chunky sauces, like those that contain mushrooms, since the chunks will get caught in the hollow of the pasta.
Which one of these unique pasta shapes would you like to try? Purchase some from a wholesale Italian noodles vendor, and experiment with different dishes and sauces to see how you like the texture and flavors.