At Dagostino Pasta, we know there's a lot of questions when it comes to the different types of pasta.
Lucky for you, we’ve been making pasta the same way since 1926 and we can talk about it all day long and we have the answers to some of the most asked pasta questions.
Starting with the basics and ending with the most important pasta question:
- How many pasta types are there?
- What are the main groups for different types of pasta?
- What’s the healthiest pasta type?
- What is the smallest type of pasta?
- What is the largest type of pasta?
- What are the most popular types of pasta?
- Does it even matter what type of pasta you use?
- How do you choose the right type of pasta for a dish?
How many pasta types are there?
There are seventeen different types of pasta that we make at Dagostino’s. However, counting every single type of pasta in the world is almost limitless. There’s about 50 distinct types but countless ways to sort them. The main ways are differentiating pasta by their shape and differentiating pasta by ingredients.
The way Dagostino pasta gets their distinct shape and texture is by being extruded, or cut, through bronze dies. The advantage to using a bronze die is that it produces a rougher texture on the surface of the pasta as cut. When the pasta has a rougher surface texture, it holds onto the sauce better. Of course, hand cut pasta is cut by hand with a knife or with a hand cranked pasta maker.
Our pasta is always made with pure Semolina flour, but some pasta types are made with other flours like buckwheat or even a dried vegetable blend. When you think of all the ways pastas can be made, there’s probably thousands of types in total, the possibilities are really limitless.
What are the main groups for different types of pasta?There are four main groups each pasta type falls into:
- Long traditional pastas
- Long non-traditional pastas
- Short traditional pasta
- Short non-traditional pasta.
Examples of long traditional pasta types would be Linguine, Fettuccine, and Spaghetti. You know, the usual suspects at the dinner table.
Long non-traditional pasta types would include pastas like our Elena Picolla or Bucatini. These are specialized pastas we make at Dagostino.
Short traditional pasta types include more crowd pleasers like Penne Rigate and Rotini. Our Penne is a tube-shaped pasta with ridged sides. Traditional Penne has angled ends which were inspired by the quill of an old-style ink pen, thus where it gets its name. This pasta type pairs well with hearty sauces such as meat-based marinara or pesto.
Short non-traditional pasta types would be Birdseye (Ditalini) and Ditali, these are very small pasta shapes we make at Dagostino, usually found in soup dishes but sometimes found in more popular dishes like Mac and Cheese. (Try it and thank us later!)
What’s the healthiest pasta type?
When it comes to healthy vs. unhealthy we want you to know anything can be “unhealthy” when consumed in excess and anything can be “healthy” when consumed in moderation.
The biggest argument trendy diets have against pasta is the large amount of carbohydrates, but just like anything else in life: moderation is key. Any type of pasta can be a part of any healthy diet, it provides a great source of energy, Vitamin B and fiber (especially whole grain pasta).
At Dagostino Pasta, our pasta is only ever made with Semolina wheat and water. We pride in never using preservatives, we like to think we’re a great option for health conscious foodies.
What is the smallest type of pasta?
Birdeye pasta, also known as a smaller Piccoli Ditalini is the smallest pasta offered at Dagostino Pasta. “Piccoli Ditali” or the Italian word for “small thimbles” is a tiny, ring-shape pasta. Mostly used in soups, salads or as a rice substitute.
However, there are many types of small pasta or “Pastini” that are great for soups and other dishes, like alphabet pasta or Acini De Pepe.
What is the Largest type of Pasta?
Universally, Lasagna is the largest pasta used in modern cuisine. Lasagna pasta is characterized by it’s long flat sheets and ruffled edges. Lasagna originates from the city of Naples during the Middle Ages, making it also one of the oldest pasta types. It is typically served as a baked dish, layered between chunky meat mixtures, tomato sauce, cheese, vegetables, and seasonings.
Another large pasta type that is quite popular is Conchiglie, a conch shell shaped pasta that is usually served stuffed with meats, cheeses and vegetables.
What are the most popular types of pasta?
Some of the ultimate crowd pleasers are Angel Hair, Fettuccine, and Spaghetti.
These long ribbon and rod shaped pastas are easy to find, prepare and enjoy.
Angel Hair and Fettuccine are best when paired with smooth and creamy sauces.
Spaghetti is often paired with chunky sauces that include meat, tomatoes, and other vegetables.
For Dagostino’s, besides our fun shapes, one of our best sellers is Capellini. Capellini is a type similar to Angel Hair in the way that it’s made as long thin strands of pasta. As a very delicate pasta type, it is best paired with light oil or cream-based sauces and seafood. This pasta and similar types are also delicious served in soup!
Ok, so now you know the basics of different types of pasta.
Now I bet you're wondering how the different pasta types impact the way you prepare your meals, right?
Let’s talk about it:
Does it even matter what type of pasta you use?
The answer is, sometimes! At the end of the day, if the dish tastes good and you enjoy it, then that’s all that matters. However, if you’re the foodie in your family, you can definitely elevate pasta dishes by using certain types.
For example, when preparing cream sauces, you might want to use Fettuccine pasta. The flat ribbon shape of Fettuccine will stick and capture the creamy sauce making each bite perfetto.
For hearty, baked dishes we would recommend the traditional Lasagna, or the not-so traditional Elena Picolla, because of the sturdy way these pasta types layer between meats and cheeses.
For oily or buttery dishes, look for Rotini or Bucatini. The corkscrew shape of Rotini holds onto dressing and oils, and the long center tube of Bucatini traps in melty butter.
For the more traditional meat sauces, use Penne Rigate or Shell pastas. These pastas and other types that are similar have a ridged exterior and smooth interior which means the insides will fill with meat, sauce, and vegetables while the outside ridges will adhere to the sauce when stirred.
How do you choose the right type of pasta for a dish?
Some foodies are very strict when it comes with what type of pasta should be used in certain meals. In our opinion, it really comes down to how the sauce holds onto the pasta.
For example, when you're preparing a pasta salad the corkscrew shape of Rotini pasta will work the best—this is because the little ridges will do their job and catch and hold onto the oils, dressings, and seasonings.
Another example is using Perciatelli “Bucatini” pasta for Mac and Cheese. Perciatelli Bucatini pasta is long tube shaped pasta, a similar type to Spaghetti. The name comes from the Italian word “perciato”, meaning pierced, which refers to the large tube going through it’s center. We recommend Perciatelli Bucatini pasta and similar types to be served with buttery sauces, pancetta, vegetables, cheese, eggs, or sardines in Italian cuisine. This is because when it’s prepared with melty, buttery sauces, the center is capturing flavor with each bite.