The history of pasta is a rich and far-reaching one. Some sources say it dates as far back as the 13th century. Others claim this stretches all the way back to 800 AD

So there’s been plenty of time for the creation of many amazing and delicious types of pasta. You don’t just have to stick to your regular spaghetti!  

If you’re thinking of switching up your pasta choices you need to know what’s on offer. In that case, you’re in the right place. 

Read on to find to out the eight most delicious and bizarre pasta shapes and flavors out there! 

What Can Different Types of Pasta Offer You? 

Your pasta doesn’t just have to be there to bulk out a meal. Different types of pasta can perfectly complement different types of pasta dishes.

Certain pasta shapes suit particular types of sauces. Pasta with bigger gaps is great for holding thicker sauces. Pasta shapes that form cups are also great for this. 

But different types of pasta can also add to the flavor of your dish. For example, a tomato, spinach or basil infused pasta is a lovely base for lots of dishes. 

To expand your pasta horizons why not check out these Italy food tours and add to your family favorites recipes? But if Italy isn’t on the horizon yet, you can start by checking out these exciting types of pasta.

1. Orzo Pasta

Orzo is also known as Risoni and is easily confused with rice. It resembles large, long grains of rice but actually belongs to the pasta family. 

This means it’s a great option if you’re looking for a rice alternative or if you’re trying to control your pasta portion sizes. It’s particularly delicious in a salad or a hearty pasta soup. 

Plain orzo has a pale yellow color. But saffron, chilies, or black beans can change its taste and color. So orzo also comes in rich yellow, orange or black hues. 

This means it can really jazz up the appearance of soup or salad on your dinner table! 

2. Radiatori Pasta

Radiatori pasta gets its name from radiators and when you see it it’s clear why! 

This thicker pasta has a ruffled shape resembling radiator grooves. Apparently, an industrial designer created this particular shape in the 1960s, which is why it’s so distinctive. Their design makes them really popular with kids! 

But the shape isn’t the only exciting this about radiatori pasta. The grooves lend themselves to catching thick sauces with meat or vegetables in. So they’re perfect for making casseroles or pasta bakes with.

3. Campanelle Pasta 

Here’s another style of pasta that is perfect for catching all the sauce! 

Campanelle pasta is like a hybrid between a tube, a twist, and a shell. The shell holds the pasta sauce, while the tube and twist help to keep it there. So you can get a little bit of everything with each mouthful! 

Perhaps most distinctive about this lesser-known type of pasta is the wiggly edges. This is where campanelle gets its name from. 

Campanelle literally means “bellflowers” in Italian. Bellflowers share the same deep shell and wiggly edges as their namesake pasta! 

4. Bucatini Pasta

Bucatini pasta is one of the most distinctive types of noodles out there. From the outside, it might look like your regular pasta noodles but look closer and it’ll surprise you! 

Bucatini is long and narrow like spaghetti. But unlike spaghetti, it’s actually hollow. In many ways, it looks a lot like very long, very thin macaroni.

This means there’s extra room to distribute your sauce throughout your pasta dish. So it’s great for casseroles or broths. But make sure you eat this with a serviette – it can get really messy! 

5. Angel Hair Pasta

Angel hair pasta or Capellini D’Angelo is perfect if you’re looking for a lighter alternative to spaghetti. 

Regular capellini is very thin, measuring between 0.85 and 0.92 mm in diameter. But angel hair pasta is even thinner! It has a diameter of just 0.78 to 0.88 mm.

This gives the pasta a very delicate and light quality. You usually buy it in nests, like noodles, and it cooks very quickly.

It pairs wonderfully with seafood or very light sauces. So it’s a great addition to any summer recipe book. 

6. Stelle

Stelle or stelline is another type of very light pasta. And it’s often popular with kids. 

This is probably because of its shape. Stelle pasta is shaped like little stars, which makes it a joy to look at as well as to eat. 

It comes in two sizes. Stelle are bigger. These are great on their own or with a little butter and salt. They also pair nicely with a light sauce. 

Stelline are a tiny version of stelle. They are a lovely addition to broths and soups.  

7. Squid Ink Pasta

Squid ink pasta has become more and more popular in recent years, although you might only be familiar with it on the menu at fancy restaurants. 

What stands out most about this type of pasta is the color. Squid ink gives the pasta a rich, dark, black color. This is very distinctive and great for highlighting bright vegetables in the dish. 

But the color isn’t the only great thing about squid ink pasta. It actually has a number of health benefits too.

As well as being delicious, it’s rich in antioxidants and iron. It also contains glumatic acid, which can apparently increase your intelligence. So squid ink pasta can make you healthier and smarter! 

In theory, you can add squid ink to any kind of pasta. The most common type of pasta infused with squid ink is spaghetti or tagliatelle.  

8. Mafaldine Pasta

Speaking of tagliatelle – here’s an exciting pasta alternative! 

Like tagliatelle or linguine, mafaldine features long, thin ribbons. However, they are also textured. You can spot mafaldine by its thicker, wiggly edges. 

These rivets are great for holding extra bits of sauce when you wind it up around your fork. It’s a perfect accompaniment for rich, meaty sauces. 

So There You Have It!  

You don’t have to just stick to your regular penne pasta or spaghetti dishes. There are looks of bizarre and delicious types of pasta out there to spice up your meals. 

And for more ideas on how to make your diet more exciting, check out our recipe blog today!

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