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Oodles of Noodles

20 types of pasta and the best ways to eat them.

There are more than 500 pasta shapes. Long pasta, short pasta, pasta for soups, pasta that can be stuffed, pasta that pairs well with sauce, pasta that complements cheese — the uses are endless. Here are 20 types of pasta used in kitchens all over the world, along with suggestions on how to eat them. Just add hot water!

1. Rotini – Slightly smaller than fusilli and more tightly wound, this pasta is a great ingredient in pasta salads and other dishes — a texture to entice any appetite.

2. Gnocchi – Mix things up with this fun and easy potato-based pasta.

3. Tortellini These noodles can be filled with cheese, meat and even vegetables. You could liken tortellini to the dumplings of Italian culture.

4. Lasagna – A childhood favorite, this pasta can be made into meat, veggie or even a dessert lasagna dish.

5. Campanelle – From the Italian word for lilies, this pasta is one of the more elegant-looking noodles on our list.

6. Paccheri – Similar to rigatoni, this pasta is very versatile and pairs well with thicker sauces.

7. Fettuccine – A great alternative to spaghetti. Pair it with a meat sauce for a change from the typical Alfredo.

8. Gemelli – This pasta is the crown jewel of pasta salads.

9. Cannelloni – Stuff this pasta with ricotta and your favorite sauce for a baked treat.

10. Cavatelli – This pasta’s shape allows for a good surface area to catch a thicker and chunkier sauce.

11. Ruote – Often described as wagon wheels, this pasta is most commonly seen in mac and cheese boxes but in a meat or veggie sauce the hollow areas are great at ensuring a flavorful bite every time.

12. Fusilli – Often mistaken for rotini, this spiral pasta is made using long noodles twisted in tight coils and cut into smaller noodles. Show your culture by knowing the difference between these two pastas.

13. Ravioli – A very versatile treat, this pasta can be stuffed with anything from cheese to meat and even seafood.

14. Farfalle – Most commonly referred to as “bowties,” this pasta is best suited for light sauces or even just a drizzle of olive oil.

15. Tagliatelle – One of the most versatile pastas, it can be paired with meat, cream and even lighter sauces.

16. Bucatini – Similar to spaghetti. The largest difference between these two pastas is the hollow nature of the bucatini noodle. It holds sauce better than spaghetti and allows for more flavor in every bite.

17. Spaghetti – The Italian word spago means string, which is the perfect description of this popular pasta.

18. Penne – Perhaps the most versatile pasta of all. Put penne in baked dishes, salads or eat it plain.

19. Rigatoni – Commonly paired with vodka sauce. You can’t go wrong with this pasta.

20. Pici – Pair this unique pasta with an herb sauce, truffle sauce or a lamb ragu.