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What Are Your Most and Least Favorite Pasta Shapes?

Favs: capellini and linguini

Worsts: penne and fettucini

With pasta, to me it's all about mouth-feel. This trait determines whether I like or dislike a pasta shape.

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  1. i love capatavi but think that farfella is overrated. I agree that fettiucini is a bit odd too. For me, Fettuchin always seems so doughy/chewy for lack of better definition. Have you ever had the spaghetti that is hollow and has ridges on the outside, Bucatini? It has a nice mouth-feel.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Munkipawse

      Bucatini is marvelous (Mrs. Khan's personal fav, dontchaknow), but I've never encountered bucatini rigati. Latini, by the by, makes tremendous bucatini, but it ain't cheap.

      1. re: Perilagu Khan

        After my mother spent years pooh-poohing any but the thinnest long pasta in the '60s and onward as a battle cry, I started experimenting and realized that I just love bucatini and bucatelli. My all time favorite il=s linguine, for the long pasta, not sure why I prefer it so to spaghetti. I like fettucine and orzo, not so much fusilli, it's been overdone and overexposed, to me it says grocery store deli pasta salad with Miracle Whip.. Radiatore is a favorite, as are campanelle and gemelli. pennette, the smaller the better, usually, and for some dishes I have to use shells or elbows. And last but not least, tortellini with a tasty filling.

      2. re: Munkipawse

        I have to ask - what is it about bucatini that you find enjoyable? I find if frustrating to eat and have put it on my least favourite list. Given the other posts, I am definitely in the minority!

        1. re: CanadaGirl

          I like the weight, ridged texture and how creamy it becomes when cooked. For me it leaves spaghetti in the dust.

            1. re: Munkipawse

              As Auric Goldfinger said of gold: "All my life I've admired its color, its brilliance, its divine heaviness." ;)

            2. re: CanadaGirl

              I am with you on this one, CanadaGirl. I can never seem to figure out how to get bucatini into my mouth. Dead last on my list. First place is a tie between elbows and shells!

          1. farfalle and twists of all descriptions are the shapes of choice Chez Sunshine -- tagliatelle and fettucine are fab if they're fresh.

            1. Favorites: Gemelli, Orecchiette, and Quadrefiore

              Least Favorites: Ditalini and Fettuccine

              For me, it is definitely about texture, and also about that texture/shape's ability to convey sauce/seasoning of every kind. I'm a sauce girl.

              16 Replies
              1. re: Brianne920

                Oh! Forgot Orecchiette, another favorite

                1. re: EWSflash

                  +1 If only my regular store would carry it all the time. Also is anyone familiar with the long fusili from NE? It is like thick screw shaped spaghetti but has a whole like bucatini. I also love pappardelle.

                  1. re: melpy

                    Yeah, had that long fusili once and really liked it.

                    1. re: melpy

                      Might this be what you mean?


                      If so, I believe I've seen it Italian specialty stores in or around Philly, or you could buy online!

                        1. re: Brianne920

                          Yeah that's it. It was so ubiquitous as a child that I have a hard time justifying seeking it out. I do pick it up when I see it, if reasonably priced.

                          1. re: melpy

                            Absolutely. Growing up in a heavily Italian area, paying a ton for dried pasta that isn't something really special makes me grouchy.

                          2. re: Brianne920

                            Hey, I've seen that before but never tried it--I'll be sure to do so now! thanks!

                          3. re: EWSflash

                            I had problems cooking orecchiette (the little ear shaped cups). They tended to nest inside each other, producing, in effect, thick pasta that did not cook evenly.

                              1. re: paulj

                                Stir often and buy a premium brand. Never had that happen.

                                1. re: paulj

                                  I've only had that issue with Trader Joe orecchiette. Never again.

                                2. re: EWSflash

                                  Orecchiette for sure if it's a meat sauce. I love the way a small bit of ground veal or beef seems to land in each "ear"!

                                3. re: Brianne920

                                  Orecchiette is one of my favorites too. I get what EWS is saying about fusili, but it does such a great job of carrying sauce... I really like it in a lot of different pasta dishes.

                                  One I have never liked is angel hair- it just always seems mushy even when cooked properly

                                  1. re: Firenzilla

                                    Hmm ... I would go the other way, although there kind of is no such thing as a bad pasta shape (not that I've had, anyway).

                                    I will not order angel hair in a restaurant, but I used to cook it myself all the time. The secret is (for dried), 2 minutes exactly. It's fantastic for really getting a meal on the table in a hurry.

                                    I started eating thicker pasta for glycemic index reasons. Spaghetti is actually a favorite, cavatappi, farfalline, shells. I wish I had a little better selection of pasta locally.

                                4. Bucatini is one of my favorites as well.

                                  I am also loving lumaconi right now (a few brands I've seen recently are calling it conchiglioni - but I'm not arguing pasta nomenclature in this post) - which is like a big snail shell - thus the name. hmmm picture a short but large 1/2 curled tube pinched closed at one end . . . okay not great but you can google it. So great with rich chunky sauces (winter sauces for me) because the big chunks get all caught in the pasta hole - just lovely.

                                  Honestly there isn't a shape I don't like - I couldn't even pick one if I had too. Maybe I could say I don't like pasta x with sauce y but not a shape in and of itself.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: thimes

                                    I've had lumaconi once. It's a rarely encountered shape in my part of the world.

                                    1. re: thimes

                                      I love lumaconi!! The pipette by Barilla is really close, if not exact.

                                      1. re: kubasd

                                        I had never seen those Pipette (googled them) yes they are the same but smaller than what I'm used to. I'll have to track those down.

                                    2. i love campanelle and gemili. they both grab lots of good sauce. also love israeli couscous.

                                      not a huge fan of plain ole spaghetti or farfalle

                                      1. Love Gemelli and rigatoni and spaghetti most. NOT angel hair or spaghettini or linguini

                                        12 Replies
                                        1. re: laliz

                                          Fav: Any long noodle except for angel hair, rigatoni

                                          Worst: Farfelle, rotelle, Any sized shell shaped.

                                          I'm surprised by the hate on for Fettucini. It's in my top 5 fav :)

                                          1. re: livetocook

                                            I really don't want fettucini or pappardelle; you can have mine. ;~)

                                            1. re: laliz

                                              I was going to put pappardelle as one of my favorites! There's nothing like big, wide, floppy noodles coated in a buttery sauce. According to Wikipedia, it's so popular in Italy that they have whole festivals to celebrate it!

                                              1. re: kgrote

                                                Who makes a good boxed parppadelle that you can reccommend? I've never been able to find it at the market.

                                                1. re: Munkipawse

                                                  I think De Cecco may make a pappardelle.

                                                  1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                    Pappardelle is fantastic and yes, De cecco is a great brand!

                                                  2. re: Munkipawse

                                                    I live in a tiny podunk town, so I can't get boxed pappardelle. I just make it myself (it's better that way anyway).

                                                    1. re: Munkipawse

                                                      I think pappardelle is one pasta that should be fresh, not dried. But that's just my opinion.

                                                      1. re: ttoommyy

                                                        Trader Joes has a good Pappardelle

                                                        1. re: ttoommyy

                                                          Agreed ... it just doesn't translate to dried for some reason.

                                                          Last time I had it was with a boar ragu ... most excellent. You're making me want to go back to that restaurant!

                                                  3. re: livetocook

                                                    I hate hate rotelle. Ever since I was a kid, it reminded me of bacterial colonies in petri dishes.

                                                    1. re: Miss Needle

                                                      Too funny, Miss Needle- and you're right

                                                2. I have to say that I was thinking bucatini for LEAST favourite before the thread even opened up! And I see it is on more than one favourite list. To each their own I guess. :)

                                                  Least favourite: bucatini, cappelini, penne lisse

                                                  Favourite: penne rigate, farfalle, spaghetti.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: CanadaGirl

                                                    Good old spaghetti is popular for a very good reason.

                                                    1. re: CanadaGirl

                                                      Meanwhile, spaghetti is my LEAST favorite but I will eat it when carbo loading for a sports event. Isn't that odd??

                                                    2. My favorite is very al dente radiatori. Especially in cold pasta salads. I honestly don't think I ever met a pasta I didn't like but most of the time, angel hair and spaghettini gets cooked too long and turns to mush.

                                                      7 Replies
                                                      1. re: southernitalian

                                                        Capellini is tricky, no doubt about it. But even when it clumps together a bit I can't help but wolf it down. Absolutely love the stuff.

                                                        1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                          especially with a simple sauce. Aglio e olio, or a very fresh tomato sauce (basically chopped tomatoes warmed by the heat of the pasta, with a little fresh basil. Yum)

                                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                                            I've got a bacon, parsley, mushroom, fresh tomato and white wine sauce that is an absolute knockout on capellini. And I agree that simple, light sauces are usually best on this pasta.

                                                        2. re: southernitalian

                                                          Hi SouthN,

                                                          +1 I completely forgot about the radiatori! I love those too... My kids often request those by asking, "Mom! can you make the little radiators tonight with the sauce?" haha... Good stuff and I like the nice little nooks and cranies for the sauce to cling too. :)

                                                          1. re: Munkipawse

                                                            wow, I read halfway down this thread and no one had mentioned Radiatori but finally there it was. Have loved them since I was a kid and yes, I called them little radiators back then too ;-)

                                                            1. re: LongIslandChef

                                                              They are great for the younger set, that's for sure.

                                                        3. I grew up eating Rigatoni with meat sauce every Sunday, I loved how some of the meat would always wind up inside the tube. I like shells as well for the same reason. That being said, I like gemelli and penne too. I hate hate hate Rotini, it is not allowed in my house.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: kimm99

                                                            I share your disdain for the rotini. Add to that the other twisted noodles - fusilli and farfalle and the wagon wheel (can't think of the name right now)- and that's my least favorite list - probably because of too many lousy pasta salads in the 80's.

                                                            For favorites I love spinach tagliatelle with a Bolognese, linguine for a Carbonara, bucatini for all'Amatriciana and orzo for chicken soup. Rigatoni, ziti and penne rigate are cool too.

                                                          2. I can honestly say I have never met a pasta shape I didn't like. But my all-time favorite since childhood has always been conchiglie (shells). I just love the way they hold the sauce and sometimes bunch together inside of one another.

                                                            11 Replies
                                                            1. re: ttoommyy

                                                              Have to agree with you about liking all the shapes.

                                                              I was visiting my Italian friend and she commented that she didn't even know why they bothered making penne lisce (the smooth penne) cause the sauce doesn't stick to it and I realized, I had never bought it before.

                                                              Tonight it's cavatappi with shrimp. Mr S cuts the shrimp in half and they curl up, sometime entwined right around pasta.

                                                                1. re: melpy

                                                                  I'll ask her next time what her opinion is on ziti. That's another one I never buy.

                                                                  1. re: Sooeygun

                                                                    Smooth penne is more for salads. Popular with delis and fast food places.

                                                                    1. re: coll

                                                                      Actually, even though smooth penne may be popular with delis, pasta salads are not traditional in Italy (and Italian purists don't even acknowledge their existence). I actually prefer them to ridged, but it's completely subjective.

                                                                      Although the ridges do help hold the sauce, what is more important is to use a bronze-extruded pasta, hence rough textured, which not only holds but actually absorbs the sauce.

                                                                      1. re: mbfant

                                                                        I should have qualified, I used to sell various pastas in the NY market, and that's where the smooth penne vs ridged had its niches.

                                                                        Bronze extruded isn't easy to find here, at least not in the supermarket, but I do grab some when I see it. Then I put it aside for a special occasion!

                                                                        I like to mix ziti and penne in the same dish myself, it seems boring with just one or the other. Probably sacrilege, I know!

                                                                        1. re: coll

                                                                          Unusual and eccentric but not sacrilege if you're careful about the cooking times.

                                                                          1. re: mbfant

                                                                            Unusual and eccentric, that's me all right!

                                                              1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                I really like the way the peas snug themselves down into the shells in the pasta salad we make. My MIL commented on how difficult it must have been for me to put all the peas into the shells- I told her she was worth the extra effort. :-)

                                                                  1. re: EWSflash

                                                                    Nice!!! How to be a good daughter in-law.

                                                                1. ++: Spaghettini, Malloreddus, Fregula and Orecchiette. And Orzo!

                                                                  - -: Penne, Fusilli, Bowtie and especialli Buctani.

                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                  1. re: arktos

                                                                    When I was sick as a kid my mom made us Pastina (Ronzoni brand) with a ton of butter and salt. I still love that wonderful fluffy texture

                                                                    1. re: EWSflash

                                                                      We added Calabro Parmesan cheese, no salt, an egg and black pepper. If I could justify the calories I would totally make some tonight.

                                                                      1. re: EWSflash

                                                                        "When I was sick as a kid my mom made us Pastina (Ronzoni brand) with a ton of butter and salt. I still love that wonderful fluffy texture."

                                                                        Did she cook it in milk? My mother did. It was so comforting. Mmmmmmm.

                                                                        1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                          That sounds so yummy. I think i'm gonna have to pinch that recipe to make for my munkies. They love creamy warm pasta sauces.

                                                                      2. re: arktos

                                                                        Found out about fregola from Lidia's show on Sardinia. Can't seem to find it anywhere in stored, but seems simple to make.
                                                                        I enjoy Orecchiette, especially with sausage and broccoli rabe. Had to make it one time with "Little Hats"...some imported brand...and they stuck together in big clumps, so no more of that one. I grew up on elbow macaroni in cold salad. So I no longer use that one either.
                                                                        For red sauce/gravy, I'll stick with gemelli, fusilli. The really small sizes (orzo, acin de pepe, etc.) for soups.

                                                                        1. re: njmarshall55

                                                                          "Found out about fregola from Lidia's show on Sardinia. Can't seem to find it anywhere in stored, but seems simple to make."

                                                                          Fun to make...for the first 5 minutes. By the time you have enough of the little buggers you're thinking..."now why did I decide to do this?" lol Luckily I can found them in quite a few stores where I live.

                                                                      3. Hey, variety is the spice of life. And in service to Family Values on this site, I won't spell out an analogous question, from the intimate sphere, that occurred to me on hearing your question.

                                                                        That said, I actually like penne rigate for its flexibility in many sautes, baked dishes and even mac and cheese. I love bowties (farfalle) for summer dishes with tomatoes, mozzarella and basil dishes. Linguini with my heirloom-tomato red sauce.

                                                                        10 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Bada Bing

                                                                          I'm quid tertium on farfalle unless it's Barilla. Barilla makes absolutely perfect farfalle. The little "knot" at the center is as delicate and tender after cooking as the rest of the pasta. Most pasta makers don't get that right.

                                                                          1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                            Interesting. It's true that that's a tricky point with farfalle. There is an issue of unevenness.

                                                                            But I've been happy with De Cecco and Mueller's brands as well. I should try side-by-side some day to see if I'm missing something.

                                                                            1. re: Bada Bing

                                                                              Barilla really is better than all the other brands (yep, I've tried and tried). I even doubted their claim about being #1 in Italy til I visited a couple of Italian supermarkets -- yep, they're right -- an entire aisle lined in dark blue boxes.

                                                                              Only time I don't buy Barilla is if I'm buying fresh pasta -- and Barilla is one of just a handful of brands to which I'm absolutely loyal -- I've thrown out too many boxes of pasta i didn't like.

                                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                I have to agree- after haunting the specialty stores for years for the DeCecco and other hotsy totsy $3/lb pastas, that Barilla really delivers flavor and texture at a lower price.

                                                                                1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                  I am all about the deCecco ... and I've been paying 1.99/lb lately. Lidia's brand is pretty nice, great rough texture. It wants to stick to my pans though. The deCecco plays nicer in that respect.

                                                                                  1. re: foiegras

                                                                                    I love DeCecco, and always will, but it's not always easy to get my hands on.

                                                                              2. re: Bada Bing

                                                                                I thought that was the intention and perk of the farfalle shape...the knot has a bit more bite to it and provides textural contrast to the tender wings. I always enjoyed that.

                                                                                1. re: seamunky

                                                                                  I agree. But it's just also possible for the center to be frankly uncooked, so on testing I always test exactly that center spot.

                                                                                  1. re: Bada Bing

                                                                                    Exactly why I avoid farfalle... I like my pasta to have bite... That means a knot in the middle of my bow or soggy sides

                                                                              3. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                Interesting about Barilla farfalle - I am not a fan of farfalle in general because of the hard center knot, but I haven't tried Barilla (to my knowledge ), even though it is my favorite brand. Perhaps I'll give it a go, although I don't think farfalle is a good sauce holder anyway due to its flatness.

                                                                                I love pretty much all long pastas and most of the short shapes too, but I absolutely adore gigli (sometimes also called campanelli, I think). They just grab the sauce so well and have such a great mouthfeel. Mafalde are also fantastic.

                                                                            2. i think the most important thing is definitely how the pasta is cooked more than the shape. even my favorite shapes drop much, much lower on my list when overcooked

                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                              1. re: mattstolz

                                                                                Mattsoltz, slightly off topic-- but i had to laugh to myself about your last comment. It reminded me of an old boyfriend that I had who would only eat pasta after it had been cooked to the point of mush. When I tried to get him to try pasta that i cooked he claimed it was too hard!?!?! and it wasn't even cooked al dente but past the point of al dente. Needless to say he's gone but the sight of overcooked pasta always brings back memories of him serving us "hospital" quality pasta... *i think i just barfed a little* heh.

                                                                                1. re: Munkipawse

                                                                                  my family likes their pasta overcooked too! it is beyond frustrating. I have resorted to taking a serving or two's worth out of the water at the right time for myself and tossing it with its own sauce while i (with a heavy, heavy heart) overcook theirs.

                                                                                  However, i REFUSE to overcook it for them when i have made the noodles myself. no way.

                                                                                    1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                      ...more like a non-discriminating palate. He was under the assumption EVERYTHING tasted better cooked a l-o-n-g time. Ick...

                                                                                      Hmm speaking of family my mom isnt so fond of al dente either. I'm gonna have to ask if its cause the way her mom cooked or maybe just a preference. Growing up she only served us spaghetti and macaroni. I didnt try other shapes until i was out and away at college.

                                                                                      1. re: Munkipawse

                                                                                        I will say this for my mother ... there were errors, in and out of the kitchen, but she was an absolute believer in al dente.

                                                                                2. Faves: Trottole .. Mafalde .. Bucatini .. Casarecce .. Acini di Pepe .. Cavatelli .. Rigatoni .. Cavatappi

                                                                                  Least Fave: Elbows ... Spaghetti ... Rotini ... Ditali

                                                                                  1. I like the thin spaghettis and angel hair type pastas. I really dislike all the the non-noodle types like penne and farfalle. I know Italians have all these rules for pairing pasta with sauce but to me the long thin noodles work best with any kind of sauce. I think it's because they have more surface area so sauce sticks better.

                                                                                    Farfalle can be good too, but it really has to be handmade to be great. All the others I will skip.

                                                                                    1. Capellini which has to be watched carefully because it can overcook in seconds and for a pasta that absorbs lots of sauce mafaldine.

                                                                                      1. FAVS: Cellentani, Farfalle, and Ronzoni used to make a long fusilli that was fantastic. Sadly, I can't find that any more...just the short little pieces which I don't like.

                                                                                        LEAST FAV: Ziti, linguini

                                                                                        1. I recently discover Fregula pasta, and it has become one of my favourite pasta.

                                                                                          I never really cared for baked pasta (Lasagna ) or stuffed pasta (Cannelloni, ... )

                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: Maximilien

                                                                                            favorite: bucatini, anelletti, cavatappi, fettucine/taglia/pappardelle (I like wide pastas), gemelli

                                                                                            least favorite: angel hair

                                                                                            1. re: italianyc84

                                                                                              Funny--I like pappardelle but cannot abide fettucini.

                                                                                              1. re: italianyc84

                                                                                                oh, I also love paccheri and cavatelli (if that counts as a shape!)

                                                                                                I looooooove pasta.

                                                                                                Really angel hair is the one one I don't care for.

                                                                                                1. re: italianyc84

                                                                                                  oh, and I love orrechete. And this thread.

                                                                                                  1. re: italianyc84

                                                                                                    Garganelli, too.

                                                                                                    Hmm. I seem to really prefer heartier pastas, a little thicker shapes...

                                                                                              2. Favorites: penne rigate, rotini, seashells, and sometimes rotelle, elbows, papardelle or spaghetti

                                                                                                Least favorites: penne lisce (smooth, no ridges), angel hair, farfalle, rigatoni, orzo, ZITI. I hate hate hate ziti, no idea why. Maybe because I prefere rigate to lisce...

                                                                                                1. Great thread! I'm big on orechiette, farfalle, pappardelle, radiatore, gemelli, and linguini. Didn't like shells as a kid but I do now. Also like fusilli and that long fusilli even more. Oh, orzo too, especially in salads.

                                                                                                  Not so big on cappelini, ziti, penne, rigatoni, and spaghetti.

                                                                                                  No love for strozzapreti ("priest stranglers")? Great shape and the best name in the pasta family!

                                                                                                  21 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: Bob W

                                                                                                    how can you not have love for strozzapreti? I love those and the name just makes it even better.

                                                                                                    1. re: thimes

                                                                                                      my kiddo wouldn't eat his tortellini until I told him they were supposedly modeled after some lady's belly button.

                                                                                                      he asked for "belly button noodles" for years.

                                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                        Little mention of filled pastas in this thread. Has anybody even mentioned ravioli?

                                                                                                        1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                          Speaking of ravioli, I wonder if anyone on here has ever had raviolonghi (long raviloli)? For many years there was a shop on Federal Hill in Providence, the Providence Cheese Shop, that made these. Great for people who really like ravioli filling and lots of it. I need to find out if Venda Ravioli, also on the Hill, makes them. Venda's products -- ravioli and tortellini, at least -- are available at Costco and BJ's under the Mama's brand.

                                                                                                          Raviolonghi: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sue_cl/2...

                                                                                                          OK, no raviolonghi on Venda's website but they do have ravioletti and tortelloni, for those who like some variation in size. www.vendaravioli.com

                                                                                                          1. re: Bob W

                                                                                                            Heck, with all that filling, they might as well be cannelloni. ;o)

                                                                                                          2. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                            it was the amusing nature of the names, not the shapes themselves that I was talking about.

                                                                                                          3. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                            This reminds me--I wouln't eat vermicelli for YEARS after my Dad told me what it meant! Some of my favorites are buccatini, gemelli, radiatore and campanelle. I will often buy a new shape of pasta just for novelty.

                                                                                                            1. re: Jeri L

                                                                                                              Heh - I thought I was the only one who did that.

                                                                                                              1. re: Jeri L

                                                                                                                So... What did your dad say about vermcelli? You have my interest piqued. ;-)

                                                                                                                1. re: Munkipawse

                                                                                                                  little worms if I remember correctly

                                                                                                                  1. re: thimes

                                                                                                                    That's why I prefer to call it capellini. ;)

                                                                                                                    1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                      Vermicelli is a little thicker than capellini, but not as thick as spaghetti.

                                                                                                                      When it's sold by gauge, Capellini is a #3, vermicelli is a #5, and spaghetti is a #7

                                                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                        Ah! Didn't realize that. What about spaghettini? What gauge is it?

                                                                                                                        1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                          I'm having trouble finding that one -- but I *think* it's the same as vermicelli at #5 -- and it seems to be a regional thing -- the #5 I made for lunch today (Barilla) is labeled as "spaghetti No. 5" here in France (not to be confused with Mambo #5 Or Chanel No. 5...!)

                                                                                                                          It's the same as what I bought in the US labeled as Vermicelli. Go figure.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                              I feel your pain. That's the other reason I stick with Barilla -- then I only have to work with one set of names.

                                                                                                              2. re: thimes

                                                                                                                Bricco in Harrisburg PA make an amazing strozzapretti in a cream sauce with short rib on top. So decadent. They have a rotating menu but if the manager we like is there you can still order it.

                                                                                                                1. re: melpy

                                                                                                                  I've been to Bricco only once, but it was outstanding. Next time I'm back in Harryburg I'll see if I can lay my paws on some of that Bricco short rib strozzapretti.

                                                                                                                  1. re: melpy

                                                                                                                    Yum -- something to look forward to for our next visit to Hersheypark.

                                                                                                              3. Funny thread! I am continually telling #2 son that "they all taste the same" when he rejects angel hair. "Mom, I keep thinking it really *is* hair!!!"

                                                                                                                That said, I'm not keen on angel hair either (sticks together too much) and rigatoni seems really boring. Just tubes!

                                                                                                                I prefer farfelle, oreccheitte, and most others with ruffled edges.

                                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: tcamp

                                                                                                                  you'd love campenelle then. very ruffly

                                                                                                                    1. re: Bob W

                                                                                                                      Looked them up....adorable. Need to venture further afield to locate. I notice that some responders do not enjoy the uneven cooking that comes from ruffles but to me, major part of the charm.

                                                                                                                      1. re: tcamp

                                                                                                                        Barilla makes them, so I can find them in my regular supermarket - although I know that everyone's markets are different.

                                                                                                                2. Unconditional Love: orzo, linguine, spaghetti, penne rigate, rigatoni
                                                                                                                  Conditional Love: capellini (only when tossed with olive oil or in puttanesca sauce), fettucini (only with cream-based sauces), elbows (only in Hong Kong café style soups or on kids' art projects)
                                                                                                                  Hate: shell-shaped pastas, farfalle, and orecchetti as they never cook evenly

                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: Juniper

                                                                                                                    Gotta say farfalle is the only shape I can't abide. At least for me, its wings are woefully overdone before its center gets to where it needs to be.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Spot

                                                                                                                      "its wings are woefully overdone before its center gets to where it needs to be."

                                                                                                                      I love the contrast between the soft wings and the crunchy little center. I think that's why they exist!

                                                                                                                  2. Short, textured ones, mostly. Penne if I don't want massive sauce-grabbing, radiatori or fusilli if I do. (I like radiatori better but I am more likely to find fusilli inexpensively, so I only spring for radiatori if I'm making cold pesto pasta salad or something.) Tortellini for filled pasta. Gnocchi. Couscous, if it counts, in it's applications. Further afield -- ddeok and nian gao are two of my favorite foods, not just favorite noodles.

                                                                                                                    Least favorites: anything long (more because I am a klutz -- I love the taste/mouthfeel of fettuchine but I end up wearing it). About the only long pastas I buy aren't Italian ones -- udon, soba, kalguksu, and generally end up in soup, not sauce. Other dislikes: orzo (just don't like the mouthfeel at all), farfalle and ravioli because I find to get them cooked to the point of not having raw bits means they're mostly mush.

                                                                                                                    I've had lots of other shapes but don't have strong feelings one way or the other.

                                                                                                                    1. Favorites: Papardelle, Rigatoni, Penne

                                                                                                                      Least Favorites: Capellini, Fusilli, Spaghettini

                                                                                                                      1. it really depends on the recipe. but in general I don't like rotelle, cavatappi or bucatini. i keep linguini, zite, farfalle, and elbows on hand.

                                                                                                                        1. Interesting - I always thought pasta shapes were all about the sauce they are intended to pair with, although I've encountered "pick your pasta pick your sauce" places.

                                                                                                                          I actually never met a pasta shape I didn't like as long as I liked the sauce.

                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: hsk

                                                                                                                            For me, the sauce is seldom enough to surmount my dislike of penne, for example.

                                                                                                                            1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                              Amen to that, brother! Or sister.

                                                                                                                              And to my mind the pasta and sauce are coequal. Poor sauce will ruin marvelous pasta and vice versa.

                                                                                                                          2. Favs:
                                                                                                                            Fresh: spaghettini, spaghetti, radiatore, pappardelle, wonton noodles (fine), ee meen.
                                                                                                                            Dry: linguine, fedelini/spaghettini, tagliarelle (esp. Cipriani stuff).

                                                                                                                            Hates: penne, rigatoni, orzo; super-dried clumps of fine noodles.

                                                                                                                            1. Faves: Campanelle, gemelli, bucatini, fusilli lunghi, and lumaconi/pipette, radiatore, cellantani
                                                                                                                              Least: fettucini, farfalle, ziti, rotelle

                                                                                                                              sooo except for the bucatini and fusilli lunghi I like smaller shapes that have more substance to them (at least in my mind). Especially because they hold sauce so well. The longer ones I like with a simple butter sauce, olive oil, or white clam sauce.

                                                                                                                              1. calamarata - I recently bought some at a gourmet shop and made a ragu and my family and I LOVED it. They are rings that are about 1/2" thick - think calamari, but thicker - and they have a lot of bite & firmness. SO good that I ran out and bought more.

                                                                                                                                Rigatoni is close to my heart because my mom always made it. I like the lightness of angel hair in the summer.

                                                                                                                                18 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: Cheese Boy

                                                                                                                                    Since I'm relatively new to the calamarata maybe you could help me. In my searches I've noticed that they are mainly paired with seafood-based sauces. Howe do you eat the calamarata? I need some more ideas! :)

                                                                                                                                    Also, I bought some durum pasta in Paris when I was last there. It was a shape I had never seen before - called trofie (short, narrow spirals). I understand it's traditionally served w/ pesto.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: lynnlato

                                                                                                                                      "Also, I bought some durum pasta in Paris when I was last there. It was a shape I had never seen before - called trofie (short, narrow spirals). I understand it's traditionally served w/ pesto."

                                                                                                                                      Pesto, green beans and potatoes is the traditional recipe.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                                                        Yea, I saw that when I googled it for the spelling (a la Martha Stewart - ha).

                                                                                                                                        1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                                                          Very interesting, this (apparently) very Ligurian pasta, and this green beans + potatoes thing. You mean like this? http://www.culinate.com/books/collect...

                                                                                                                                        2. re: lynnlato

                                                                                                                                          IMO calamarata are best in ANY heavily sauced preparations. I almost always have mine with tomato sauce, but I have made them with pureed chickpeas and enjoyed them that way as well. Since calamarata are rather thick-skinned to begin with, you don't want to have a mouthful of them without some generous amount of a WET ingredient as well. This is probably why seafood is paired so often with them. HTH.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Cheese Boy

                                                                                                                                            That makes sense, CB. I enjoyed them with straight up tomato sauce (w/ crumbled Italian sausage). I just can't get excited about a cream sauce w/ shrimp, scallops, etc. and I suppose it because of the very reason you metioned.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                Yes !!! Boar, pork, or beef ragu -- they all work . Top with two or three scoops of ricotta, close your eyes, and imagine you're eating cannelloni in Amalfi. Works for me.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Cheese Boy

                                                                                                                                                  I'll just shave a bit of Romano on mine and imagine I'm in Bolzano. ;)

                                                                                                                                            1. re: lynnlato

                                                                                                                                              Trofie -- you see that all throughout Liguria, land of pesto, and recently I've started seeing it at some upscale Italian markets, which is exciting.

                                                                                                                                              But calamarata is my new favorite pasta discovery! Yes, I serve it with a seafood-based sauce. Let me try to describe how I use it.

                                                                                                                                              There are two recipes that I've "hybridized" and modified that are the basis for my preparation. One is from Bon Appetit http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo.... I did NOT make the basil rouille that the recipe calls for. The other is "Zuppa di Pesce" on p. 264 of Batali's "Molto Italiano." There's a similar recipe here: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ma...

                                                                                                                                              I use shrimp, clams, mussels, calamari, and lobster when it's on sale. The last time I made this dish, I cooked each of the fish ingredients separately (in the same pot) and then combined them in the sauce at the end. That way each of the ingredients were cooked properly and not overcooked. It took only a little longer -- everything cooks pretty quickly -- but it was worth the extra time. Oh, I added a little saffron to the sauce, too.

                                                                                                                                              I wish I had an actual recipe to give you, and if you need one that's precise, I'll work one up for you. Besides the shellfish and calamari, the next most important ingredients are sliced fennel,saffron and good quality tomatoes; canned tomatoes are fine.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: CindyJ

                                                                                                                                                Oh boy Cindy, you've piqued my interest now in trying a seafood-based preparation. You had me at "fennel, saffron and good quality tomatoes". Thanks!

                                                                                                                                                FYI Perilagu Khan, my momma raised me to be a romano lover too. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                1. re: lynnlato

                                                                                                                                                  What's fun about that dish is that, if you cut the calamari right, it's almost hard to tell the calamari apart from the calamarata by sight.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: CindyJ

                                                                                                                                                    Right. I get that, and can dig it too. Now I must have it. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: CindyJ

                                                                                                                                                      I was figuring that was the reason for the seafood sauces ;)

                                                                                                                                              1. re: lynnlato

                                                                                                                                                Just had calamarata for the first time. Got my imagination to twirling.... With the current penchant for things tiny, savory and sweet -- mini-muffins, mini-cupcakes, mini-brownies, etc....

                                                                                                                                                For the creative/experimental souls (or maybe this has been done already), how about using the al dente calamarata pieces as a form to stuff, cold as party finger food, or baked with/without sauce.

                                                                                                                                                And as kids like to play with their food and eat what they've made, how about a junior chef experience in the kitchen - stuffing the calamarata with a healthy mixture?

                                                                                                                                                Then there's wrapping a stuffed unit with a half a strip of bacon or ham (thereby the enclosing savory hors d'oeuvre, bottom and top). Or for a dessert version, fill with something sweet and wrap once around vertically with a piece of fruit leather.

                                                                                                                                              2. Hate, hate, hate capellini aka angel hair pasta. Why even bother with pasta because this stuff is a nuisance. Home-made fettuccine is a delight with the right sauce. I also love penne with the right sauces and cavatappi/rotini. Farfalle needs to be cooked properly and you can't always rely on the box estimated timing. The middle can be undercooked while the rest is al dente. Linguine, tagliatelle, spaghetti, spaghetti alla chitarra, rigatoni are also great with the right sauce pairing. I don't like bucatini as it is too difficult to eat. You can't really twirl it around a fork like most long pastas and I find it too chewy. All the rest have their places and moments in the right sauces and contexts. Except angel hair pasta it has no reason to be.

                                                                                                                                                7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: KateBChi

                                                                                                                                                  I like angel hair although I usually go for the related fedelini & spaghettini.

                                                                                                                                                  Bucatini is a dislike of mine too - just too stiff, unwieldy, feels like eating long lengths of small "rubber tubing" to me.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                    It is difficult to chuff, but I really like the texture.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                      hey, can you stick one end in your mouth and use it to slurp up a really good sauce?
                                                                                                                                                      *evil grin*

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                        God forbid you should accidentally suck up a meatball and the whole dam' thing blows up in your face!

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: KateBChi

                                                                                                                                                      Exactly why I dislike bucatini! But we seem to be in the minority on this one...

                                                                                                                                                    3. “Sunday macaroni” at Grandmom’ was Conte Luna “cut macaroni” which was a thin smooth ziti. You could fit one on every other tine of your fork (hahah)
                                                                                                                                                      I found a blog that has pictures of the pasta box and the shapes they made

                                                                                                                                                      Conte Luna doesn’t exist any more and Grandmom passed away, and I can’t get my Sunday Gravy to taste just like hers, so it’s now a faint childhood memory for me

                                                                                                                                                      Today, one of my all time favorite pastas is cavatelli, especially if you can score some home made
                                                                                                                                                      Orecchiette is a close second
                                                                                                                                                      The long fusilli are fun to eat too!

                                                                                                                                                      Just about the only “pasta” shape I’m not a fan of, elbow macaroni

                                                                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: cgarner

                                                                                                                                                        And I liked when rigatoni got so wide in cooking that you could fit your whole fork in the center hole. (I think we played with our food too much)

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                                                                              Thirded. And to add to the playfulness, I would cut the rigatoni in half, and then keep halving the halves till I got a whole bunch of thin rings I was pleased with. And yes, I still do this sometimes.

                                                                                                                                                      2. Thanks to this thread, I realize that I have been thinking, lo these many years, that rotini and fusilli were essentially the same shape. Now I see that fusilli are long, spiral shapes. Hah, wikipedia even sez they are often confused.

                                                                                                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: tcamp

                                                                                                                                                          But there is fusilli that looks like this. No confusing this with rotini. :)

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                                                                            This is the one I **love**! I used to be able to buy one by Ronzoni in my local grocery store. Sadly, they don't have it any more.... That "other" stuff they call fusilli is not fusilli at all (in my world!)...

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                                                                              Good god, I've found the source of the confusion. This isn't Fusilli Jerry, it is Rotini Jerry.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                                                                                When I lived in Baltimore years ago, I used to buy this at an Italian store called Trinacria (still around). They sold it loose and you took it home in brown paper bags. Great stuff, fun shape.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Bob W

                                                                                                                                                                  "They sold it loose and you took it home in brown paper bags. Great stuff, fun shape."

                                                                                                                                                                  You just brought back a memory of buying loose pasta at the little grocery store a few doors down from where I grew up in Jersey City, NJ. The spaghetti, long fusilli and other similar shapes were wrapped up in white butcher paper and tied with string. Thanks for reminding me of this Bob W.

                                                                                                                                                              2. My favorites: linguini, bucatini, spaghettoni (like bucatini, but solid instead of hollow), gemelli, orzo, ditalini, and for macaroni and cheese, good ol' elbows.

                                                                                                                                                                Least-favorites: angel hair, vermicelli, wagon wheels, farfalle.

                                                                                                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: italianyc84

                                                                                                                                                                    If you can't find spaghettoni, try some spaghetti alla chitarra instead.
                                                                                                                                                                    You'll get a very similar mouthfeel and a whole lotta pasta in a mouthful that's for sure.
                                                                                                                                                                    Unlike capellini, these are two pastas that are HEAVY. You'll likely need a nap afterwards.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Cheese Boy

                                                                                                                                                                      I ate at an incredible new Italian restaurant during a recent trip to Baltimore called Chazz: A Bronz Original (owned by the actor Chazz Palminteri), and ordered one of the best pasta dishes I've ever had: spaghettoni all'amatriciana.

                                                                                                                                                                      I had never heard of spaghettoni before, but it was perfect. I believe that dish is traditionally served with bucatini, which also makes sense.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou

                                                                                                                                                                        Definitely a good pasta choice Lou. I have to laugh because I went to Borgatti's one day (in my old nabe) and who was standing right behind me in line ?? Chazz and a friend of his. He knows good pasta ... LOL.

                                                                                                                                                                        Borgatti's --> http://borgattis.com/ravioli/index.php

                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou

                                                                                                                                                                    Solid bucatini? That must have to cook a spell just to get to al dente!

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou

                                                                                                                                                                      Oh I forgot about wagon wheels and farfalle. Add those to my hate list!

                                                                                                                                                                    2. Funny! My favorites are penne rigate, fettuccine, orrechiette, conchiglie and farfalle. Something with substance and holds the sauce well.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. For me, it totally depends on how it's being served. When I take the time to make a duck ragu, I love a good imported pappardelle or tagliatelle with it. When I'm making a hearty meat sauce, linguini or penne rigate are my pastas of choice. And I recently discovered a new pasta shape that I'm loving with spicy seafood -- it's called calamarata, and as you might guess, it looks like slices of calamari tubes.

                                                                                                                                                                        My least favorite pasta shapes -- elbow macaroni, which I find totally boring, and angel hair.

                                                                                                                                                                        14 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: CindyJ

                                                                                                                                                                          My poor angel hair's takin' a beatin'. ):

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                            I suspect that most people do not like capellini/angel hair because it gets mushy very quickly. They might change their tune if they cooked it directly in the sauce accompanying it and not boil it first.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                                                                                              Hmmm. I've never cooked it that way.

                                                                                                                                                                              That said, mine doesn't get mushy. I begin testing/tasting it almost directly it goes in the pot and I drain it when it is just this side of al dente. No mushiness. But clumping is another story. That certainly happens often, although it doesn't bother me overmuch.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                me, too -- I have it out of the water within a minute or two -- and I've never had overcooked angel hair.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                  Clumping is definitely a problem with capellini. To avoid clumping it's best to add cold tap water to the pot as you're draining the pasta. DO NOT add cold water to already drained pasta because you will get rubbery pasta as a result. What you want ultimately is to stop the cooking process and to bring the temperature of your cooking water several degrees down. To do this, add the water ONLY to the SURFACE of the hot water already in your pot (as you're hovered over your sink or colander). I add a cup of cold tap water at a time, and then I only drain A CUP of water from the pot each time. I do this 3X (for a pound of pasta). Add a cup, swirl, drain a cup. Add a cup, swirl, drain a cup. Add a cup, swirl, drain a cup. After the third time, I drain the entire pot and plate the capellini. The resulting capellini behave really well -- almost as if I removed the excess starch from their exterior that acted as their glue. This technique works especially well for orecchiette also ... another pasta shape notorious for sticking. HTH.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Cheese Boy

                                                                                                                                                                                    I must be leading a charmed life, because the only time I've ever had clumpy angel hair was if I let it sit and go cold without adding a little oil.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Cheese Boy

                                                                                                                                                                                      that sounds way more complicated than just taking it out of the water at the right time, finishing it in the sauce, and serving immediately.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mattstolz

                                                                                                                                                                                        But what about the extra pasta? I always make enough for multiple helpings.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                          extra pasta?

                                                                                                                                                                                          im not sure i know what this is...

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mattstolz

                                                                                                                                                                                            "extra pasta?

                                                                                                                                                                                            im not sure i know what this is..."

                                                                                                                                                                                            Same here!

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: mattstolz

                                                                                                                                                                                              Well it doesn't stay "extra" for long!

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: mattstolz

                                                                                                                                                                                            Especially with pesto, my technique is better.
                                                                                                                                                                                            Capellini seem to clump regardless of whatever doneness. JMHO.

                                                                                                                                                                                          3. re: Cheese Boy

                                                                                                                                                                                            If you are getting 'clumpy' capellini or any pasta it's because you are not cooking it in enough water/salt. Washing/rinsing away the surface starch ruins any pasta dish. The idea is to serve pasta that has finished cooking in the sauce so that the pasta has absorbed some of the sauce. and the small amount of surface starch has helped some sauce stick to the pasta. When it see pasta served swimming in a sea of sauce it makes me weep. LOL All this presupposes you are interested in cooking/serving authentic pasta.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Puffin3

                                                                                                                                                                                              'All this presupposes you are interested in cooking/serving authentic pasta.'

                                                                                                                                                                                              This is so very true. We should all prepare pasta the way WE prefer and forget about what the textbooks have to say. Whatever works for each of us is truly what counts. EOS.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Love: spaghetti, pappardelle, fusili,

                                                                                                                                                                                    Hate: penne, angel hair, rigatoni

                                                                                                                                                                                    Speaking of which, my husband made dinner for me tonight (YAY!) but he made a pasta dish and used rigatoni! (BOO!)

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. God bless all of you! I live in a small town in Georgia and we have very little selection when it comes to pasta. The basics and that's it. I saw Ditalini the other day and was amazed and grabbed a couple of boxes.

                                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: leslieinGA

                                                                                                                                                                                        Leslie, in that nice little town in Georgia, they've got to have kidney beans. It's optimal to make some nice pasta e fagioli with those Ditalini. Just a thought.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: leslieinGA

                                                                                                                                                                                          And that's where the Internet is such a help. You can get any and every pasta on the web. No instant gratification and you pay for the shipping, but hey, what do you want? An egg in yer beer? ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Despise angel hair and macaroni. Probably hate macaroni the most.

                                                                                                                                                                                          I've gotten sick of penne, too, but it used to be my standby. I'll be looking in this thread for new ideas!

                                                                                                                                                                                          Sometimes I just buy regular old spaghetti-shaped pasta (but a premium brand), and I also like linguini.

                                                                                                                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: IndyGirl

                                                                                                                                                                                            Curious...What shape is "macaroni?" When I was growing up we always used the word "macaroni" to mean all dried pasta.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                                                                                                              She means elbows. The word macaroni (maccheroni) really covers all dried eggless pasta, but since elbows have become the most popular shape in "macaroni and cheese", the word macaroni has become synonymous with elbows.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                                                                                                                Macaroni, especially in Latin communities, is USUALLY (but not always) associated with ONE shape -- a shape known to Italians as Mezzi Occhi di Lupo.
                                                                                                                                                                                                It's a pasta shape smooth in texture and shares the same length (and diameter) as mezzi rigatoni. Ronzoni refers to them as Macarrones, and you can find them especially in Mexican neighborhoods.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Cheese Boy

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Ah yes. I have seen these in bodegas in my neighborhood. Thanks Cheese Boy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yep. I hadn't checked to see if you were from NY/NJ
                                                                                                                                                                                                    (and familiar w/ bodegas), but yes, the Macarrones are usually readily available at most neighborhood bodegas. You gotta love those bodegas -- quarter waters, forties, loosies, macarrones, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. I forgot to add rotini.

                                                                                                                                                                                              OK, so angel hair, rotini, macaroni, wagon wheels, fusilli, bowtie are on my least favorite dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                              I really do *like* pasta, though!

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Does cous cous count? If so, add that to my fav list!

                                                                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: jbsiegel

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Hey, it is pasta! Not a grain like I thought for my college career..... whoops! ha

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jbsiegel

                                                                                                                                                                                                    It's pasta, but it's cooked and presented so differently, I'm not sure it fits into this discussion all that well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Faves: Pappradelle, Rigatoni ... Just because I seem to purchase them more... But I think I love them all.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Least Fave: Farfalle due to the uneven cooking, dried in the box tortolini... Ewww. Thank goodness when frozen came outI

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Best: finest egg noodles available. I love pastina as well, especially alphabets. It appeals to my inner child and my big mouf.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Worst: Croxetti. Nobody ever, ever cooks it enough and the center is like library paste. It's too expensive, and I don't care that it's handstamped, because frankly it all ends up the same way

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Worst: Spaghetti and angel hair (Done. To. Death.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Favs: All else.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Favs: Bucatini, Oriecchette( ear looking, not shell looking ), Greek large orzo, Sardinian fregola

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Worsts: Rotelli, penne, ziti

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. I'm having an absolute ball googling all the unfamiliar pasta shapes and checking them out!

                                                                                                                                                                                                            And I'm craving pasta now.....

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. As a kid I liked the pasta shapes in alphabet soup. I wonder if they have alphabet soup in Greece, Russia or China. ;-) Also I liked the wagon wheel shape. Orzo is kind of kool. It looks like rice, but it's pasta. I hate big, thick, rubbery shapes of pasta.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. +++ Spaghettini, orzo, capellini.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                - - - Bucatini, penne (I think it means 'penis' in Italian), pasta wheels, fregola.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                18 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: arktos

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Not sure if you are joking, but penne is the plural of penna which means feather or quill.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: arktos

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Nope. Penne translates as "quill" -- as in a feather pen (the end of a quill pen is cut at an angle, just like the pasta).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    (crossposted with ttoommyy by mistake)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: arktos

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      What a difference an "n" makes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Penne - "pen/quill"
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Pene - penis

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: thimes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I suspect there's a pasta shaped like a pene out there. Bleeve Ovid may have mentioned it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I have seen 'adult' shaped pasta before given as a gift ... but I don't think that's what you had in mind. Now that you mention it, this certainly seems like a gap in the pasta oeuvre ...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            There is a pastina (for soup) called cazzetti d'angelo ("angels' weenies"), also known as pisarei ("baby penises") and, at the other extreme, falloni ("big phalluses"). On the distaff side, there are fregnacce.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            This was meant to be a reply to arktos, but it didn't post that way, not an introduction of the topic out of the blue!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: arktos

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Not to be prudish, but for the record, the pasta names I listed are genuine traditional shapes not even remotely as graphic as the illustration arktos has so kindly provided. Those vulgarities are sold only in tourist shops. There is a long tradition of naming foods after naughty bits. And, for that matter, naughty bits after food. I actually wrote a semischolarly paper on this a few years ago (Italian food names, not just naughty bits).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mbfant

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                @ mbfant: You are too modest. Your accomplishments would seem to be wide-ranging, including this?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: huiray


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  yes, c'est moi. Oretta and I are finishing the manuscript of a new book on pasta, a cookbook this time, in English but not a translation, so the question of what shapes people like is of great interest. I can't help feeling that those who don't like fettuccine might feel differently if they took the trouble to spell it properly. Who knows what they're eating? Clearly there are people who like a sturdy pasta and others who like something more slippery and comforting. Personally I prefer smooth to ridges, but not in a major way. And some of the comments suggest to me that people are judging a format unfairly because they have not bought a good brand. Properly made, cooked, and sauced pasta should not feel slimy. But this thread confirms what Oretta says: tradition is the most important factor, and much is highly subjective.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mbfant

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Would you please post when it's published? I'm a pasta junkie - and would love to have a really good cookbook.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    and since my earlier kowtow was removed -- thanks for posting!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Thanks. You may be sure I'll shout it from the rooftops, but first I have to finish the manuscript. (aargh)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        You are my sunshine, sunshine842!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "Sauces & Shapes: Pasta the Italian Way" was published in October by W.W. Norton.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: mbfant

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I've got your book on the trattorias of Florence, Venice and Rome. It proved invaluable on our second honeymoon, which we spent in Venice. Alas, we spied no cazzetti d'angelo, nor pisarei, let alone falloni, in the Veneto.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Apparently falloni is found in Lazio (Region centered on Rome) ...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      (see pgs 99-100 of that Encyclopedia of Pasta that mbfant translated)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Well, you know what they say--everything's bigger in Lazio!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "I've got your book on the trattorias of Florence, Venice and Rome. It proved invaluable on our second honeymoon, which we spent in Venice. Alas, we spied no cazzetti d'angelo, nor pisarei, let alone falloni, in the Veneto."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm delighted the book, out of print now, was useful. Those shapes are rare to nonexistent in restaurants except possibly very particular neo-trattorias that go to some trouble to research and prepare obscure but traditional foods.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Are you sure you conducted this second honeymoon properly? ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: foiegras


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            You knocked that one out of the park.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. I prefer ridged or textured shapes- the smooth ones like spaghetti, linguini, those wide flat ones, smooth penne etc just get slimy and gross me out. The only smooth pasta I like is orzo, which I eat only with butter when in need of a warm, bland and comforting meal- it's small enough that the texture is more like rice than big slimy flabby noodles. Lately I have been eating a lot of radiatore- tons of little ridges/edges make it feel lighter for summer pasta salads (doesn't pack into a bowl as densely as other types). Farfalle used to be a pasta salad favorite as well but I got tired of overcooked ends and undercooked middles. I don't like rotini- I think I associate it with other people's tuna pasta salads.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I like shells because they hold sauce well, and orecchiette because they were the only pasta that wasn't overcooked when I was living in the dorms- they tended to clump inside each other so would often be cooked to a perfect al dente. I've never actually bought it myself. I also like the thicker texture of the individual orecchiette shells- nice and chewy in the winter. We recently bought a variety pack that included gemelli, and I quite liked the shape until one batch was overcooked- then I kept associating the dense doughy texture with that shape. Any pasta is nasty when overcooked, whether thin and flabby or thick and squishy, so I prefer to make my own rather than let a family member or restaurant do it for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. cold favs:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  "bow tie" and "rotini"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  hot favs:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  short rigatoni

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  least fav hot or cold:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  wagon wheels (other than crafts projects) I just can't go there!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Mine would be
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Favs: Spiral, shell and angel hair

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Least: spaghetti and fettucini

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Who says that you only have to choose between white and red sauce when it comes to pasta? I am honestly not a big fan of the soggy birthday party "Filipino Sweet Style" spaghetti that's why I thought of preparing this recipe. This recipe is inspired by the usual Aglio Olio with nothing but garlic and parmesan, and I decided to add something to it... none other than my favorite--seafood! http://www.thepinkmuse.net/2013/12/se...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Radiatore is my current favorite. It is so pleasing to bite into. I've not tried many of the shapes y'all have mentioned. I need to get myself into better stores!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'm not really a fan of long pastas. Spaghetti, fettuccine, linguine.... I can do fettuccine if it's fresh, but that's about it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. 1. I like papardelle (wide noodles) as a base for meatballs in gravy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. When I make my clam sauce (canned chopped or minced clams) in a leeks and buttermilk gravy, I like to use shell-shaped pasta or orecchiette (which look like clam shells).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. For pasta al pesto, I like green fettucini, preferably fresh.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        As you can see, esthetics are the main consideration. (I was an art major).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. I think I like them all, but they need to be cooked properly and be selected correctly for the sauce or dish. However, I find thin spaghetti usually a mushy dud and pretty much always light up for home made pappardelle Bolognese.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Not really on topic, but what can rigatoni #24 be Creatively used for?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Haven't done this, but I have a vision of it cooked nearly to al dente, stuffed half way with seasoned ricotta, tightly positioned vertically in a sauce-coated baking dish, filled to the top of the noodle cylinder with frozen/thawed peas, sauce over the top, then mozzarella/Parm, and baked.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Might be a fun meal for kids to make....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            What other pasta shapes besides shells can be stuffed - and with what?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: msmarm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              it's not really stuffed, but you can put sauce and ricotta on a cooked lasagna noodle and roll it up -- kids like it, and it makes buffet/group servings really easy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: msmarm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Pastas that I've filled include:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                jumbo shells, manicotti, lumaconi, lasagna, ravioli, and rigatoni.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Faves: Bucatini, pappardelle, pipe rigate
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Considering bucatini made it on a lot of lists, why is it so hard to find? I often can't get it at the grocery store and when I find it, I stock up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Dislike - Rotini, elbows, wagon wheels.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                12 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: moreace01

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I think bucatini is becoming more popular. Slowly. Very, very slowly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    If they carried it in more mainstream supermarkets, it would take off like a jet. Whenever I serve it to guests, they go gaga over it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yes, I agree that bucatini is a product that has real growth potential.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        It IS hard to find, and it's my favorite pasta shape by far. Publix, our major supermarket chain in Florida, usually only carries its eponymous store brand, Mueller's, Ronzoni, and Barilla, and none of those make bucatini. I've bought it at Fresh Market from higher-end Italian brands that cost two or three times as much, and even they don't always have it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Barilla most assuredly makes bucatini, but I don't know who carries it in FL.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I've just discovered that all the Barilla pasta in our local market is made in the US, as compared with all the DeCecco being made in Italy. Is this important?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Only if the latter is actually better than the former. Personally, I think the DeCecco is slightly better, but I'm not sure the difference is enough to justify the considerably higher price.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I too think that DeCecco is slightly better. Does it have something to do with the flour in Italy being different? Do others think there is a real difference? Yes, DeCecco is slightly more expensive in Southern CA where I live, but we're talking ~20 cents per box...not enough to matter, at least to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm sure it's more about the customs and shipping costs with DeCecco. I used to buy their bucatini by the case from a local wholesaler, and give out half of it as gifts. Here DeCecco is about double the price, not to mention never on sale, the other day I did seek them out at the supermarket because I wanted angel hair cappellini, which is another type that the others don't seem to favor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Here in west Texas, DeCecco is considerably more expensive than Barilla. Twenty cents wouldn't be a big deal, but we're talking at least a buck per package more.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Cheese Boy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Good to know, thanks. Actually most people don't even know that pasta "numbers" are different company to company, it's not some law in Italy that they all have to be the same!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. I like the one with Alphabets shapes the best!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Don't recall seeing spaetzeli mentioned. They is the hand-made little lumpy noodles common in Central Europe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        They are very good with goulash and other braised dishes.