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Jan 23, 2012 10:55 AM

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