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For those whose pasta vocabulary starts and stops with the word "spaghetti", here is a small (and by no means, comprehensive) guide to the wide assortment of pasta shapes that one might run across while partaking in culinary adventures.

  • Capellini - Long strands of pasta, like spaghetti, but much thinner.
  • Casarecci - short lengths of rolled or twisted pasta. Look something like macaroni that's been sliced length-wise.
  • Cavatelli - small, shell-like pasta.
  • Conchiglie - medium size pasta shells. Smaller shells are conchigliette, larger (usually stuffed) shells are conchiglioni.
  • Farfalle - small, bowtie shaped pasta.
  • Fettucini - long,flat noodles of a medium width.
  • Fusilli - spring shapped pasta.
  • Fusilli Col Buco - long, spring shaped pasta.
  • Gemelli - short strands of twisted pasta.
  • Gigli - small, flower shaped pasta.
  • Gnocchetti - small pieces of pasta made to look like gnocchi, which themselves are small, dumpling like pieces of pasta made with potato flour.
  • Lasagna - Large, flat and wide noodles, usually with ridge edges. Generally layered with sauces and cheese and baked.
  • Linguine - long, flat noodles of a narrow width.
  • Lumache - Small or medium sized shells that resemble snails.
  • Macaroni - Small, hollow curved tubes of pasta. Along with spaghetti, probably the most Americanized form of pasta, thanks to Kraft and others who combine it with cheese.
  • Manicotti - Large tubes of ridged pasta, often stuffed and then baked.
  • Orecchiette - Small pieces of pasta that look like miniature bowls.
  • Route - Wheel shaped pasta
  • Radiatori - small pieces of pasta that look like, suprise, radiators.
  • Rotini - Spiral pasta
  • Strozzapreti - resembles a rolled towel.
  • Torchio - a pasta shape that resembles (you guessed it) a torch.
  • Trenne - similar to penne, but with a triangular, rather than circular, cross section.
  • Troffiette - small, twisted bits of pasta.
  • Vermicelli - Long strands of pasta, like spaghetti, but slightly thinner.

Sources: http://www.foodsubs.com/PastaShapes.html and

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