Did you know that there are more than 600 pasta shapes worldwide? From twisted pasta to tubular pasta to stuffed noodles to long noodles—it’s so easy to get confused. Let’s take a quick trip to Italy, and learn about some of the more common varieties of pasta:

Spaghetti, or little strings in Italian, is the prototype of long pasta reaching about 10 inches long. It’s nearly the perfect pasta for any sauce or can be used in casseroles and stir-fry dishes.

Farfalle is the Italian translation for butterflies, while Americans commonly refer to them as bow ties. Traditionally, farfalle is accompanied by colorful sauce, with herbs or fresh vegetables. Miniature farfalle, or tripolini, are typically used in soups and salads.

Orzo is a tiny rice-shaped pasta that can be used in a variety of ways! Either used as a side or main dish, orzo can be used with any sauce, added to soups and salads or baked as a casserole.

Gemelli, or twins in Italian, is a short, twisted pasta that looks like two strands of spaghetti intertwined with one another. Typically, this pasta shape works best with light vegetable or olive oil-based sauces.

Rotelle in Italian means little wheels. Because of its short length and small size, rotelle is best used in soups or salads.

Penne, known for resembling feathers, is a short pasta about 1 ¼ inch long, tubular shaped and has slanted cuts at both ends. Penne compliments almost any recipe and pairs nicely with meat, vegetables and any type of sauce. While there are both ridged and smooth versions, the ridged penne allows sauce to cling a bit more.

Ditalini, or little thimbles, have a short, yet versatile, shape that can be used as the base of any dish. Bake it, stir it into soups, create great salads or make a great stir-fry dish!

Want to explore even more pasta shapes and types? Check out Pasta Shapes 101.

Doesn’t a big bowl of pasta sound delicious right about now? Your local Sparkle Market has all of your favorites! Stop by and pick up all of your favorite shapes and sizes!