There are so many forms and shapes of pasta that you might come across, and as in our previous article, we discussed about the most common pasta shapes. Today, we explore the more uncommon shapes that pasta come in, from the conchiglie to the grain shaped orzo, we take a look at these unique shaped pastas and what they are most used for.
One of the most visually interesting pastas, the giant conch shaped pasta which takes its name from the Italian word for “shell” is seeing a revival as it makes a perfect vessel for meaty sauces, with its ridges able to hold quite a bit. These make perfect vessels for ragù as well as spinach and ricotta fillings.
A type of pasta that is often thought to not be pasta, the orzo is a rice shaped pasta and is commonly used in pasta salads. The name orzo is taken from Italian which means “barley” and is quite a dainty, and possibly smallest, pasta. This form is also used to dress soups up, adding a bit of texture and bite to dishes that tread a line between rustic and finessed.
This pasta is shaped like little ears, and that is exactly where it takes its name from. The “little ears” are perfect for creamy sauces as its allows for quite a bit of viscosity to cling onto its odd shape, catching sauces in between. These work great for spicy sauces as its shape allows for the right balance of texture and flavour, with the orecchiette being thick enough, but not too thick.
Calamarata pasta is shaped in thick rings similar in form to that of calamari, hence the name. This pasta is usually cooked al dente to give you more of a bite, similar to the springiness you would find from the calamari squid. Great vessel of tomato sauces or even squid ink, for a little tongue in cheek flavour.
The radiator shaped pasta is one of the more unique shapes, in the form of a radiator. This shape is perfect for catching sauces but is also versatile enough for use in pasta soups. This shape has been said to be created by an industrial engineer between World War I and World War II.
Cannelloni is another hybrid use pasta, similar to the lasagne in usage. The tube-shaped pasta is usually stuffed with tomato, cheese or meat, and works best as a vessel of full flavoured dishes, which can be served baked and works well with minced beef or lamb.
The Pastabilities Are Endless
With so many shapes and sizes, it is quite hard to limit yourself to knowing just 5 types, with each shape having a unique use, depending on preparation. We highly advise that you browse the supermarkets to find out more about the different types of shapes, which some might surprise you.