Basically, there are two main categories of pasta shapes that are determined according to length. You can find variations of short and long pasta. Once you pick a short or long pasta variety, then you can narrow down the options of whether you are going for a flat, sheet, smooth, tube, thick, ridged, or thin pasta.
The way each pasta shape holds sauce is different. Longer pasta will do better at holding on to an oily and creamy sauce while shorter pasta is able to hold bits of meats and vegetables in a thicker sauce. One of the most common shapes is long and skinny pasta. Some of the pasta types that you can find in this category are spaghetti, bucatini, and linguine. As mentioned before, thin oil-based sauces are ideal for this shape. Spaghetti is one of the most recognized shapes and it is long thin cylindrically shaped pasta. Bucatini is thicker than spaghetti and the specialty of this shape is that it has a whole running along the centre that can carry extra sauce. In some restaurants, you can choose the pizza shape you want in the pasta dish you choose from the menu. If you are unsure about the shape of pasta that comes in the dish, you can simply ask a server to clarify when you visit the Torque pasta restaurant.
Then there is long ribbon-shaped pasta such as fettuccine, pappardelle, and tagliatelle. These are used with rich and meaty sauces. Most of the time, this pasta is made fresh and contains eggs. So it can be a very filling meal. Fettuccine pasta because of its thicker nature is commonly used with Alfredo sauce. Tagliatelle is also quite similar to fettuccine. There are twisted shapes that are mostly used in pasta salads and go with cream or tomato-based sauces. They are used in a variety of dishes with many ingredients. It is quite easy to eat as well because of the short shape that can fit onto a fork. Some examples of this type of pasta are farfalle, fusilli, and strozzapreti. Farfalle is known as butterfly or bow-tie pasta and is used with a lot of creamy sauces. The spiral-shaped pasta is called fusilli and it can carry thick sauces within its spirals making it a very satisfying mouthful.
Tube-shaped pasta such as macaroni, paccheri, penne, and rigatoni are great for medium thick sauces that are enriched with vegetables, meat, or cheese. They are commonly used in basked pasta recipes as the thick shape will retain their bite even after being in both boiling water and the heat of the oven. There is also shell-shaped pasta like lumache, orecchiette, and gnocchettisardi that are great with any type of sauce. Because of the curvature of the shell, this pasta can catch minced vegetables and meat inside. Other types of pasta include sheet types like lasagne and mini shapes that include ditalini, risoni, and stelline.