Description of Pasta Products

There are a large variety of pasta shapes and noodles available. When selecting the variety of pasta you are going to purchase, you must consider the size and shape of the pasta and which varieties will go best with the sauce or dish you are preparing. If you are substituting one type for another, be sure to choose one that is similar to the one you are replacing. Shown below are the basic categories in which pastas are found.

Shaped Pasta

Shaped pastas are available in many different sizes and specific shapes. They include shapes that resemble shells, bow ties, spirals, snails, wheels and radiators. Shaped pastas are generally found dried. The smaller varieties work well with a simple sauce but most shaped pastas can be paired with a chunkier sauce because they are sturdy enough to hold up with the other ingredients. They are also used in pasta salads and casseroles. For information on the shaped pasta products available and a brief description of each, see Pasta Products - Shaped Pasta.

Tubular Pasta

Tubular pastas are any pastas that are in the shape of a tube. They are available in many different sizes and shapes. Some tubes are long and narrow while others are short and wide. They are found with smooth or grooved exteriors. They are often served with a heavy sauce, but are also used in salads and casseroles. For information on the tubular pasta products available and a brief description of each, see Pasta Products - Tubular Pasta.

Strand Pasta Noodles

Pasta strands are long rods of pasta, which are generally round, but are available in square rods also. The basic difference from one variety to the next is the thickness of the strands. The thicker strands work well with a heavier sauce while the thin varieties are better with a more delicate sauce. For information on the strand pasta products available and a brief description of each, see Pasta Products - Strand Pasta Noodles.

Ribbon Pasta Noodles

Ribbon pastas consist of flat strands of pasta, which are available in different lengths, widths and thickness. Some are short and wide, while others are long and narrow. Ribbon pasta can have straight or wavy edges. Some varieties are available fresh and dried. The dried ribbons are generally used with a thick, heavier sauce and the fresh ribbons are served with a more delicate sauce. For information on the ribbon pasta products available and a brief description of each, see Pasta Products - Ribbon Pasta Noodles.

Soup Pasta

Soup pastas consist of pasta shapes that range in size from small to very tiny. The larger of the soup pastas are used in thicker based soups and the tiny and smaller pasta shapes are used in light based or broth based soups. Larger soup pastas are sometimes used in pasta salads. Soup pastas include many shapes, such as round balls, thin strands, tubes, rings, grain-shapes, bow ties and stars. For information on the soup pasta products available and a brief description of each, see Pasta Products - Soup Pasta.

Stuffed Pasta

Stuffed pastas consist of fresh pasta sheets that are stuffed with a filling. The pasta sheets are folded over and sealed or another sheet is placed on top and the edges are sealed after the filling has been added. Stuffed pastas are formed in different shapes, such as squares, circles, triangles and half moons. They are stuffed with a variety of fillings, which consist of a mixture of ingredients, such as meats, cheeses, herbs, mushrooms, and vegetables. Stuffed pastas are first cooked and then generally served with a light sauce. For information on the stuffed pasta products available and a brief description of each, see Pasta Products - Stuffed Pasta.

Asian Noodles

Asian noodles consist of strands that vary in shape, width and length. They can be thin straight sticks, flat strands, round strands, and wavy strands. The noodles are made from various flours, such as wheat flour, rice flour, potato flour, soybean flour, and mung bean flour. Some Asian noodles are made with eggs but many are not. Various noodles are available fresh and dried but some are only found in Asian markets. Asian noodles are a variety of colors, such as translucent white, opaque white, cream, yellow, tan and brown. Asian noodles are eaten hot and cold, and are used in soups, salads, stir-fries, and other Asian dishes. For information on the Asian noodle products available and a brief description of each, see Pasta Products - Asian Noodles.

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