Top 10 most unusual & underrated pasta shapes
Everyone loves pasta, it’s a versatile addition to any kitchen cupboard that can be mixed with loads of different ingredients. Although it pains me to say so, it can get boring, and people often look for ways to “spice up” their pasta dishes by turning to new and exciting sauces. Today I want to take a look at the pasta itself; In no particular order, these are my Top 10 most unusual & underrated pasta shapes, destined to give your dinner table a new lease of life!
A fairly simple pasta shape, yet one that you may not have heard of before. As discussed in a previous blog, shell pasta is best paired with a creamy or meaty sauce. Each bite will have the full flavour of the dish as the sauce mingles and gets trapped within each shell. You may also choose to use this as a nice alternative to the traditional macaroni pasta bake. Definitely one of my favourites on this list.
Similar to the well known Tagliatelle or Linguine pasta shapes, the general rule of thumb is the same; Pair with rich and meaty pasta sauces. You’ll find that the little rivets in each ribbon make for a slightly different texture and also look quite pleasant on the plate; bonus!
I’m a huge fan of Fusilli but it’s nice to switch up the twist every now and then with a spot of Gemelli. I pair mine with lighter sauces, something like a basil pesto that clings well to the pasta and makes for a really nice and light lunch time meal.
Great in baked pasta dishes (al forno), ragu or with hearty meat sauces. Each tube of Paccheri will be filled with sauce and make for an exquisite mouthful every time. Another favourite alternative to Macaroni, goes down a treat at my house!
You may be thinking, “Ravioli? Everyone knows Ravioli.” The thing is; most people’s experience with this magnificent pasta is the gunk they sell in cans, drenched in the sauce of baked beans, which simply does not do it justice! In order to really enjoy Ravioli go for the good stuff and pair it with an oily or buttery sauce, so as not to overpower the filling.
It’s a very thin shape, similar to Vermicelli but shorter in length. Very versatile; Whether you want to use it with a light creamy seafood dish, with an oil or butter based sauce or in soup, Fideo has got you covered.
A large twist that tastes great when cooked al-dente, best paired with light oil based sauces. I personally love it with pesto and veggies, (bell peppers especially) to make a great alternative to the standard “pasta salad”.
The perfect mix between a twist, a tube and a shell! You can do almost anything with this pasta which is why it’s on this list and should really be more well known than it is. Personally, I love my Campanelle with a nice, rich & creamy sauce.
Reminiscent of those awful little “Spaghetti-Os” they used to us when we were young, this small hooped pasta is almost totally unknown in the UK. You can use this in al-forno pasta dishes or also as an addition to your soups.
Somewhat classed as a shell, but it really depends on each individual piece of pasta. You can use meat sauces with this shape but most often than not, the best way to go is with an oil based sauce like a pesto; something that will cling on to the pasta.
There you have it; my top 10 most unusual & underrated pasta shapes! Hopefully this has given you some ideas for your next pasta dinner, or inspired you to order something a little different the next time you visit an Italian restaurant. As always, don’t be afraid to experiment, there are so many different types of pasta out there, hundreds even; go wild!
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