If you haven’t heard of World Pasta Day, we’ve got some good news for you: there’s a World Pasta Day. It falls on October 25 and we’ll naturally be celebrating by eating our own body weight in pasta. To get everyone in the spirit, we’ve put together a brief guide to some of the many pasta varieties, which, as it turns out, is no easy feat. Did you know there are around 350 types of pasta in the world? We’d better get started.
Let’s start with a classic. Nothing says comfort food quite like a Spaghetti Bolognese—that is unless you’re in Italy. Did you know that the famous Italian dish is thought to have originated outside Italy? While the country certainly eats spaghetti and also eats Ragú alla Bolognese, the two are rarely paired together. Italians are much more likely to prepare their spaghetti as Aglio Olio, which means with just olive oil and garlic. Simple but delicious.
Quite literally the macaroni to our cheese, this pasta is the backbone of the pasta world. Mac ‘n’ cheese is a childhood classic, but it’s recently been adopted by many hipster restaurateurs who have come up with their own creative spins on it such as mac ‘n’ cheese bites and grilled mac ‘n’ cheese sandwiches. And it makes sense that this dish has been picked up by the food scene’s trendiest crowd; back in the 18th Century, macaroni was used to describe outlandish Western European fashionistas that we might today refer to as hipsters—hence: “he stuck a feather in his cap and called it macaroni.”
Potato and pasta in one dish? Whoever thought of gnocchi was a true visionary. This dumpling-slash-pasta dish is made with wheat flour, egg, potato, cheese, and breadcrumbs and can be seasoned with whatever you want. Ricotta cheese is a popular choice, as is classic basil pesto. In Italy, you’ll often find in on the menu as both a first course and a side dish to your main meal—which means you could theoretically have gnocchi with a side of gnocchi if you wanted. And let’s be real: we all do.
As far as we’re concerned the best kind of pasta is a lot of pasta, and that’s where rigatoni comes in. Although you can get a smaller version, known as rigatoncini, typical rigatoni is one of the bigger pasta varieties. The name roughly translates to “ridged” in Italian, in reference to the ridges that you’ll normally find down the length of the pasta tubes.
Arguably the fanciest of all the pasta, farfalle is the one to whip out if you’re having over dinner guests that you want to impress, or if you want to convince your mom that your cooking skills have improved. They’re shaped like teeny-tiny bow-ties or butterflies, depending on how you look at them, which is why the name is derived from the Italian word for butterfly. They also come super-sized, which is known as farfalloni, or super-small, which is known as farfalline.
All you need to make ravioli is flour, eggs, and water—but what you want to put in ravioli is up to you. This Italian classic is usually filled with meat or cheese and served in pasta sauce or broth, but there are many different varieties to choose from each stemming from different regions of the country. A common filling is ricotta and spinach, often served in tomato sauce or with a drizzling of sage butter as a lighter alternative.
Ravioli’s hipster cousin, tortellini is also a type of stuffed pasta but is prepared slightly differently. Whereas ravioli is made with filling between two layers of pasta (like a mini lasagna), tortellini is made in the same way as dumplings by putting the filling on a pasta sheet and then folding it into the signature round shape with a small hole in the middle. The name roughly translates to “stuffed cake” which seems appropriate, because it sounds delicious.
The staple ingredient in Penne Arrabiata, this classic pasta is easy, fuss-free and delicious. It’s usually served al dente, which roughly translates to “with bite” and means that it shouldn’t be cooked until completely soft and also means that you get to eat it quicker. It also comes in a miniature form, which is charmingly named mostaccioli or “little mustache.”
There are around 342 more pasta types, but we made ourselves so hungry we couldn’t finish listing them all. Our apologies to those that didn’t make the cut -- you’re all still delicious and everyone at Uber Eats still loves you. We’re looking at you, Alphabetti Spaghetti.