A Culinary Question: Pasta Noodles

As I was hogging down my Kraft Dinner (Or Mac & Cheese as I believe it is known in the States) earlier today for lunch, I came to thinking…

…Macaroni, Riggatoni, Linguini, Tortillini, Lasagna, Spagghetti (which I recall is more an East Asian invention), Spagghettini, Penne, those cool little wagon wheels…

Why so many differing forms of pasta? Sure, there will be tons of different sauces, but how come we (or the Italians) couldn’t just settle for one kind of noodle? Or is there a reason for our diverse collection of pasta noodles?

Just a partial answer:
Some cuts of pasta have more surface area than others and are intended to capture particular sauces better. Also, the mouthfeel of penne pasta is certainly different from angel hair and that is enough of a difference for them to exist.

Variety is the spice of life.

Besides, as cool as they are, I’m not sure I could make a lasagna with those wagon wheels.

Some shapes of pasta originated in specific areas in Italy. Famous AND proprietary about their food, Italians tried to make their food/dishes more distinctive than the next small town. Geoduck is correct about various pastas and their surface differences. The rule of thumb is the larger/wider the pasta is, the chunkier the sauce you put over it. I’ve never seen a light, white clam sauce over pappardelle(very wide ribbons, perhaps 6-8 inches in length). Linguini always seems much more suited to that taste-tempting dish. Carbonara and radiatori seem made for each other. Several shapes comes in different sizes, tubettini and seashells come to mind. One size for soup, another for a side dish, a third as a main course. Shop around, you’ll never know when a new shape will pop up. Just found one that looks like a spiralled dunce cap. Make sure you’ve got extra gravy for THAT one. Mangia!