Why are there so many shapes of pasta?

I’m assuming there must be some reason, but, well, it all tastes the same too me.

I mean aside from the obvious structural differences of lasagna and ravioli, and rather obvious logistical differences, such as being able to eat shells with a spoon, I don’t get why there are so many shapes of pasta.

So what’s the straight dope on this, is it all aesthetic or what?

Because that way kids have more variety when they’re in arts and crafts. Differently-colored glitter is just, like, sooo last year.


Actually, I don’t know. Sits back with a can of soda waiting for someone to come up with an(other) answer

The answer lies in mainly two variances–region and sauce. Italy has several regions, each with their own styles of pasta sauces, and their idea of the best pasta shape to carry the sauce.

Notice how most large noodles and sturdy shapes like ziti are usually paired with the heartier meat sauces, while pastas like angel hair tend to be matched with lighter tomato or cream based sauces? It works down to a surface-to-volume ratio, basically.

Because its fun!

:smack: That should be: Because it’s fun!

Thanks, Java. I had a feeling that might be it but it’s good to have some verification.

Why are there so many shapes of pasta?

Because gawd loves us and wants us to be happy :smiley:

Here is the perfect confirmation of JavaMaven1’s second point.

It’s because Italians have different shaped mouths. Man, do we have to explain everything?

(off topic shift) Did we ever come to a resolution of the physics of slurping spaghetti noodles? (topic shift ends)

The reason dozens of pasta shapes are sold in the United States has to do both with tradition, and with the effect of the texture and use. I’m very fond of Mostacciolli, but I can barely stand to eat penne rigate, which is practically the same, with ridges on the outside. (And in general I’m not at all a fussy eater.) Gemelli, which is little twists has such a pronounced texture it overwhelms the texture of things served with it. Macaroni is good for sopping up a lot of sauce, and there’s no way to build a lasagna with discrete layers without using those large, flat noodles.

The site don’t ask cited has some other good observations.