Types of Small Pasta
- Elbow macaroni is just one among many small pasta types.macaroni image by Simone van den Berg from Fotolia.com
Pasta can be very large -- lasagna sheets, for example, or large stuffed cannelloni. You may also be familiar with types of pasta that are relatively narrow but very long, such as spaghetti, fettuccini, angel hair or linguine. Pasta also exists in very small pieces, however. You are probably familiar with some small pastas, such as elbow macaroni or small shells. Other small pasta types, however, are less common.
- You might recognize farfalle as a relatively common type of pasta with a shape that resembles a bowtie or butterfly. Farfalline is a significantly smaller version of this same pasta. These tiny pieces of pasta -- each only about 1/2 inch long and 1/8 inch wide at the narrow part -- are perfect for light, delicate soups or other dishes where they will not be overwhelmed with a thick sauce.
- Orecchiette means "little ears" in Italian and refers to the shape of these pieces of pasta. Each piece of this type of pasta is a small, slightly cupped piece with small ridges on the outside. They may look more like small hats rather than ears. They work well in a variety of dishes; despite their small size, they are thick enough to handle most sauces.
Ditali and Ditalini
- Ditali pasta consists of short pasta tubes under 1/2 inch long. These tubes are relatively wide for their length; the hole is about half as wide as each piece is long. They are most commonly used in soups, but you can use them for macaroni and cheese or similar dishes if you wish. Ditalini is an even smaller version of this pasta. It is almost exclusively used for soups.
- Anellini pieces are very small, almost perfectly round rings of pasta. At first glance they may look more like a breakfast cereal than pasta. Anellini and its slightly larger cousins anelli and anelletti are soup pastas and should not be used in most other dishes. They are too delicate and fragile to withstand the constant handling and mixing associated with many pasta recipes.