All Pastas are Not the Same

All Pastas are Not the Same

If you are not Sicilian or Italian you might think that all pastas and macaronis are the same. But they aren’t. The shape, texture and size of pastas change the way a particular food tastes when it is prepared.

There is spaghetti but spaghetti can be regular, thin, thick or angel hair fine. Angel hair comes in nests or lengths.   There are long flat noodles called linguini and fettuccini. Then there are Rigatoni, Cavatelli, Vermicellini, Elbows, Ziti, Penne, Ditali, Ditalini, Corkscrews, Orzo, wide egg noodles, medium egg noodles, and fine egg noodles. There are also noodles without eggs and even some that are gluten-free for those who are on special diets.

Some other pastas are Cannelloni, Tagliatelle, Tagliolini, Lasagna, Mostaccioli, Manicotti, Mezze Penne, Penne Rigate, Spirals, Shells, Farfalle, Fiori, Radiatori, Bombardoni Lisci, Lumaconi, Ventagli, Acini di pepe, and Pastina.

Ravioli, tortellini and gnocchi are pastas either filled or made with ingredients other than only flour, salt and water. They may be made using ricotta or potatoes.

These are just a few of the many kinds of noodles used in Sicilian or Italian cooking. If you go to a grocery store and look at their shelves of pastas, you will find many more types and shapes.

If you are lucky enough to find a specialty Sicilian or Italian market you will find many pastas that you can’t find anywhere else. In large cities with larger populations of Sicilians and Italians you will find many more specialty pastas that are imported from Europe.

Creste di Gallo

My personal favorite, Creste Di Gallo, sold at Mario’s Meat Market and Deli

Mario’s Meat Market and Deli, located on Cleveland Avenue in Fort Myers, FL, is one specialty market that has many pastas that you can not find anywhere else in the area. To name just a few; Vesuviotti, Cavatappi, Creste Di Gallo, Mafaldine Anna, Bucatini, Gemelli Anna, Tubetti, Fusilli Avellinese, and   Paccheri Rigate. Many of these pastas, and so many more, are Mario’s own name brand which are imported from Italy.

The varieties of pasta are endless but they are not the same. Some are used in specialty recipes, such as when you make lasagna, while others can be used depending on your preferences. Some pastas have holes in them or are tubes and hold sauce better than other shapes. Pastas have different textures which satisfy people’s texture preferences.

There are some common shaped pastas, such as rigatoni, and spirals, that sell in regular grocery stores. But in specialty stores you can find these same shapes in a larger size. Personally, I prefer the larger of the common shaped pastas. They hold more sauce!

Different areas of Italy and Sicily have pastas that are common to their geographical location because of the people who lived in those areas and how and what they cooked. When they came to the United States they settled in areas with people who came from the same areas from which they came in Sicily and they brought their specific pastas and recipes with them.

There are so many different types of foods in the world. When people came from different countries to the United States, they brought their foods and customs with them. They opened grocery stores, specialty markets and restaurants and we are fortunate to have all the wonderful foods from around the world!

People think pastas are the same but if you are Sicilian you know they aren’t!  What is your favorite pasta?

Just one of many shelves of specialty pastas at Mario’s

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Shelves of pasta at Mario’s

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Mario’s own brand

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Pasta shapes I love!



All Pastas are Not the Same — 3 Comments

  1. I love dense pastas like gnocchi. Creste Di Gallo, or Rooster’s Crests, because of their shape, are also very dense. There is a lot to each mouthful which is usually only one or two pieces of pasta at a time. Texture is what makes the difference to me. I like my pasta soft while most people eat pasta al dente. I guess we all have different tastes and that is why it is so great that we have so many choices when it comes to pasta! The bottom line though is that I have never met a pasta I didn’t like!

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