90% of people can't name these pasta shapes! How well will you do?

By: J. Scott Wilson
Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

Pasta comes in nearly as many varieties as sauces that they can be tossed in. Whether you like your pasta thin, thick, shaped, or filled, you will likely find a favorite in this quiz. It's time to pull out your pasta knowledge and see how many of these pastas you can name.

Bucatini looks like fat spaghetti, but the noodles are hollow in the middle. This makes it excellent for just about any sauce, especially thinner ones.

Filini isn't used as a bed for sauce or meats like bigger pasta. These "little strings" are often added to thin soups or broths to add body for a first course. Think of it as Italian ramen, but just don't say that around an Italian cook!

These big pasta tubes are a blank slate upon which Italian chefs write their creative signatures. They can be filled with mixtures of meat, cheese, vegetables or just about anything.

Penne is one of the biggest workhorses in the pasta world. It's tossed with sauce, baked in lasagna-type dishes and used as a base for grilled meats.

If you like egg rolls AND Italian food, you'll love garganelli. It's hand-rolled pasta, about the size of penne, which takes on something of the appearance of the Asian snackable.

Can't decide if you want tubes or corkscrews? Pick this one! It's a corkscrew tube that's great with pasta salads.

This is one of the more fun pastas to pronounce, especially if you add a fake Italian accent. It's similar to fettucine, most often used for meat sauces.

These "little pies" can be filled with all manner of mixtures. They're usually served in a buttery, herbal sauce that complements the flavor of the filling.

These little rings might be the source of your kid's favorite alphabet soup. They're small bits of pasta most often used in soups to add body and texture.

These long, flat noodles are somewhat similar to lasagne noodles, and used for much the same purposes. Or, once they're softened, you can use them for jackets for very small animals.

These are often described as little shells, but to me they look like tiny hot dog buns. They're used with all manner of sauces, because they're great at holding them.

Shells are kind of like the tortillas of the pasta world. They're mainly defined by what's stuffed inside them, and those fillings run the gamut from cheese to meat to dessert creations.

These pasta dumplings are used in cuisines far beyond Italian. They are similar to ravioli, but the ratio of wrapper to filling is more pleasing, and they're easier to eat.

Lumache ("snail shells") look disturbingly like the creature from which they get their name. They're most often used with chunky sauces, or I guess if you're feeling adventurous you could stuff them with escargot.

There are a ton of pastas out there designed to be stuffed, and tortellini is one of the most versatile. They can take just about any stuffing, although cheeses are the most common, and swim best in buttery sauces.

Some pasta names are a little obscure, but not pipe! It's a hollow tube designed to hold pretty much any sauce in preparation for spurting all over your shirt when you bite incautiously.

This is the pasta most of us eat first, and it was surprising to me as a teenager to learn that there WERE other shapes of pasta. It's a medium-sized long noodle, and has roughly a zillion uses.

This one translates into "Little worms." Really, Italians? Maybe we can just pretend we don't know that and toss this pasta with some olive oil and herbs.

These tiny rings, like their bigger cousin anelli, are used primarily to add body to brothy soups. You'll also find them in some baked goods.

Paccheri are another tubal pasta that can be filled with just about anything. The tube is smooth, not ridged, so thicker fillings like cheese-based concoctions, are recommended.

Lasagna is one of my favorite Italian dishes, simply because it can be made roughly a million ways. Like meatloaf here in the U.S., everyone has their own recipe and sequence for the layers, but they're all pretty tasty.

Wow, this is one serious pasta. The name, translated, is "priest strangler." Maybe instead you should just cook it? Try it with a nice mushroom sauce.

These short, ridged tubes aren't usually tossed with sauce like their tubular brethren. These are cooked and then used as decoration and to add texture to salads.

This unconventional pasta is made from bread crumbs, eggs, grated Parmesan cheese and sometimes lemon or thyme. Because of its less-sturdy construction, it's used as a dumpling or cracker-type role player in soups and broths.

Bigoli is a favorite in Venetian cuisine, and it's traditionally made with duck eggs. This makes a rich, toothsome pasta that goes well with hearty sauces.

This big, ridged tube is the sauce boss when it comes to holding what you've made. Toss it with a thick meat sauce for an awesome alternative to spaghetti.

If you like penne, but it's a little too long for you, this will fit the bill. The shorter noodles are sometimes easier for kids to handle.

This small ribbon pasta is traditionally made with semolina flour and flavorings. It has a decadent bent, most often being served with truffles.

These bowtie-shaped noodles are the utility infielder of your pasta lineup. They go well with any kind of sauce, but their shape also makes them great for things like pasta salads.

Rotelle proves that sometimes pasta makers just want to have fun. The wagon wheels can go in soups or thin sauces, but don't stand up very well for things like alfredo.

Here's another fun shape: stars! They're used in soups and broths, and are a kid favorite in Italy.

In countries where rice isn't a big crop, you find things like fregola. This round "soup pasta" is used exclusively in soups and broths as a thickener and to add body.

Tuck a feather in your cap and remember using this one to make endless craft items for your parents in school. It can actually be eaten, too!

Spaetzle is another soup pasta, made as an egg noodle. It's frequently extruded directly into the liquid in which it's to be cooked. If you've watched "Chopped," this is one of those things panicked cooks make to fix a soup.

I'm not sure there's a publicly appropriate part of the body that doesn't have a pasta named after it. These "little ears" go great in chunky sauces.

This wide, flat noodle is the next step down from a lasagna noodle. It's great with hearty, thick sauces and is often used during winter holidays and feasts when the living is easy.

Continuing our pasta body part theme, these are "little tongues." Yes, they look a tiny bit like them, but more like snake tongues, and who wants to eat those?

Fettucine Alfredo is one of the most-recognized dishes for American eaters. Try it with some grilled shrimp tossed in for a great flavor combination.

Legend has it that fricelli was made by rolling the dough around a knitting needle to keep the tube shape intact. These days, I'm sure they probably have machinery that does the job.

Ravioli can be big or small, filled with cheese or meat, and served with a variety of sauces. My personal favorite, though, is FRIED ravioli. Try it sometime!

These slightly puffy corkscrew pastas have a variety of uses. One of their traditional preparations is with a white clam sauce, and it's delicious!

If you love lasagna, but the big noodles are hard to manage, try making a big pan of baked ziti. It's basically lasagna without the layers, and your kids will eat it by the bucketful.

Usually if you see an "ini" on the end of a pasta name, it's a smaller version of another pasta. This fits between spaghetti and vermicelli on the size scale, and is great with light sauces.

These neat little pockets can be filled with anything your heart desires, as long as it can be cut very small. My favorite is ricotta and garlic, served with a light cream sauce.

If you've had fried calamari, you'll recognize this ring shape. Sometimes the dough is even dosed with a bit of squid ink to give it that delicious black color that lets you know you're eating something you won't find at Olive Garden.

These "little thimbles" are another one of the myriad of "soup" pastas. Toss it into just about any brothy mixture, or cook it and throw it into a stir-fry for a cross-cultural delight.

Did you know chestnut flour was a thing? It's one of the traditional components of this pasta, although these days it's frequently made with potato. Pesto is a natural accompaniment.

The name has echoes of "capricious," and that describes the pasta well. The irregular disk shape and curls inspire all manner of fun uses.

This long, corkscrew pasta will hold any sauce in profusion. The corkscrews stay fairly tight even after cooking, so use a thinner sauce that will penetrate.

Fusilli is another corkscrew pasta, although its spirals are a bit looser. Use it for pasta salad, or especially with clam sauce!

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