Italian cuisine is well known for its use of different types of pasta. Pasta may have different shapes, width, and lenght. According to this distinction, pasta has various names: penne, macaroni, spaghetti, linguine, fusilli, lasagne, etc. In addition to the nationally recognized varieties, there are hundreds of local types of pasta characterized by different shapes and lenght, with locally recognized names.
Examples include spaghetti, linguine, linguettine, bucatini (thin rods), macaroni, penne, pennette, rigatoni (tubes or cylinders), fusilli (swirls), and lasagne (sheets). Gnocchi (made with flour and patatoes), Spätzle, and Canederli (made with different ingredients) are sometimes considered pasta. They are traditional dishes and typical of some Italian locations.
Often in Italy the term “pasta” is used to indicate short pasta, and the term spaghetti for long pasta.
The term pasta also includes varieties where the dough of the fresh pasta is stuffed with other ingredients (meat, vegetables, fish,…). Examples include ravioli, tortellini, cannelloni, etc. Pasta is usually served with a sauce.
Please note that the following varieties of pasta: orecchiette, trofie, umbrichelli, strozzapreti chosen for some recipes, can be replaced with spaghetti. The choice of one type of pasta rather than another is due to the fact that traditionally the recipe is made with such specific variety of pasta, and to the different flavor given from the combination with a specific sauce. But if for any reason you prefer to use another type of pasta instead of that indicated in the recipe, it will taste great anyway!