Chatelaine Kitchen

7 short pasta noodles and how to use them

Playful shapes and fanciful names make these noodles a fun addition to your pantry.

Numbered pasta noodles


Short pasta has more fun. With fanciful names and playful shapes, it adds cheerfulness to any dish. It pairs with most sauces, particularly those with texture, so just choose the one that speaks to you. Read on for a quick breakdown of seven short noodles you need to try:

1. Conchigliette.
A sea-shell shaped pasta that comes in small medium and large sizes (large is called conchiglie). The ridges help sauce adhere to the noodle for optimum coverage. Small to medium shells, as seen above, are best used in soups and pastas while the large ones are ideal for stuffing.
Try it: Jamie Oliver’s puttanesca.

2. Ditali.
Also called tubetttini, the name ditali means “small thimbles” in Italian. This short cut noodle is ideal in soups as it’s small size is easily spooned out of the bowl.
Try it: Sausage and kale soup.

3. Cavatappi.
The name of this noodle, translates as “corkscrew”. You may also see it packaged as scoobi doo, fusili rigati, double elbow pasta and more. As with conchigliette’s ridged curves, the ridged double spiral on the cavatappi noodle also allows for pasta sauces to cling evenly.
Try it: Creamy pasta with dill and sun-dried tomato.

Related: 10 tips and tricks for making perfect pasta

4. Orechiette.
Translated, the name means “little ear”; these dome-shaped noodles let sauce settle inside, making them perfect for saucy dishes and salads.
Try it: Garlicky chicken pasta.

5. Fiorelli.
The tubular shape and ruffled edges of this unique Italian noodle allow it to capture sauces beautifully. (It will also add a fun flourish to any dish.)
Try it: The new mac ‘n cheese.

6. Macaroni.
Maccheroni in Italian, this ubiquitous noodle is no stranger to your pantry cupboard. Easy to use in pastas, soups and salads, it’s all about what you’re in the mood for.
Try it: Skillet mac ‘n cheese.

7. Chiocciole.
Translated, the name means “snail”; these ridged elbow noodles typically have one end pinched shut, giving them an almost snail-like appearance.
Why we love it: The closed end allows the noodle capture extra sauce.

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