Infographic: Learn About 188 Pasta Shapes and How to Cook Them

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Think you know everything there is to know about pasta? Think again.

Chasing Delicious has put together this visual encyclopedia of 188 different shapes you might encounter in Italian cooking. (The infographic is huge, so click here to view a full-size version.)

So why are there so many pastas, anyway? Turns out, it's all about the sauce.

The varying sizes, shapes, and textures of pasta all indicate what kind of sauce is best served with it. Should you go with a lighter sauce or a heavier sauce? Smooth or chunky? What if you add vegetables to it? (And the answers to all that are: Smooth pastas are best suited for lighter sauces. Ridged pastas hold heavier sauces. Pastas with holes and tubes are perfect for chunky sauces and sauces that contain small bits of vegetables, as the openings will catch and hold on to those pieces.)

Variety of pastas

Aside from the sauce factor, certain types of pasta work better for boiling or baking, while others should be used for soups or pasta salads.

Each pasta shape is illustrated under its respective category with its ideal applications, making for easy reference. Once you know the intricacies of pasta, you may look at a simple spaghetti dinner in a whole new way.

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