Pasta Shapes for Salads

One of our favorite dinner staples, pasta, takes a cold turn in the summer, as a foundation for salads. Here's a guide to the best shapes to use:

Grooved, twisted, tube-shaped or slightly cupped pastas are ideal for trapping dressing, seasonings and vegetables. Look for:

  • tubes (rigatoni, penne and elbow macaroni)
  • twists or spirals (fusilli, rotini, rotelle or cavatappi)
  • curves (radiatori or ruoti, also called wagon wheels)
  • cups (orechiette, conchiglie or campanelle, also called gigli)
  • bows (farfalle, also called bow ties)

Long strands of pasta work well with smooth dressings. Try:

  • gemelli (twisted spaghetti)
  • long fusilli (spiral spaghetti)
  • Asian noodles

Small shapes, such as orzo, work well in lightly dressed side salads, or substitute orzo for Rice in a rice salad.


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