Tubular Pasta (Call It Macaroni)

Italian pasta comes in two basic forms: macaroni (or tubular pasta) and spaghetti. Macaroni has distinctive shapes, hollows, and curves — all to capture the thick rich sauces they were designed for. (You may be familiar with that classic American dish, macaroni and cheese.). Spaghetti is strandlike.

Explore the different types of macaroni described in the chart, find out how long they need to boil in water to cook, and how to serve them.

The Macaroni Family
Italian Name and Translation Approximate Cooking Time Serving Suggestion
Cannelloni (“large reeds”) Cooks in 7 to 9 minutes Stuffed with meat or cheese and baked smothered in sauce
Ditali (“thimbles”) Cooks in 8 to 10 minutes Add to soups and cold pasta salads.
Penne (“quills”) Cooks in 10 to 12 minutes Best coated all over with rich sauces
Rigatoni (“large grooves”) Cooks in 10 to 12 minutes Excellent with tomato, meat, and vegetable sauces
Ziti (“bridegrooms”) Cooks in 10 to 12 minutes Excellent in rich, baked casseroles with thick tomato sauces.
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