Why do some pasta shapes taste so much better than others/

@Wizzywig (7859)
March 15, 2010 6:09pm CST
Is there some scientific fact or is it purely a psychological thing? I'm talking about your average supermarket dried pasta not all the fresh varieties which probably have different recipe combinations. I'm not keen on spaghetti nor fusili nor the big shells.... the tiny shells, bows and spirals just seem to taste so much better. Is it because there is more surface area for the sauce to reach or something like that?
4 people like this
14 responses
• Spain
15 Mar 10
I don't think the shape has anything to do with it. Some are made of veggies and other of egg... but shape does nothing to flavor.
2 people like this
@Wizzywig (7859)
15 Mar 10
Psychological then... the ones I'm talking about seem to have the same ingredients listed on the packs.
1 person likes this
@pierone (1895)
• Italy
28 Apr 10
Sorry, I need to disagree with this idea. The shape of the pasta is really important according to the sauce you use with it. This because different shapes "keeps" in a different way different souces. First of all, if you check different kind of pasta, you can see a great difference on the pasta surface. Some are really smooth, others are much more rough. And shape is important also for how much sauce the pasta keep on it: try to put 100 grams of spaghetti and 100 grams of farfalle (butterflies) in the same quantity of a sauce, expecially if is a cream... you will see the difference. In the dish with the spaghetti, when you finished to eat you will find lot of sauce in the dish, when you will finished your farfalle, there will be pratically no sauce in the dish. That's why usually for each souce there are few shapes of pasta that are considered the "right ones" for that souce. Nobody would consider the idea to make the linguine alla matriciana, as well as nobody could imagine to use the bombolotti with a pesto sauce. At least no italian ;)
@Wizzywig (7859)
28 Apr 10
Thank you for that pierone! Its good to know that it wasnt all in my mind. I think the shapes I like do hold the sauce better. As you say, spaghetti doesn't really hold it.
@ElicBxn (60884)
• United States
15 Mar 10
I like spaghetti - I like to twirl my noodles...
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@ElicBxn (60884)
• United States
16 Mar 10
I learned to twirl my noodles by 4, and before my brother, who was 2 yrs older, had mastered it
@Wizzywig (7859)
16 Mar 10
I dont think I even ate noodles till I was in my teens...
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@BarBaraPrz (19838)
• St. Catharines, Ontario
15 Mar 10
It's probably just psychological, but I do know that whole wheat pasta does tastes different from the regular kind.
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@BarBaraPrz (19838)
• St. Catharines, Ontario
15 Mar 10
Or maybe you're a synesthete?
@Wizzywig (7859)
15 Mar 10
Yes, it does. maybe the shapes I like just look more fun in the bowl and that somehow translates into a better taste for me??
@haniku17 (113)
17 Mar 10
I'm not sure if there's really a scientific reason behind it but I guess it has something to do with preference and the way the pasta has been prepared and cooked. I do love pasta and I'm trying to learn to cook and hopefully I will be able to cook some great pasta too.
1 person likes this
@Wizzywig (7859)
17 Mar 10
I'm sure you will make some great pasta dishes Meanwhile, welcome to myLot. I hope you will enjoy being part of these discussions
@ronaldinu (12445)
• Malta
16 Mar 10
HI Wizzywig , I do think that it has to do with pshycology the way we perceive things. For example I find it quite amusing that some people do not like ravioli but end up eating pastizzi (its pastry with ircotta) the same ingredients as ravioli. Ok the shape is different, ravioli are boiled while pastizzi are baked. But both have the same ingredients.
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@Wizzywig (7859)
16 Mar 10
I suppose boiled gives a slightly different tast/texture?? I remember cutting out sandwiches with teddy bear cake cutters for my children when they weren't feeling well - that seemed to make them taste better to them... or maybe they just took some sadistic pleasure in biting his arms and legs off luckily, they both turned out ok
@irishidid (8563)
• United States
16 Mar 10
Funny you should mention that. I hate the shell pasta. I think it's the texture more than anything. My kids prefer the mac and cheese with the shell noodles. They are welcome to them. They taste funny and so does the cheese sauce.
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@Wizzywig (7859)
16 Mar 10
I only like the little tiny shells and i've really gone off cheese sauce over the last few years. I used to love it but now i'd far sooner have something tomato-based.
@JoyfulOne (6242)
• United States
16 Mar 10
I've often wondered this exact same thing. While it probably is more psychological than anything else, I seem to notice a difference. Maybe it does have to do with how much sauce touches it? I would much rather eat my spaghetti sauce on elbows or shells than the traditional spaghetti noodles. Same brand, same ingredients, yet I do believe it has a different taste somehow. I notice too with my grandchildren that they don't like the elbows, but will readily eat it if it's bows or wagonwheels or such. It'll be interesting to read others opinions on it lol.
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@Wizzywig (7859)
16 Mar 10
Straight thin spaghetti is just so boring to me & it really doesnt hold the sauce does it?
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@Shar19 (8236)
• United States
16 Mar 10
One of the reasons could be because certain pasta shapes hold the sauces better, making it taste more yummy.
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@Wizzywig (7859)
16 Mar 10
yes, thats what i was thinking... on spirals there is so much surface area for the sauce to cling to.
• United States
16 Mar 10
I would have to say the thickness and texture. Because basically they do have the same ingredients. Unless you by the vegi kind or something different.
@Wizzywig (7859)
16 Mar 10
Yes, I'm sure that will be a large part of it. Somehow, the tubes dont do it for me
@mylila (107)
• Malaysia
26 Apr 10
I think maybe the small size pastas are more chewy than others. And it's very enjoyable to munch on.
@Wizzywig (7859)
26 Apr 10
Yes, that could be another contributory factor. Thank you.
@irisheyes (4373)
• United States
31 Mar 10
To me, it depends on what you do with the pasta. I think the rotelle tastes best in Pasta Salad. The big shells are the only ones you really can stuff. I'm not crazy about spagetti either and usually use linguini instead. I just don't like angel hair pasta because I can never get the right sauce to coat it but everybody else seems to love it. Heck, I guess it is just psychological.
@Wizzywig (7859)
31 Mar 10
I think you're right... the sauce can make a difference as can the recipe... but I still like some shapes better than others
@natjohn20 (201)
• Philippines
16 Mar 10
I too don't think the shape have to do anything with the taste of the pasta, for me I think of it its more on the person itself have to do anything with it. Some of us has its own different taste and prefers for the pasta for me I think the spiral ones taste better than the wide ones, some people don't like the spirals so its all about the persons prefers. Also the brand has a big impact to the taste also, some brand don't taste good like other good brands even they have the same content to it. ^ ^
@Wizzywig (7859)
16 Mar 10
yes, its largely a matter of personal preference but,as you say, the brand can make a difference to the taste.
@dawnald (84148)
• Shingle Springs, California
16 Mar 10
Bows taste better. I have no idea why!!!
@Wizzywig (7859)
16 Mar 10
Yeah, bows are good too. maybe its a "pleasing on the eye - pleasing on the palette" thing?
@hvedra (1623)
16 Mar 10
I suspect it is more to do with the surface area or the shape picking up the sauce. I like twists because the sauce seems to get into the spiral. I don't even buy spaghetti any more we just use twists for bolognese - less traumatic trying to eat it too!
@Wizzywig (7859)
16 Mar 10
I'm with you on the twists!! I cant understand why my husband prefers spaghetti... funny how we seem to run out of it so often yet always have the spirals...