The List: Definitive ranking of pasta shapes

Andy Downing, Columbus Alive
Photo Courtesy of NBC Universal

This week our food writer G.A. Benton hit up Basi Italia in Victorian Village. Inspired by the Italian eatery, we thought we'd provide you, our readers, with the definitive ranking of pasta shapes. Apologies to those of you who are fans of elbow macaroni (but not really).

(N/A) Gnocchi

Yes, gnocchi is delicious, but for our purposes here we just can't consider it a pasta.

65. Elbow macaroni

This would likely rank much, much higher if I'd written this list at age 7.

53. Spaghetti, angel hair

I don't get the appeal of these wispy, dental-floss-thin noodles, which go from al dente to hopelessly overcooked and soggy in the blink of an eye.

37. Manicotti

Like rigatoni injected with HGH, and usually overstuffed to nauseating levels with some kind of ricotta-based filling.

28. Rotini

Acceptable in the classic pasta salad someone schleps to every backyard barbecue, but that's about it. (This goes double for the tri-color variety.)

17. Pappardelle

Are you a lasagna noodle? No? Then why so wide?

8. Rigatoni

Manicotti's polite younger sibling pairs well with sauces and in baked pasta dishes.

7. Penne

Similar to rotini in many ways, but the slight angle cut makes it appear somehow classier.

6. Cavatappi

These corkscrew-shaped nuggets could be considered grown-up elbow macaroni and make the perfect anchor for homemade mac and cheese.

5. Fusilli

Gets a significant boost due to the existence of "Seinfeld's" Fusilli Jerry. ("Because you're silly!")

4. Fettuccine

See: Alfredo, Fettuccine

3. Orecchiette

These puckered, ear-shaped nubs (the name comes from the Italian orecchia, meaning ear) are perfectly suited to sopping up saucy dishes.

2. Spaghetti, traditional

Even dogs love this classic (note "Lady and the Tramp"), which would have topped the list were it not for…

1. Bucatini

The ideal pasta combines the fun of spaghetti (go ahead and twirl your fork freely) with a hollow core perfect for capturing sauce.