Pasta is a staple of Italian cuisine. Although many kinds of pasta tend to have similar tastes, each style has a unique shape and is intended for specific dishes. The following guide discusses how particular noodles are used in Italian cooking and how to order pasta. 


Linguine noodles are sometimes called flat spaghetti because they are thin ribbons of pasta. These narrow noodles are typically served with light red or white sauces and paired with vegetables, meats, and seafood. Some of the most beloved Italian dishes, like noodles with red sauce and meatballs, are cooked with linguini. 



Lasagna noodles are wide and flat with a ruffled edge. Used primarily to make a delicious dish by the same name, Lasagna noodles are typically paired with meat, cheese, and red sauce. You can also try vegetable lasagna, which has many of the same ingredients as traditional lasagna apart from meat. 


These pockets of hearty noodles are enclosed on all sides and stuffed with meat or cheese. They're usually paired with a light, thin sauce that doesn't contain additional vegetables or meat since these ingredients are tucked inside the noodles. You can find ravioli in various shapes and sizes, but they're usually square with scalloped edges. 


These tube-shaped noodles are often paired with a sauce and meat, topped with cheese, and baked into an Italian casserole; hence the name, baked ziti. Ziti noodles can also be substituted for spaghetti or linguini in basic pasta dishes with white or red sauce. 

What is Al Dente?

If you order a noodle dish at an Italian restaurant, you may be asked how you'd like your pasta cooked. Many people enjoy their pasta cooked soft, but if you like your noodles with a firm and chewy texture, you will request that they be cooked al dente. To achieve this texture, the noodles are cooked for a shorter time so that they don't become soft. 

Many people prefer al dente noodles since they pair nicely with other aspects of Italian cooking and are easier to digest, but it's simply a matter of your personal preference.


Head to Roma's Pizza & Pasta for your next Italian lunch or dinner. This Springboro, OH, restaurant has served delicious and authentic Italian food for over two decades. They pride themselves on their exceptional family recipes, which are always cooked with fresh ingredients. See their menu online, or give them a call at (937) 790-1000 to place an order.