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11 Best Gourmet Pastas You’ll Love

Pasta may be the most perfect and versatile food on the planet. You can dress it up for a formal dining event or prepare it for a casual date night. There isn’t a mood that a good plate or bowl of pasta can’t fix. Fill your bellies with the delicious taste of the best gourmet pasta that will step your pasta game up considerably.

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How much do humans like pasta? Check this fact: pasta consumption increased worldwide in 2016 and 2017 (Nielsen data). At the end of this list, there's interesting -- and somewhat amazing -- info about which countries eat the most overall and per capita.

Pasta on This List is Dried Pasta

If you've ever had fresh pasta -- at a restaurant or somebody's house or maybe you make your own -- you know it's great. But if you've ever had dried pasta -- at a restaurant or somebody's house or maybe you make your own -- you know it's great, too.

Because of the perishable aspect of fresh pasta -- which is usually made with eggs and needs refrigeration and has a short shelf life --, we're focussing on dried pasta. It lasts.

Artisanal vs Supermarket

There are a couple of differences between a more artisanal pasta and a mass-produced pasta. Smaller pasta producers tend to use better wheat (flour) which ends up giving the pasta a much better relationship with the water it's cooked in.

Another difference is how the pasta is physically formed. Smaller producers tend to use bronze (or brass) dies to extrude their pasta. This leaves the pasta with more of a textured surface than the super-smooth surface of a mass-produced, Teflon-die pasta. That textured surface holds the sauce better.

Pasta Shapes

There are more than 300 shapes and varieties of pasta, according to Oretta Zanini De Vita, author of the Encyclopedia of Pasta. Despite the desire and ability to fully test (read: eat) each one, we've decided to narrow it down to 11. Most are long, some are short.

We give some recommendations on pasta/sauce pairing, but we also believe that there aren't any rules to this. The pasta police aren't gonna cite you if you serve cacio e Pepe with a farfalle rigati instead of a tonnarelli. If they do, frame the ticket because it'll be a great conversation starter as you dine with loved ones on this great pastas.

Who Ate The Pasta?

According to Nielsen, the United States is the world's largest consumer of pasta: 2.7 million tons in 2017. Per capita, Americans eat nearly 20 pounds of pasta a year. It sounds like a lot, right? Italians are the champions: per capita, Italians consume an average of 52 pounds of pasta each year.