Dried pasta is the great equalizer when it comes to preparing a great meal. Need to feed a crowd on a budget? Pasta. Are you trying to impress a date with your home cooking skills? Pasta. Does everything in your fridge look radioactive but you don’t want to leave your house to do groceries or get takeout? You get the idea.
In pre-Covid times, I loved wandering my local store’s aisles and let the ingredients inspire my dinner, but nowadays I find myself craving specific comfort dishes and being distraught when the supermarket is out of a required pasta shape (I’m looking at you, Great Bucatini Shortage of 2020). Even if you don’t feel personally smote by Big Grocery™ as I often do, ordering dried pasta online on Amazon ensures you’ll always have access to your favorites. Plus, you can choose from a wider selection of high quality Italian pastas.
There’s a pasta for each need, price point, and occasion, but you’ll still want to keep an eye out for a few key characteristics:
- Die type
It’s no secret that semolina is the backbone of a high quality pasta. Reaching for one made with durum wheat semolina is a great way to upgrade your pasta game, since semolina gives the dough a bit of elasticity and resistance to each bite. Those with dietary restrictions will want to check out alternative ingredients like pea protein or chickpeas, as they tend to stack up better in both taste and texture than the edamame or black bean pasta varieties.
The way that the pasta is made will also affect its texture and taste. Most dried pastas are made with a die, or metal mold that the pasta is pushed through, so the material of the die itself will influence how your pasta behaves in different sauces and dishes. Many pasta makers in the US use teflon dies to cut pasta, but if you can spring for a traditional Italian pasta made with bronze dies, you’ll be rewarded with a fusilli or rigatoni that easily clings onto sauces, ensuring tons of flavor in each bite.
As far as which pasta shapes are best, it’s hotly contested (and highly subjective). I don’t think you can go wrong with a rigatoni, but some people swear by bucatini or tagliatelle as their pantry staples.
Read on for our top 11 pastas, that you can order on Amazon.
We’re recommending these products because we actually use, and like, them. Things you buy through our links may earn us a commission.
The Best Variety Pack
De Cecco’s 100% durum wheat semolina pasta is a step up from your standard grocery store pasta, but isn’t so pricey that you’d feel guilty using it for a quick weeknight meal. They’re made in Italy using bronze dies, which gives the pasta a coarser texture. This means it’ll cling to sauces and offer plenty of bite. If you want a variety, this pack comes with 16 ounces each of penne rigate, orecchiette, and gemelli, so you can experiment with different shapes and sauces as you perfect your at-home dinner repertoire.
A Flavored Pasta For Quick and Elegant Meals
These pastas from Pasta Deliziosa are infused with herbs and vegetables like garlic, basil, and spinach, so they pack plenty of flavor in each bite. They’re naturally air-dried and are plant-based, so it’s also a great choice for vegans. The flavored fettuccine and linguines cook up in about 5 minutes. Use it to make a simple dinner with some veggies and a drizzle of good olive oil.
The Gluten-Free Pasta Everyone Loves
Whether you’re unable to eat wheat or are simply searching for something with higher protein, Banza’s chickpea pasta is a favorite among gluten-free enthusiasts. Unlike other pasta alternatives, Banza is the closest when it comes to texture and mouthfeel without an overwhelming chickpea aftertaste. It also has more protein and fiber per serving than traditional pasta, as well as a low glycemic index. This variety pack comes with penne, rotini, and shells, all of which have ridges or a wide surface area to hold plenty of sauce.
The Tried and True Rigatoni
Rigatoni is like penne, but better (in my opinion). The diameter of a rigatoni’s tube is actually wide enough to hold heartier sauces (like a classic Sunday gravy recipe) and it’s surprisingly forgiving when it comes to cooking the pasta to a perfect al dente. Barilla’s rigatoni is made with semolina and durum flour which offers solid flavor and texture. This 12-pack is cost-effective for feeding a crowd, but it’s also great to stock up for days when all you have are the fixings for vodka sauce.
The Traditional Pasta That’ll Hold Every Ounce of Sauce
Katherine Lewin, our Deputy Editor, raved about this luxury dried pasta back in March, saying that not only does the bright yellow bag spark joy, but offers superior taste and texture to your standard grocery store pasta. The quality of Martelli’s pasta comes from its production process — the pasta is made with durum wheat semolina and cold Tuscan water, and is pushed through bronze dies for a coarser texture that’ll cling right to your favorite sauce. This variety pack allows you to taste Martelli’s fusilli, maccheroni, and spaghettini shapes for a mix of long and short cut pasta.
A Pasta That’ll Impress Your Guests
This Strozzapreti pasta from Dal Raccolto is a less common pasta cut that has such a great toothy texture that your guests might even think it’s homemade. Made with only durum wheat semolina and water, it’s slowly air dried to achieve its ideal al dente texture. Use it with a classic red sauce or make a bright summery pasta with fresh veggies.
A Rich, Nutty Egg Tagliolini Pasta
If tagliatelle and capellini pasta had a baby, the end result would be tagliolini, a long ribbon-like pasta that looks delicate, but is still sturdy enough for heavier sauces. Morelli’s version has an almost sweet richness, and is made from durum wheat semolina, eggs, and wheat germ for a subtle nutty flavor. This pasta is also great for impatient cooks, as its thin shape can be cooked to al dente in less than 5 minutes.
The Cult Favorite Bucatini
People really, really, really love bucatini. Folks are so passionate about this pasta shape (which is like spaghetti, but with a hole throughout the length of pasta) that it spawned this incredible piece of journalism by Grub Street’s Rachel Handler. If you’re still unable to find it on store shelves, Garofalo’s No. 14 Bucatini offers the shape’s sauce-slurping properties and is made with Italian semolina flour. Reviewers say that Garofalo’s bucatini more than lives up to the hype, and is easy to cook to a perfect al dente without a ton of fuss.
Another Great Bucatini Pasta
If you want a more luxurious long noodle, or the Garofalo one is sold out, this 2-pack of bucatini has a rough texture that will grab onto bits of sauce both on the interior and exterior surface of the pasta. Reviewers say though Rustichella’s bucatini is on the pricey side, it’s worth it for this pasta’s taste and texture.
A Keto-Friendly Option
For those looking to enjoy pasta but want to limit their carb intake, Great Low Carb Bread Co.’s pasta is made with pea protein isolate and has 7g net carbs, 12g of protein per serving. There’s also a ton of fiber in each serving, and reviewers say that it tastes and feels similar to traditional pasta. With this assortment pack, you can enjoy your favorite cravings (hello, mac and cheese!) but can still adhere to keto or any other dietary restrictions.
A Pasta That’ll Look Great In Photos
This stunning Tagliatelle from CampOro is sure to impress house guests or look great on social media. The pasta gets its signature black color (and a dose of umami flavor) from black squid ink, and is air dried for up to 72 hours for the ideal slightly chewy pasta texture. The squid flavor is subtle in this pasta, so you can punch up the fishiness with sauces and toppings, or you can keep it simple and fresh to appease more squeamish eaters.