Last modified: 7:58 AM Saturday, 14 January 2017

What low-carb diet?

If you truly esteem pasta, as I do, this chart is for you. There are a few ambiguously named shapes in here, for the good reason that not everyone calls the same shape by the same name, but for the most part it is quite accurate. Since different shapes are used for different purposes, however, you may want to follow up with a bit of further study before inventing any new recipes; chunky sauces, as a rule, go best with larger (often tubular) noodles, smooth ones with smaller and thinner ones, while the smallest shapes are almost always best used in limited quantities in soups — but there are many wrinkles and refinements that modify this rule of thumb, and you may find it rewarding to learn of them.

Pasta: popular shapes

Pasta: popular shapes and what they’re suited for. (To view this chart at full size, click here. Note that you may need to zoom in to see the names of all of the shapes.)
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Meanwhile, according to Hawaiian nutrition expert Terry Shintani, you can eat your pasta without guilt. This is because it’s what Shintani calls a “good carbohydrate”: Its structure is such that it digests slowly, presents a low glycemic index, and therefore doesn’t trigger the insulin reaction you can get from bad carbs such as white bread, white rice and other highly refined foods. If you want to learn more, have a look at his 2003 blockbuster The Good Carbohydrate Revolution. I've applied its principles to feeding my family, and we have all found ourselves healthier and more energetic in consequence.

Originally published as a review of an chart of popular pasta shapes.

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