I've noticed that even when I buy two different pasta shapes of the same brand (and so presumably the exact same recipe), they still taste subtly different, to the point that I consistently prefer the tastes of certain shapes of pasta. Is there any basis for this, or am I experiencing some form of synesthesia?

4 Answers 4


It will be slight variations in the recepies, slight variations in how you cookied it or it will be your mind playing tricks. Shape will not affect the taste of pasta. One shape however may be thicker than others, and if not cooked taking that into account, you may have a different taste, but cooked to the same level, no difference.

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    That's an excellent theory. Pasta is/are just three ingredients: flour, egg and salt. Go figure. However, I hate macaroni and that's just one shape, while I do like all other kinds of pasta. Oh, well. Commented Jan 17, 2011 at 23:27
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    @GUI Junkie: Most dried pasta is just flour, egg-based pasta is less common, unless fresh.
    – Orbling
    Commented Jan 18, 2011 at 0:18
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    Even if you cook them to the same level, I realize that in a thin pasta will be evenly cooked throughout, while a thick pasta will be more cooked on the surface and less in the interior. Maybe this has an effect. Commented Jan 18, 2011 at 17:28
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    Right you are @Orbling, but one has to maintain some illusions. Commented Jan 19, 2011 at 11:48

Different forms of pasta are going to have different surface-to-mass ratios, which will affect how the pasta cooks; the cross-section may affect how much starch gets rubbed off as the pasta boils. (I can only assume that more's going to stay in a spiral or a tube than will on something that can rub up against other pasta)

But I'm going to assume that you're not eating the pasta plain ... and the different shapes will hold sauce differently, and that can be quite significant.

The other thing that Tom Gullen mentioned is variation in cooking -- I personally avoid capellini (aka angel hair), because I've had it overcooked so many times ... overcooked pasta is disgusting, in my opinion.

  • The surface area is the key. I often prefer penne to smooth noodles for optimal sauce adhesion. Farfalle is problematic to cook evenly, but also better in this regard.
    – zanlok
    Commented Jan 19, 2011 at 21:37
  • @zanlok : not all penne is rough; it depends on what material the dies are made from. (harder materials last longer, but makes for smoother pasta). There's also specifically penne rigate which has ridges cut into it.
    – Joe
    Commented Jan 19, 2011 at 21:56
  • point taken. I've always ended up with rigate, apparently. I thought smooth was called something else like ziti, though that's a squared edge. Checking up now, wikipedia says it's penne lisce or mostaccioli when it's smooth.
    – zanlok
    Commented Jan 19, 2011 at 22:51
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    I suspect it's largely a difference in how the sauce holds to the pasta. There's a reason certain shapes are traditional for certain types of sauce...
    – DrRandy
    Commented Jun 29, 2014 at 19:40
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    @DrRandy : thickness matters, too ... if you ever get a chance, try pici ... it takes much longer to cook than most other pastas because it's so thick, and has a significantly different character than other pastaas.
    – Joe
    Commented Jun 30, 2014 at 15:14

Taste is a factor of not only teste buds on tongue and roof of mouth but also of sight, smell, and Texture or feel which is influened directly by shape.

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    This answer got flagged twice as "not an answer". I actually see it as an answer, but it is so short, it seems others have not recognized it as such, and so it doesn't have much value for the readers. Maybe you could elaborate?
    – rumtscho
    Commented Oct 20, 2015 at 8:43
  • We prefer to say "aroma" not "smell" though :) Commented Dec 12, 2017 at 20:43

Pasta tastes the same and is the same no matter what shape it is. As someone stated above it can depend on how thick the pasta is and how long you cook it.

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