Some pasta shapes and uses include acini di pepe's small peppercorn-shaped pasta pieces for soups and salads, alphabet shapes for soups and cylindrical manicotti shells. The latter are the right size to be stuffed with a variety vegetables, meats or cheeses and smothered in sauce.
As a small pasta, acini di pepe adds substance to soups. They can also be used in sweet salads such as frog-eye salad, a dish that combines pasta with whipping cream, thickened fruit juice and fruit for a surprisingly delicious concoction. Angel hair, thin spaghetti and spaghetti pasta are long noodles in varying diameters, with spaghetti being the thickest and angel hair the thinnest. These pastas are often used in simple dishes topped with tomato-based meat sauces or in stir-fries.
Ravioli pasta generally are circular or square noodles filled with some sort of meat or cheese mixture. It is often served with a red or butter sauce. Wide, flat lasagne or lasagna noodles are used to make a pasta casserole that usually contains layers of noodles, meat and cheese. Penne pasta that comes in small cylindrical quill shapes is often used in pasta salads or baked casseroles, such as baked ziti. Baked ziti calls for penne pasta combined with tomato sauce, ground meat and cheese.