In the complicated hierarchy of Italian ribbon-pasta nomenclature, almost infinitesimal differences in width result in a different pasta. Names can also differ from one part of Italy to the other (for example, 1/4-inch-wide ribbons are called fettuccine in most regions, except in parts of the north where they are called tagliatelle), or from manufacturer to manufacturer. If a recipe calls for a particular ribbon and you canít find it in the store, be assured that you will come across another that is very similar to the one you need and that will work just as well. The best dried pasta is made from semolina flour or durum flour, both ground from hard durum wheat. Unlike fresh ribbon pasta, dried ribbon pasta may take the form of long, narrow rods (spaghetti and vermicelli), twisted strands (fusilli), or ruffled ribbons (mafalde).
Ribbon pastas also appear throughout Asia. While dried Italian pasta is made with flour, water, and sometimes egg, Asian noodles use wheat, buckwheat, and rice flours, or vegetable starches made from beans or potatoes. Some incorporate egg, while others donít. Packaged Asian pastas are available at Asian markets and some supermarkets.
Use a large bowl to allow plenty of room for tossing. Warm the bowl first to keep the pasta hot. Add about half of the sauce; toss to coat the strands, then add the remaining sauce and toss again.