Giada De Laurentiis' Favorite Pasta Shape For Italian-Style Mac & Cheese

Macaroni and cheese is a comforting childhood meal that should be celebrated. Its simplicity is part of its beauty. Few can resist that elbow-shaped pasta bathing in a creamy cheese sauce, including celebrity chef Giada De Laurentiis. But when De Laurentiis whips up her Italian-style version of this dish, she doesn't always reach for the classic shaped pasta we associate with mac and cheese. No, De Laurentiis revealed on her Giadzy channel on YouTube that when she makes her creamy baked parmesan recipe for mac and cheese, she likes to use small pasta shapes. In particular, her favorite shaped pasta to use are little shells called gnocchetti.

Gnocchetti pasta is small and has little ridges. This shape originated in Sardinia and resembles another pasta shape made from the potato: gnocchi. However, while they may share the same shape, don't expect the same gnocchi taste and texture because the gnocchetti is made with semolina flour. The cookbook author laments that this shaped pasta is "perfect for capturing tons of sauce," which means you get maximum flavor with each velvety smooth bite of this Italian mac and cheese. 

Pick pasta shapes wisely

Choosing the right shaped pasta for mac and cheese is mission critical. When it comes to making this favorite meal, you need to a pasta shape that the sauce will not only cling to but has a textured surface for the cheese sauce to fill and delight your mouth with each ooey, gooey, dripping bite. De Laurentiis may also love the gnocchetti pasta shape because of the manner in which the shells sides fold over. They give this pasta the appearance of a taco shell and can hold a great deal of that lovely cheesy sauce.

 Of course, everyone has their favorite pasta shape and if gnocchetti is not yours, there are other shapes that will work equally well. In fact, there are over 350 different pasta shapes. Just stay away from long, smooth, thin pasta like spaghetti or angel hair. These are not hearty enough for a cheese sauce. However, pasta shapes like fusilli and radiatore are just what the cheese doctors ordered. These short pasta with their curves and ridges will help ensure every mouthful of your mac and cheese is as cheesy as can be.