Have you ever wondered why there is a huge variety of pasta types available at the grocery store? With options like spaghetti, penne, farfalle, shells, angel hair, macaroni, etc., it's a struggle to pick a type of pasta if you're like me and love them all.

All of these different pasta types were created because certain types of pastas go well with certain sauces. In addition, the shape of the pasta determines how long it takes to cook. So, next time you buy pasta and/or sauce, take these tips into consideration.

Angel Hair (fastest-cooking pasta): 5 minutes

Cooking, skillet, pasta, lemon, garlic, parsley, cheese
Josi Miller

Angel hair pasta is pretty delicate, since the strands are so thin. It pairs best with thinner sauces, like a light tomato sauce or simple broth.

Farfalle (Bowties): 10-12 Minutes

Farfalle pasta takes longer to cook because of the way the pasta is pinched together. This pasta has a large surface area and is thick enough to hold rich tomato or cream sauces.

Penne: 12-14 Minutes

tomato, sauce, spaghetti, vegetable, penne, pasta
Caroline Ingalls

Penne goes well with pretty much any sauce, but it works exceptionally well with chunky sauces. When possible, buy the penne pasta with the small ridges (penne rigate), since the ridges are ideal for locking in flavor.

Rotini: 8-10 Minutes

pasta, spaghetti, sauce, macaroni
Marina Wollmann

The twisted shape of rotini allows it to hold onto sauces incredibly well, compared to most other pasta shapes. Rotini pairs best with thick, smooth sauces. However, it also goes well in salad dishes, casseroles, and stir-frys.

Spaghetti: 8-10 Minutes

pasta, vegetable, spaghetti
Alex Frank

Spaghetti is probably the most popular pasta in America, and it goes perfectly with any sauce, but especially oil- or cream-based sauces. This is a pasta you can experiment with, since it absorbs the flavor of any sauce very well.

Elbow Macaroni: 8-10 Minutes

pasta, sauce, cheese, macaroni, Mac And Cheese, Macaroni and cheese, spoonful
Julia Gilman

Though typically used to make macaroni and cheese, this pasta has a highly versatile shape that can be used with any sauce, baked, or put in soups, salads, and stir-fry dishes. It works well with thicker sauces.

Conchiglie (Shells): 9-15 Minutes, Depending on Size

Shell pasta comes in small, medium, or large sizes. The larger the size, the longer the pasta takes to cook. Smaller shells are a good alternative pasta to make macaroni and cheese with, while larger shells are best when stuffed. Either way, shells are great for holding flavors and seasonings.

Of course, these cooking times are just suggestions, and it is better to taste as you cook rather than strictly follow cooking times. Regardless, it's time to explore different types of pasta, because what college student hasn't had enough of plain old spaghetti?