- Pasta secca describes the pasta made from durum semolina and water, which is sold dried and rarely made at home.
- Pasta Fresca means the fresh Home-made pasta, with dough consisting of wheat flour and eggs. Most dried pasta is commercially produced via an extrusion process.
- Fresh pasta was traditionally produced by hand, sometimes with the aid of simple machines but today many varieties of fresh pasta are also commercially produced by large-scale machines. Nothing is lighter than home-made fresh pasta!
As a category in Italian cuisine, both dried and fresh pastas are classically used in one of three kinds of prepared dishes.
- As pasta asciutta (or pastasciutta) cooked pasta is plated and served with a complementary sauce or condiment.
- A second classification of pasta dishes is pasta in brodo in which the pasta is part of a soup-type dish.
- A third category is pasta al forno in which the pasta incorporated into a dish that is subsequently baked