Best Substitutes for Campanella Pasta: Expert Recommendations

Campanelle pasta, with its unique bell-like shape and elegant, ruffled edges, is a staple of Italian cuisine. But what if you’re planning to cook a delicious Italian dish and can’t find campanelle at your local grocery store? No need to worry, as there are a variety of pasta types that can serve as excellent substitutes.

Understanding the characteristics of campanelle pasta is key to identifying the perfect alternative. Its graceful curves and distinctive texture allow it to hold sauces well and provide a delightful bite. The good news is that there are several other pasta shapes with similar attributes that can come to the rescue in your culinary adventure.

When exploring substitutes for campanelle pasta, it is essential to consider factors such as flavor profile, texture, and cooking time. While no substitute will be an exact match, some options come close enough to deliver a satisfying meal that still channels the spirit of Italian cuisine. Armed with the right knowledge, you can confidently choose and prepare the best alternative.

Key Takeaways

  • Understand campanelle pasta’s characteristics for an ideal substitute
  • Choose from various pasta shapes with similar attributes to campanelle
  • Consider factors such as flavor, texture, and cooking time when substituting

What is Campanelle Pasta?

Campanelle pasta is an Italian pasta with a unique and distinctive shape. It has ruffled edges and a hollow center, resembling a small bell or a flower. This shape allows it to effectively hold and retain sauces, enhancing the taste and overall dining experience.

When you choose campanelle for your dish, you can expect its one-of-a-kind form to be a conversation starter at the dining table. Since campanelle pasta has a hollow center, it’s ideal for capturing thick and chunky sauces. The ruffled edges further add to the pasta’s ability to hold onto robust flavors, making it an excellent choice for rich meat or vegetable-based dishes.

In terms of taste, campanelle is no different from other Italian pasta varieties made from the same ingredients – typically wheat flour and water. What sets it apart is the way its shape creates a delightful interplay between pasta and sauce, creating a cohesive and delicious meal.

As for availability, you can find campanelle pasta in many grocery stores and specialty pasta shops. The cost might be slightly higher than other, more common pasta varieties due to its unique shape and lesser-known status. However, investing in campanelle will provide you with a fresh take on your favorite Italian dishes.

In conclusion, campanelle is a versatile pasta that offers a distinctive combination of shape, sauce retention, and excellent taste. Enjoy experimenting with this remarkable pasta and discover new ways to enhance your Italian cuisine repertoire.

Common Substitutes for Campanelle Pasta

When you’re in need of a substitute for campanelle pasta, you have a variety of options to choose from. Use the following pasta shapes as replacements, considering their similarities in size, texture, and structure.

Fusilli is a wise choice due to its spiral shape, which can hold sauces well. Replace campanelle with fusilli and enjoy a similar dining experience.

Penne is another viable substitute. Although it has a tube-like structure, it can still catch sauces and provide a comparable texture to campanelle.

Rigatoni is larger than campanelle but works as a suitable alternative due to its cylindrical shape and ridges that hold on to sauces nicely.

Cavatappi, corkscrew-shaped pasta, can effectively replace campanelle. Both their curly shapes capture sauces similarly.

Conchiglie or shell pasta, can also substitute for campanelle. Their concave, shell-like features are good at capturing sauces, much like the bell-shaped campanelle.

Farfalle, commonly known as bow-tie pasta, can be used in place of campanelle. The pinched center allows for sauce retention, although its shape is quite different.

Orecchiette, with its ear-like shape, can closely mimic campanelle’s sauce-holding abilities.

Ziti, rotelle, riccioli, gigli, cavatelli, tortiglioni, and manicotti are additional pasta shapes that could substitute for campanelle. Although they may not provide the exact same texture and sauce retention, they can offer a pleasant alternative when your recipe calls for campanelle.

Remember, when substituting pasta types, consider the sauce, cooking method, and desired texture of your dish. Some pasta shapes may work better with certain sauces or preparations, so choose wisely based on your specific recipe.

Choosing the Perfect Substitute

Based on Sauce Type

When selecting a substitute for campanelle pasta, it’s important to consider the type of sauce you’re using. For creamy sauces like alfredo or carbonara, opt for pastas with similar shapes like fusilli or farfalle. These pastas have nooks and grooves that will help hold the sauce.

For tomato-based sauces, you may want to choose penne or rigatoni. Both of these pastas have ridges and a tubular shape, which will allow the sauce to cling to the pasta. If you’re making a dish with meaty sauces like bolognese, go for pastas like tagliatelle or pappardelle, as these broad and flat noodles can support the weight of the sauce.

Based on Dish Type

The type of dish you’re making also plays a role in choosing the right substitute. If you’re making a pasta salad, rotini, farfalle, or even orzo are good choices. Their small size and unique shapes can add interest to the salad without overpowering the other ingredients.

For baked recipes like lasagna or ziti, look for pastas with similar sizes and shapes, such as cannelloni, manicotti, or even large shells. These can help maintain the structure and texture of the dish.

When it comes to macaroni and cheese or spinach and ricotta cannelloni, try substituting with elbow macaroni, small shells, or even cavatappi, as these can all provide a similar texture and cooking time.

Based on Cost

Finally, consider the cost of the pasta substitute. If you’re seeking a more budget-friendly option, look for pastas that are commonly found in most grocery stores, like spaghetti, macaroni, or rotini. Keep in mind that specialty pastas or imported brands may carry a higher price tag.

Cooking Tips for Pasta Substitutes

Boiling Tips

When boiling water for pasta, make sure to fill a large pot with plenty of water. This allows the pasta to cook evenly and prevents sticking. It’s also essential to add salt to the water, as this helps to season the pasta and enhance its flavor. Typically, 1-2 tablespoons of salt per gallon of water should suffice.

Once the water comes to a rolling boil, add your pasta substitute. Stir it gently to ensure it is evenly distributed in the pot. Monitor the cook time, as this can vary depending on the substitute pasta you’re using. Always aim for an al dente texture, which means the pasta should be tender but still have a slight bite to it. You can occasionally taste the pasta to check for doneness.

Serving Suggestions

When serving your pasta substitute, it’s essential to pair it with the right sauce and other elements to create a delicious and balanced dish. Here are some serving suggestions for your pasta alternatives:

  • Wider and flatter pasta shapes (e.g., pappardelle or fettuccine) work well with rich and creamy sauces, as they help to hold and distribute the sauce evenly.
  • Long and thin pasta shapes (e.g., spaghetti or capellini) are great with lighter sauces, like simple tomato-based or olive oil-based sauces.
  • Short and textured pasta shapes (e.g., rotini or fusilli) are perfect for chunky sauces, like meat or vegetable-based sauces.

Remember to always taste and adjust the seasoning of the dish, if necessary. A simple drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan cheese, or a handful of fresh herbs like basil or parsley can elevate your pasta substitute to a whole new level.

Homemade Campanelle Pasta

Making your own campanelle pasta can be a fun and satisfying alternative to store-bought options. With just a few simple ingredients like all-purpose flour and eggs, you can create fresh, delicious pasta in your own kitchen.

To start, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs

First, place the all-purpose flour on a clean countertop or large cutting board. Create a well in the center of the flour and crack your eggs inside. Using a fork, gently whisk the eggs, gradually incorporating the surrounding flour. Once the mixture begins to thicken, use your hands to gently knead the dough, adding more flour if necessary to prevent sticking.

After kneading for about 10 minutes, the dough should be smooth and elastic. Wrap your dough in plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes. This allows the gluten to relax, making it easier to roll out.

Once the dough has rested, divide it into four equal portions. Roll each portion out into a thin sheet, either by hand or using a pasta machine. Aim for a thickness of about 1/16-inch, or as thin as you can manage without tearing.

To cut your dough into campanelle shapes, use a fluted pasta cutter or sharp knife to create small rectangles. Roll each rectangle around the tip of your finger or a small dowel to create the iconic bell shape.

Lastly, let your homemade campanelle pasta dry on a floured surface or pasta drying rack for about 30 minutes to an hour. When you’re ready to cook, simply boil the pasta in salted water until it reaches your desired level of doneness, usually around 2-4 minutes for fresh pasta.

With your homemade campanelle pasta, you can create various pasta dishes that showcase the flavor and texture that only freshly made pasta can provide. Enjoy the satisfaction of creating delicious homemade campanelle pasta tailored to your specific taste preferences.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some similar pasta shapes to Campanelle?

When seeking similar pasta shapes to Campanelle, you should consider pasta types like Gigli, Fusilli, Casarecce, and Gemelli. Like Campanelle, these shapes can effectively hold sauces and pair nicely with various ingredients.

Which pasta can replace Gigli in a recipe?

If you can’t find Gigli pasta, you can use Campanelle or Fusilli as a suitable substitute. Both of these pasta shapes have a similar spiral structure, enabling them to hold sauces well and maintain a pleasing texture in your dishes.

Can Fusilli be used as a substitute for Campanelle?

Yes, Fusilli can be used as a substitute for Campanelle. Their corkscrew-like shapes are quite similar, although Campanelle has a more fluted edge. Both work great in various dishes, particularly with hearty and chunky sauces, as they can trap and hold the sauce effectively.

Is Bucatini a suitable alternative for Campanelle pasta?

While Bucatini can be used in place of Campanelle, it’s worth noting that they have different shapes. Bucatini is a long, hollow, and thin pasta variety, whereas Campanelle has a distinctive, bell-like shape. If a dish calls for Campanelle specifically, it’s best to use a pasta shape with a closer resemblance, such as Fusilli or Casarecce.

What are the best alternatives to Casarecce pasta?

In a recipe that calls for Casarecce, you can use Campanelle, Fusilli, or Gemelli as alternatives. These pasta shapes share similar twisting or coiling designs that allow for excellent sauce retention, and they work equally well with various types of sauces and ingredients.

Can Gemelli pasta be used as a Campanelle substitute?

Yes, you can successfully use Gemelli pasta as a substitute for Campanelle. The two shapes slightly differ in structure, with Gemelli featuring a twisted, double-helix design and Campanelle embodying more of a fluted cone shape. However, their ability to hold sauces and blend with a range of ingredients makes them interchangeable in most recipes.

Best Substitutes for Campanella Pasta + Recipe

Here's a recipe for Campanella Pasta with Tomato and Basil:
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4
Calories 235 kcal


  • 1 pound Campanella pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 can 28 ounces crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • Grated Parmesan cheese for serving


  • Cook the Campanella pasta according to package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  • In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.
  • Add the crushed tomatoes, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes to the skillet. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer.
  • Reduce the heat to low and let the sauce simmer for 10-15 minutes, until slightly thickened.
  • Add the cooked Campanella pasta to the skillet with the tomato sauce and toss to coat.
  • Stir in the chopped basil.
  • Serve hot with grated Parmesan cheese on top.


Calories: 235kcal
Keyword campanella pasta
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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
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