Conchiglie pasta received its name because it looks like small conch shells, and the curvy pasta does well at holding sauces because of the large surface area that is the result of this shape. It comes in various sizes, known as conchigliette or conchiglioni, that can be used for different types of pasta recipes. The best conchiglie pasta for you will be made out of quality ingredients and will work in the type of recipe you are using. There also is pasta that is made out of different types of ingredients if you have dietary restrictions or want to add creativity to a recipe.
The best conchiglie pasta will be the right size for the recipe that you are creating. Regular conchiglie pasta is made into medium-sized shells, but there also is a small variety known as conchigliette and a larger size known as conchiglioni. Conchigliette is often added to soups such as minestrone, in which larger shells would be too big to eat in one bite. Conchiglioni is often used for stuffing ingredients, such as cheese and meats, into it before it is baked in an oven. Choose the size of conchiglie pasta that works best with the meal that you are making.
Look for pasta that is made from quality ingredients, such as semolina flour, eggs, salt and water. Try to avoid pasta that is filled with preservatives and chemicals if at all possible, because these ingredients do not add to the overall flavor of the pasta. Conchiglie pasta is available in fresh and dried varieties at certain markets, but fresh varieties will not last as long as the dried kind. If you are planning on using the pasta shortly after purchasing it, fresh conchiglie pasta often tastes better, but it might be more costly. Dried pasta has more of a bite to it, so if you prefer your pasta al dente, you might want to choose the dried kind.
If you have problems eating wheat, there are varieties of fresh and dried pasta made from flours that do not contain gluten. Look for conchiglie pasta that is made from rice or grains other than wheat. Some pastas have different ingredients added to them for flavor and color, such as spinach or beets, if you are looking for a visually appealing presentation. These ingredients change the flavor of the pasta slightly, but they add color that works well if you are not using a lot of sauce.