Pasta (Italian pasta, from Latin pasta dough, pastry cake, from Greek παστά (pasta) barley porridge) is a generic term for variants of noodles, food made from a dough of flour, water and/or eggs. The word can also denote dishes in which pasta products are the primary ingredient, served with sauce or seasonings.
There are approximately 3500 different shapes of pasta. Examples include spaghetti (thin rods), macaroni (tubes or cylinders), fusilli (swirls), and lasagne (sheets). Two other noodles, gnocchi and spätzle, are sometimes considered pasta. They are both traditional in parts of Italy. Pasta is categorized in two basic styles: dried and fresh. Dried pasta made without eggs can be stored for up to two years under ideal conditions, while fresh pasta will keep for a couple of days in the refrigerator. In preparation for consumption, pasta is generally boiled.