Pasta. If you know a better comfort food, speak now.
Pasta is simple, and more importantly, fun. It comes in an incredible number of shapes—some say hundreds—but basically all you need to do is to get the long and the short of it: literally. Every home chef will always want to have a few 'long' pastas on the shelf. Think of long pastas as being the classics: these include spaghetti, linguine, and tagliatelle. You will also need some 'short' pasta, which will probably include penne, farfalle, macaroni, and rigatoni. That's a great list to start. If you want to be more adventurous with your cooking, there are the 'stuffed pastas'.
Here we are talking about cannelloni, or ravioli, pastas that you literally complete by including a homemade filling of some sort. These are a few of the many types of pasta noodles available, but they represent the vast majority of pastas you would need to make a great range of classic Italian dishes. For casserole-style creations, grab some lasagna noodles—you can even consider the newer 'no-boil' variety for a quick-fix supper. Have the right noodle, and your pasta will taste better than ever.