Macaroni is dry pasta shaped like narrow tubes. Made with durum wheat, macaroni is commonly cut in short lengths; curved macaroni may be referred to as elbow macaroni. Some home machines can make macaroni shapes, but like most pasta, macaroni is usually made commercially by large-scale extrusion. The curved shape is created by different speeds of extrusion on opposite sides of the pasta tube as it comes out of the machine.
In North America, the word “macaroni” is often used synonymously with elbow-shaped macaroni, as it is the variety most often used in macaroni and cheese recipes. In Italy, the noun maccheroni refers to straight, tubular, square-ended pasta corta (“short-length pasta”). Maccheroni may also refer to long pasta dishes such as maccheroni alla chitarra and frittata di maccheroni, which are prepared with long pasta like spaghetti.