Pasta is any Italian style of noodle, including spaghetti, ziti, and macaroni. Your favorite type of pasta might be fettuccine, especially when it's served in a creamy Alfredo sauce.
Pasta refers to the noodle, or to the dish that contains it, like vegetable lasagne or spaghetti carbonara. Most pasta is made from semolina flour and water, and often eggs. The stiff dough is rolled very thin and then cut into shapes or long ribbons. It can be cooked from this soft, fresh state, or (more commonly) dried, packaged, and sold. Pasta is an Italian word (surprise, surprise), from Late Latin, which means "dough or paste."