The English word pasta generally refers to noodles and other food products made from a flour and water paste, often including also egg and salt. Less frequently, the term macaroni is used for the same products.
Pasta can also denote dishes in which pasta products are the primary ingredient, served with sauce or seasonings. The word comes from Italian pasta which means basically "paste", and by extension "dough", "pasta", or "pastry" as in "small cake". As recently as 1918 the English word "paste" was used instead of or alongside the Italian pasta
Today the word "pasta" is reserved for Italian-style noodles in English-speaking countries, while the word "noodle" has a more general meaning.
Dried Italian-style pasta is made from durum wheat flour, which gives it a light yellow color. Asian-stype noodles as well as most fresh noodles are made from regular (non-durum) wheat flour. Some pasta varieties, such as Pizzoccheri, are made from buckwheat flour.
Gnocchi are often listed among pasta dishes, although they are quite different in ingredients (mainly mashed potatoes) and mode of preparation