I think this is a regional difference. In Portugal I would talk about "massa" as both what we call pasta in English and what we call dough or any sort of amorphous thing (like wet cement). I have not heard "macarrão" as pasta but I would not be surprised if that is a Brazilian term from Italian immigrants bringing over macaroni. Sidebar: One of the things that I have learned is that English is really strange. Yes there is variance but especially in the US regional dialects are more quaint than problematic. Even after several years I still have some problems understanding some of the Brazilian and European accents.