It’s time to stop grouping pasta shape and form under one food umbrella. Not only for the sake of matching food visuals well enough to impress Italians, it’s about time we learnt the benefits of various forms of pasta. It’s only right that we give credit to the Italians for leading us to the point where we get to have Mac n’ cheese week.
Let’s all relish in the fact that we will always be just a little bit fat, but it’s okay because pasta is our friend. This is how to pasta, complete with tips straight from Italy.
Those twisty little things, fairly commonplace, pretty much a staple of student living. Fusilli took its name from the way it used to be spun into shape.
Eat with tuna, tomato sauce and olives or ricotta and walnuts.
Do not allow fusilli to follow a soup course. The Italians told us so.
Another ‘boring’ staple (the exciting stuff is coming later). It’s important to get the basics in pasta matching right before the adventure really begins though. That way, we can do adulting a little better and side-step the classic midnight pasta + oil, salt and pepper feast.
Pair your penne with tomato sauce, prawns and zucchini, or peppercorn sauce. Avoid smooth (without ridges) penne shapes at all costs.
Now we’re getting to the good stuff. If we’re getting technical about it, rigatoni is practical for our food-loving bellies as its tubular shape allows sauce to flow directly through. No shade to penne, but rigatoni just does it better.
Ragù and rigatoni are a great choice. Also serves well in carbonara.
Not suitable for meals with fish.
Doesn’t farfalle remind anyone else of school dinners? Such nostalgia for the cute little bows, usually eaten plain and flavourless, with love from the canteen. It brings a tear.
You’re no longer a child, so serve farfalle with tasty stuff like salmon, shrimp, squid and cherry tomatoes, or cream and ham.
WARNING: FARFALLE IS NOT A SAUCE PASTA
Don’t know trofie? The time is now carb-lover. They take their name for the Genoese-Italian word meaning ‘to rub’ (strufuggiâ), due to the technique used to give them their ratchet form.
Trofie is pestos long-term lover and that’s all you need to know.
Three spaghetti facts:
- They inspired the creation of an actual religion named Pastafarians religion who look up to the deity called ‘Flying Spaghetti Monster’
- Spaghetti gave its name to the cinematic genre titled ‘Spaghetti Western’: films shot in Italy on a limited budget during the 1970s.
- Italians have a variety of spaghetti types, suited to different recipes. They follow the naming convention spaghetti n° 2, 7, 12 etc.
Traditionally served in a carbonara. Alternatives include the recipe ‘cacio e pepe’ and it’s a pretty good place to test-drive black squid ink.
There’s something sexy about linguine. If spaghetti is a Disney romance, linguine is like the James Dean film that changes your life forever. Obviously add mussels, fry with cherry tomatoes and drink a lot of wine.
Fish (and particularly shellfish) is the answer to all of your linguine questions. Meat is not.
Orecchiette looks freaky and we love it. The name means ‘little ears’ and they’re well known in Puglia, in the south of Italy. The well-like shape acts as a basin for sauce, making every bite as well flavoured as the first. Should (apparently) be eaten with a spoon.
Meat sauces are generally favoured by orecchiette. Cream, sausage, arugula and parmesan are all good (obviously). Fish too. So basically, eat with anything and everything.
The original name for gnocchi is ‘knuckle’ because you use your knuckles when moulding. Supposedly, in Italy, ‘gnocchi Thursdays’ is a thing, and that’s the day you cook them or order them home. Sounds good to us!
Coat in a simple tomato sauce and add smoked cheese. Or use cheese sauce… and again, add smoked cheese. Gnocchi doesn’t compliment the delicacy of fish. Just, whatever you do always add cheese.