Pieces of Pasta

Unique shapes, lengths, textures, colors…add to this a list of an ever-changing offering of flavors & ingredients & the result is a cookbook full of Italian themed lunches, dinners, picnics, family outings.  Spagetti seems to be the most-often served pasta, followed closely by linguine, fettucine, penne, lasagna, in no particular order.

Pasta has become a staple in our daily diet, usually because of the low fat content, as well as being an excellent source of complex carbohydrates.  It’s a product that’s become an important part of the effort to offer not only good food, but also colorful & flavorful combinations of basic ingredients & spices & sauces.  According to “The American Pasta Report,” a survey commissioned in the US in 2000, pasta consumption is still increasing as more & more people come to appreciate its unique combination of superb taste, versatility, nutritional value, & convenience.*

There are several countries supposedly responsible for its beginnings, but it’s a commodity tat’s most often identified as being primarily Italian.  There is no doubt that traveling in Italy, seeking out local restaurants serving local food, results in making choices beyond the basic shapes mentioned above.  Freshly made pastas, freshly made sauces, locally grown herbs & spices…delicioso!

Pasta shapes are usually tubular, long, special, ribbons, irregular, stuffed.  Happily we are able to offer more than 70 different kinds of pasta on our website (www.formatobrothers.com), some tri-colored, some squid flavored, some organic, some made with eggs, as well as traditional types.  The quality of these products is reminiscent of the old world tradition of being hand-made.

Here’s a short guide to several shapes you might want to try.

Bucatini – Hollow, tube shpae, looks like fat spaghetti; from Lazio, Naples area, Liguria
Calamarata – Wide ring shaped
Capellini – A long hair pasta that’s similar to Angel Hair pasta, only  little thicker
Cavatappi – “Corkscrew,” short, twisted sprial-shaped pasta; from northern & central Italy
Ciavatonni – Large-ribbed tube shape
Conchigliore – Large ridged shells; from Compania
Fine Egg Noodles – Very thin strands
Medium Egg Noodles – Narrow flat noodles
Wide Egg Noodles – Slightly curly noodles
Eliconi – A large swirly shape
Farfalle – Butterfly or bow tie shape; from northern Italy, between Emilia & Liguria
Fetuccini – Ribbon shape; from Lazio, central & southern Italy
Fusilli – Tightly twisted spiral shape; from Compania
Gemelli – “Twins,” single s-shaped strand of pasta, twisted, loose spiral
Gigli – Fluted edge, rolled into a cone shaped flower, a lily; from Florence
Gnocchi – Little knotsw, usually made with flour & potatoes
Lasagne – Simple sheets of pasta, sometimes curled edges; from northern, central & southern Italy
Linguine – “Little tongues,” flattened spaghetti; from Genoa, Liguria
Lumaconi – Jumbo snail shaped
Maccheroni – Dried, hollow shpaes; from Sicily
Mafalde – Short rectangular ribbons
Orecchiette – “Little ears,” shaped like little hats with a brim
Paccheri – Large tube shape awaiting fillings
Paesanelle – Long twisted tube shapes
Paparadelle Casarece – Long, flat ribbons of  pasta, usually 1″ wide; from Tuscany, Emilia, Veneto
Penne Rigati – Short, diagonallly cut pointed ends, like a quill or fountain pen; from Compania
Radiatore – Little radiators, or grills
Ricciarelle – From riccio meaning “curly,” long flat-ruffled edge lasagne noodles
Rigatoni – Short, tubular, straight-cut, ridged; from Lazio, Compania
Rotini – Tightly wound spiral
Rustichelle – 3″ long, twisted & rolled
Sciatatelli – Long twisted spiral spaghetti
Spaghetti – Long, cylindrical; from Napels, Genoa, Liguria
Sorrisi – Little smiles
Tagliatelle – Long flat ribbons; from northern Italy, Emilia Romagna
Torcoletti – Twisted shape
Trofie – Thin twisted