2 Unique Italian Pasta Shapes Are Now Available in the U.S.
If you're bored of your supermarket's run-of-the-mill pasta offerings, one brand is now serving up some more creative options.
New York-based pasta manufacturer Sfoglini joined forces with Dan Pashman, creator and host of The Sporkful podcast, to release two uncommon pasta shapes you likely haven't encountered in the United States. When creating the pasta, Pashman had three criteria in mind: sauceability (how well the pasta holds sauce), forkability (how easy it is for the pasta to get onto the fork and stay on it), and toothsinkability (how satisfying it is to bite into the pasta).
The first "new" pasta available for purchase is quattrotini, a riff on the existing Italian pasta shape cinque buchi, which is commonly served once a year during Carnival in Sicily. Like its predecessor, quattrotini features four round tubes connected by a square tube. However, what makes this variety different is that the exterior tubes have ridges, which are designed to help them hold more sauce.
If you understand Italian, then you're probably wondering, Hey, doesn't cinque buchi mean "five holes?" So, why call it quattrotini when quattro means "four?" Pashman addressed this very question in his latest podcast episode: "Yes, there's technically five holes in the cross section…but I don't really think about the larger tube. When I look at this shape, I think four—not five." And thus, the name "quattrotini" was born.
Sfoglini and Pashman's second pasta innovation is vesuvio, which was named after the Italian volcano Mount Vesuvius. Another pasta shape that isn't commonly seen in the U.S., vesuvio can be found in towns around the volcano, as reported by Food and Wine. In Sicily, the shape is sometimes also called nodini, meaning "knots," Pashman noted.
Resembling the natural structure itself, the pasta has a short, round spiral shape designed to "hold a ton of sauce." Pashman added, "It's beautiful and whimsical. But it's not a gimmick. Those features serve the eating experience."
Quattrotini and vesuvio aren't Pashman's only pasta creations. In 2021, the podcast host launched cascatelli, a completely new shape that took him three years to develop. With its name deriving from the Italian word for waterfall, cascatelli has a curved strip with ruffles on either side. The pasta shape is being added to 1,200 Walmart stores this week and will be available in Whole Foods locations nationwide by June 2023.
Quattrotini and vesuvio are now being sold in packs of six for $32.94 on Sfoglini's website.