At Panzani, we know pasta like the back of our hand (and boy, do we know the back of our hand.)
Alright, now that that’s out of the way, it’s down to business, then. The answer to the question ‘Just how many pasta shapes are out there?’ is: Over 600. But that’s the easy part. The tough part is remembering the over 1300 names they go by.
For our first lesson, we’ll get you acquainted with the 4 of the more popular pasta shapes out there. Let’s start you off with the crowd favourite.
1. Macaroni Rigati
Macaroni is Greek for ‘food made from barley’. While these tubes could be bent (called Elbow Macaroni), they like playing it straight every occasion they get. The addition of the word Rigati denotes lines or ridges that help the pasta hold the sauce, so you can hold your pasta.
Macaroni is the sweetest kid in town. Friends with everyone. It can be topped with any sauce, baked, or put in soups, salads and stir-fry dishes. Traditionally used to make Macaroni and Cheese, one can always add in some seasonings, proteins, or veggies. No one ever called a doctor because he was feeling too healthy.
2. Ziti Tagliati
This name defies explanation, but we’re going to attempt an explanation anyway. So ziti is plural for zito, which in Italian means ‘bridegroom’, and tagliati is an Italian verb that means to ‘cut or pare’. You could translate that to mean ‘trimming the bridegroom’, but we think you’d rather put your tongue to better use. Like knocking back, a plateful of these tube-shaped wonders of the culinary world.
Ziti tastes best when paired with chunky sauces and meat dishes. Or if you’re like the Sopranos, ziti and meatballs it is (Ziti Al Forno). You can use Ziti in a bake, salad or stir-fry meal. Now there’s a compatible bridegroom if you’ve ever seen one. Recipe for the perfect marriage.
3. Penne Rigate
Within the Penne Rigate and the lines that run along its body, hangs a certain sense of nobility, which comes alive and lingers in the air while you rest in your living-room. The quill still, has got a lot to say. Plate it on a tray and you’ll get the picture.
The Penne was named and designed using the blueprint of a quill. These mightily lined-pens and the loftier hollow chambers wait for the chefs as they line-up to load the sauces and the garnishes. It makes no difference to the Penne, whether it has to lay with cream, oil, meat or vegetables, for the night.
Some things work better together. As long as you don’t run out of the Penne.
If you think all pastas are the same, you are wrong. Behold, the twisted spaghetti- the Fusilli.
It doesn’t don any ordinary contour.
Wrung around a rod to give it its exclusive silhouette resembling a corkscrew, there is nothing that the Fusilli can’t do. It twists and turns, sliding across the bowl, churning the appetite of the foodie-next door. Top it with any sauce from your palette, or break it in half (ouch!) and add it to a soup. Make a Caesar’s salad from this contorted beauty, or put it in a casserole. Because it bakes too.
There you have it then. The Italian corkscrew. It may not uncork a bottle of wine, but it pairs with a Chianti just fine.
Once you think you’ve got these, let us know. There are only over 300 more pastas waiting in line to meet you.