Episode 96: Pasta Shapes

This is the show that you’ve been waiting for, in which we determine, once and for all, the best pasta shape. Or not. Along the way, Matthew continues his love affair with penne rigate, Molly makes Italians roll their eyes and groan, and we voice some strong opinions (surprise, surprise!) about saucing pasta. Roll up your slappy sleeves and dig in.

Mezze Maniche Rigate with Scallionshttp://forums.egullet.org/topic/126202-pasta-bible-pasta/
Pasta with Yogurt, Peas, and Chilehttp://orangette.blogspot.com/2013/06/told-you-so.html

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7 thoughts on “Episode 96: Pasta Shapes

  1. JackieD

    Uh, I know this is a nerdily long and unsolicited response but here are my 2 cents:

    *Do not like farfalle, *except* with creamy mushroom sauce – the chewiness & silky-ness echoes the mushrooms (to me).
    *Oriechette is my fave for crumbled italian sausage (or other ground meat)sauces
    *Love, LOVE cavatappi and gemelli; they’re like dressed up penne. I especially love them with cheesy or shrimpy sauces
    *Like ziti or rigatoni for baked pastas
    *I no longer love long stranded pasta like fettucine or spaghetti or angel hair. Just don’t enjoy the flinging of sauce side effect.
    *Though I have no opinion on the shape/texture my favorite NAME for pasta is strozzapretti which means “priest-strangler.” So evocative.
    *Hate fusilli; it like, tickles my mouth. And it traps nothing, sauces just puddle under it. Ugh.

    I have this super nerdy book called “Ingredients” by Loukie Werle and Jill Cox. It’s basically just a big picture book of the varieties of foods. It reminds me of being a kid and looking through illustrated encyclopedias (or was that just me?). You guys should see if you can track it down. It’s gorgeous and fun and informative.

  2. MsSticker

    I have a love-hate relationship with shells. The shape is great when it traps in sauce, veggies, meat, or whatever you’re topping it with, or in soup. Problem is, it usually just traps in more shells, so you get multiple shells stacked on top of each other. Pasta-covered pasta–ugh. If there’s a solution to this admittedly minor conundrum, let me know. Otherwise, I’ll just stick with the big stuffable variety.

  3. Karen Stone

    Your podcast is my first one I’ve followed with any regularity as its my 15-20 “me-time” while my one or both of my both of my boys are asleep in the car. Food, cooking & tasting have been a passion since I was young. I became a firefighter in San Francisco 18 years ago & was surprised to discover that food & cooking were a huge part of firehouse life. Living in SF and living in the firehouse I really expanded my food knowledge & experiences & learned how to cook. I have been a devoted Cooks Illustrated fan for over a decade & am enjoying the addition of your podcast to my “food time”.
    Although I’ve cut way back on pasta, I love really good Italien food when I eat it. Regardless, I always learn something or giggle at your nerdy love of food. The enjoyment you both derive from good is evident and appreciated.
    I was excited to hear about a Small wood fire oven ( as it will be years before we build one in our backyard in West Seattle, but their website already says “Sold Out!”. Sponsorship must be working!

    1. mamster Post author

      Thanks for the support, Karen!

      MsSticker, I know what you’re talking about and I have sort of a solution. Have you ever made anyone of the baked pasta recipes in the cookbook Cucina Simpatica? The basic method is: you parboil the shells for four minutes, then combine them with the (usually creamy) sauce and bake in a shallow dish. After four minutes, the shells are still too firm to grip each other, and then you bake them in a single layer, or close to it. Here’s an example.

  4. chris

    Barilla makes a spaghetti rigate that I love for all the ridged reasons you named in the podcast. In Seattle, Cap Hill QFC used to carry it but I haven’t seen it lately. I found it at Queen Anne Met Market last month. Apparently they also make a linguine rigate but I’ve never seen that one.

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