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International Pasta Day – Giornata Internazionale della Pasta – 25th of October


International Pasta Day is exactly on the 25th of October, same day I was born! I guess it was destiny to be a food blogger and as we say in Italian “una buongustaia” (a good taste person/a person that likes to eat). So, after some years living abroad and after having had so many chats about it, I wanted to clarify what we mean in Italy with PASTA!!!!

******* With PASTA in Italy, we mean all types of shapes of a mix of water, salt and durum wheat flour, no matter the shape! *******

I know this is a controversial topic, maybe one of those topics to avoid when you are with family, especially if it is an italian family, but here I am, trying to give you a guide to the different varieties of pasta, and how they match with the different sauces.

Although pasta is always made from the same ingredients: water, salt and durum wheat flour, with some times added eggs or natural colourants or filled with something; every shape has a match made in heaven for a particular sauce. Most of the pasta shapes, in fact have been developed in the same regions where their perfect sauces have been developed, and you can bet that is the best way to eat your pasta!

Here a quite comprehensive, but not exhaustive (!!) overview of pasta shapes.

Ultimate List of Pasta NonnaBox com v

In the “LONG” column, there are the classic Spaghetti, definitely eaten mostly with tomatoes sauce but with lighter sauces e.g. mussels for example. Tagliatelle is another well know type of long pasta, definitely a match with wild meat ragu’! Mafalde, well actually, started to use this type of pasta only lately. In some region are also called Reginette, little queens, as you can think of them as really long crowns. Had lately some in a restaurant with black squid ink and lemon, and it was definitely a good match! Bucatini, for example are great with sauces such amatriciana – pancetta and tomatoes sauce from Amatrice, close to Rome.

Just watch out as some of these long shapes are really difficult to eat and if you are wondering: no, you cannot use a spoon!!!!

In terms of stuffed pasta, you may know mostly Ravioli, that are normally filled with ricotta or other cheese and some herbs. Tortellini are known to be cooked in broth and they are normally filled with Ham or Mortadella, as they are typical from Emilia Romagna. Conchiglioni are not sold filled for example, but you can fill them at home with whatever you like (I suggest a vegetarian sauce with peas and tomatoes) and then, let them gratin in the oven with some mozzarella on top!

I am almost offended as I cannot see in this picture the famous sardinia Culurgionis, looking like asian dumplings for their closure, they are normally filled with red potatoes mash, mint and grated pecorino cheese. Definitely paradise!

Short types of pasta, well, that’s a whole different universe!

I can mention my regional ones (from Sardinia): Gnocchetti Sardi for example, normally to be eaten with a traditional dry sausage and tomatoes sauce. Fregula or Fregola, kind of a toasted giant cus cus, born in the Sardinia coast, and therefore eaten more with fish: mussels and clams sauce with cherry tomatoes and cooked as you would cook a risotto for example!

Definitely a must try are Fusilli, Maccheroni, Rigatoni, Penne Rigate , Tortiglioni. All good with thick sauces with bits in it. They capture the condiments in their ridges, so when you are tasting one, you can capture loads from your dish!

The small size of pasta, for instance Stellete, Grattini, Midolline, Merletti, Orzo, Risi, Tempesta, are better for what we would could Minestra. Minestra is pasta cooked in a clear broth with some vegetables or pieces of meat. They are really good in soups too, to be eaten with a spoon in this case!

Orecchiette are mostly medium size pasta, rather than small, and they are eaten in south of Italy with a sort of broccoli sauce. Because of their shape, they “collect” the sauce from the dish, like spoons! Definitely one of my favourites!

Another paragraph is well deserved from Calamarata, really fancy as it looks amazing in dishes, when done for example with the name it takes from: calamari!

Last but not least, Cannelloni! Always had on a sunday when I was a child. They can be filled with ricotta and parsley, with sauces with minced meat or anything you like! Tricky to fill without a mess, but cook them like you cook a lasagna and enjoy. They will pay back the filling nightmare!

Cannot find in the picture as well any lasagna sheets, yes, they are definitely still a type of pasta!

Here the link to make the culurgiones, aubergines and cheese ravioli and one with orecchiette and cavolo nero, and here the Gnochetti Sardi traditional recipe. Enjoy!

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