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Last year, Dan Pashman, host of the culinary podcast “The Sporkful,” worked with New York pasta brand Sfoglini to do something remarkable: create a whole new form of pasta. Dan and the folks at Sfoglini spent three years researching, developing and testing in order to come up with a shape that had never been made before (not easy, considering the number of pasta shapes) that was enjoyable to eat. Now, just a year later, they’re coming out of them Following pasta shapes.
The shapes, quattrotini and vesuvio, are available on Sfoglini’s website and sold in limited quantities (you can purchase two of their six-packs per order). Unlike last year’s cascatelli shape, these shapes aren’t entirely new, though they’ll probably only be familiar to the most discerning pasta lover. Each six-pack costs around $33 and ships from upstate New York, where Sfoglini prepares all of his al dente delicacies. Considering how quickly cascatellis flew off their shelves last year, we recommend grabbing these new shapes now before they sell out.
Quattrotini is based on an existing pasta shape better known as cinque buchi, which roughly translates from Italian to “five holes”, in reference to the five connected tubes. The original pasta is usually only made once a year in Sicily to celebrate a carnival, and Dan was so intrigued by its obscurity that he decided to make it more widely available. Dan also tweaked the shape slightly by adding ridges all the way around the outside, which helps oils and sauces adhere better.
The next form, vesuvio, is not as rare as cinque buchi, but it is not widely known in the United States. Named after Mount Vesuvius, the volcano that destroyed the Roman city of Pompeii after its eruption in AD 79, this shape curls upwards to form a small spike (much less dangerous and much more delicious than its namesake mountainous). Dan discovered this pasta while developing cascatelli and loved how the design allows sauces to naturally flow over the top and gather inside so you get plenty of sauce in every bite.
As Dan traveled to Italy to find more varieties of pasta to bring to the United States, he came up with three criteria to decide which ones were worth replicating here. They are: forkability (how easily you can put the pasta on your fork), sauceability (the ability of the pasta to hold sauces) and digging ability (how well the pasta pasta are satisfying to bite). Quattrotini and Vesuvius came out on top in all three areas, and now you can enjoy them at home with your favorite tomato sauce, pesto, or just butter and salt.
Try them both before they sell out. And, if you miss them, I hope Dan and Sfoglini find a way to bring these eye-catching shapes to more stores like they did putting their cascatelli in Trader Joe’s. But, better to play it safe and grab them while you can!