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Coming to a fork near you: Not-your-average pasta shapes

Sfoglini and podcast host team up to bring back two “shapes that had languished in the dusty corners of the pasta canon.”

From the left is quattrotini, cascatelli, and vesuvio.Dan Pashman and Sfoglini

Pasta is a favorite food around the world. Would anyone ever think of improving it? Dan Pashman did. For three years, Pashman, host of the food podcast, “The Sporkful,” chased inventing a new shape that matches qualities he craves in pasta that he felt were lacking: “forkability,” “sauceability,” and “toothsinkability.” He eventually created cascatelli (inspired by the Italian word for waterfall, cascata). It hit the market in early 2021. Pashman chronicled his pasta-shape journey on Sporkful’s entertaining series “Mission: ImPASTAble.”

The curved half-tube pasta, produced in partnership with Hudson Valley pasta company Sfoglini, is larger than most stubby noodles, has a center trough and ruffles on the sides. Pashman never anticipated that cascatelli would go viral, would be named by TIME as one of the best inventions of 2021, or that boxes would line the shelves of hundreds of stores around the country. Now that he’s known as “the pasta shape guy,” Pashman is often asked whether he plans to conjure up more pasta shapes.

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“I’ve satisfied that desire, but the process only made me more curious about all the obscure shapes out there,” he says. “As a result, I decided to pick a couple of hidden gems — shapes that had languished in the dusty corners of the pasta canon, brush them off, and work with Sfoglini to make them.”

Recently, Sfoglini introduced two brand-new shapes: quattrotini and vesuvio. In creating quattrotini, the partners tweaked the shape cinque buchi that’s served only during carnival in one region of Sicily, adding ridges to the four tubes that form its rectangular shape. As the name implies, vesuvio has a short, round shape spiraling up to a thin lip, resembling a volcano. It’s found in towns around Mount Vesuvius, but not readily available in the United States. Both are now sold at sfoglini.com (6 16-ounce boxes, $32.94).

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Listen to the story of Pashman’s escapade reviving the shapes on the newest segment of Sporkful’s “Mission: ImPASTAble” podcast (sporkful.com).


Ann Trieger Kurland can be reached at anntrieger@gmail.com.