Two Hard-to-Find Italian Pasta Shapes Are Hitting Shelves in the US

Plus, one entirely new shape.

Variety of types and shapes of Italian pasta in glass jars

Nelli Syr / Getty Images

In case you’re still mourning the discontinuation of Ronzoni’s nostalgic star-shaped Pastina pasta shape, we have some carb news that might lift your spirits. Pasta manufacturer Sfoglini is teaming up with The Sporkful Podcast creator and host Dan Pashman to add three likely-new-to-you pasta shapes to your pantry. The two existing shapes hitting the brand’s roster are quattrotini and vesuvio — fun to look at, fun to wrangle on your fork, and fun to eat. The third is a new shape designed by Pashman himself, called cascatelli.

We say “likely-new-to-you” because two of the shapes can be found in small regions around Italy. You may have heard of quattrotini, a pasta shape that’s served once a year during Carnival in a small region of Sicily. The original shape — four tubes connected by a four-sided rectangle — was slightly tweaked to include ridges, making it easier to grab sauce.

The second shape, vesuvio, was named for its likeness to Mount Vesuvius. Short, round, and anchored by a large base that tapers to a thin cone, sauce collects into the spirals promising a perfect bite every time. This shape can be found in towns around the volcano it was named for, though it’s very hard to find in the U.S.

Pashman has long been on the search for the perfect pasta shape, a mission that sounds incredibly delicious. When creating pasta shapes, the podcast host has three goals, according to a press release from Sfoglini: “forkability (how easy it is to get the pasta on the fork and keep it there), sauceability (how well the pasta shape holds sauce), and toothsinkability (how satisfying it is to bite into).” You can really dig into his adventures in pasta tasting in the Mission: ImPASTAble series.

Creating a new pasta shape takes far more than a single work session to nail down. The cascatelli shape took three years of development, as well as a deep dive into the little-known pasta shapes that exist in the more remote corners of Italy. The hope with this new collection is to honor Italian traditions while creating high-quality, American-made pasta that introduces new shapes to pasta enthusiasts around the United States. 

The Quattrotini, Cascatelli and Vesuvio pasta shapes.

The Quattrotini, Cascatelli and Vesuvio pasta shapes.

The part of the equation we’re most interested in? The taste test. “In the case of quattrotini, there was no taste test process — I saw a photo of it and became obsessed with it," says Pashman. "I had never seen anything like it, but I couldn't get my hands on it. Almost nobody makes it, even in Italy, where it's called cinque buchi. I tasted it for the first time just a few weeks ago and fortunately, it was as good as I thought it would be, especially with the ridges I decided to add. Those not only hold more sauce, but create a noticeable textural sensation in your mouth, which is not the case with all ridges." The process was slightly different for the vesuvio pasta, as Scott Ketchum, co-founder and CEO of Sfoglini, shares via email. “We started by reading through pasta books and catalogs to select shapes that looked interesting and that were not readily available here in the U.S.,” he says. “The first option, vesuvio, was more familiar to us and appeared to only be available at a few shops in America. We tasted the variations that we were able to find and were pleasantly surprised by how well it held sauce — and I particularly liked biting into it. It had great toothsinkability.”

If you want to try them out for yourself, all three shapes from The Sporkful Collection will be available to purchase on Sfoglini’s website on January 24.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles