Pasta Pasta everywhere! Knowing your Farfalle from your Mafalda

30 October, 2019

Pasta has so many incredibly diverse dishes that you can create with the stuff and while we may all know the good old favourite spaghetti, there’s a whole entire world of pasta shapes out there just waiting to be explored! We know that majority of pasta pretty much all tastes the same bar a few exceptions (spinach pasta anyone?), but did you know that the assorted range of various shapes of pasta can actually make or break a pasta dish?

Yep, some pastas are for slurping, some are for layering, some are for scooping and some are for stuffing – But all make for a filling, fast and freaking delicious dish. So, how well do you know your Penne from your farfalle? With around 600 different forms of pasta worldwide (some with different names but same shape) pasta has been there for us as a comforting bowl of goodness for centuries, but its origin may not be where you think. While Italy is the home of pasta, some researchers believe that it was first discovered in by Marco Polo in 1271 after returning to Italy from one of his trips to China!

So why exactly are there so many different shapes and sizes of pasta? Turns out, each shape is designed to suit its perfectly paired ingredients and sauce. From the slurpy goodness of a homemade spag bol, to a bowl of al dente pesto penne, each shape takes on their paired sauce in their own clever and perfect way. Here are 8 of our unique favourites and some tips on what they’re best paired with.

Imagine a luscious roll of decadent, luxurious silk sprawled out and cut into gorgeous sheets.. each egg based pappardelle ribbon scooping up and enveloping all ingredients with each mouthful.

Like little doughy bites of dumpling-like goodness, Gnocchi is made with egg, flour and potato making them a hearty pasta sure to fill even the hungriest bellies. Perfect boiled as is, or pan-fried for a little crunch to finish. Paired with a simple tomato based sauce or tossed in garlic oil, Gnocchi claims Goddess status in the pasta world.

The name itself translates into ‘little ears’ and not surprisingly they look just like them! Each shaped like a small bowl the size of a thumbprint, Orecchiette is the perfect pasta to pair with saucy sauces promising a satisfying slurp with every bite.

Think long strands like its sibling Spaghetti, but with a hole running through the middle of each piece. Like a delicious slurpy tube ready to suck up a saucy concoction, these long squiggly straws of Bucatini are like spaghetti on steroids when it comes to achieving the ultimate slurp factor given its long tubular shape.

Uniquely shaped these, semi- short but relatively wide for their size strips of pasta have a unique ruffled comb like feature either side of them meaning their edges are great for clinging on to chunkier ingredients within sauces such as Italian sausage or chopped olives.

These petite pasta pillows are all about whats on the inside that counts. Ravioli is after stuffed with fine minces or ricotta and spinach making each bite full of beautiful flavours… so much so that Ravioli is often served with a very plain and simple butter sauce due to their full flavour-bomb nature.

A few centimetres long, each piece is exquisitely swirled ‘S’ shaped, meaning they’re perfect for scooping up all the goodness within the bowl including finer meat like crab meat or sopping up ricotta in its shovelling mechanical like form.

Possibly one of the prettiest pastas we ever did see, farfalle literally translates into ‘Butterfly’ and its bow-like winged shape with ruffled edges and a smooth finish makes this gorgeously girly pasta perfect to toss in salads or served with a very light and silky sauce.

Head on over to Stretch Italian and work your way through their delicious handmade pastas and seriously scrumptious sauces.