The ABCs of Pasta Shapes & Sizes Homemade Pastas & Sauces




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Whether you observe Lent and forgo eating meat on Fridays and holy days, or just love seafood, you live in exactly the right place. We can all agree that the best seafood in the world comes from right here on the Gulf Coast. Here at Rouses, local seafood is our specialty. We buy our Gulf fish, shrimp, crabs, crawfish and our wide range of oysters from dedicated, local fishermen with whom we have close personal and profes- sional relationships. As the Gulf Coast’s grocer, and avid fish- ers ourselves — my grandfather started taking me fishing when I was two — we feel a particular commitment to support and preserve the Gulf Coast’s seafood industry. It plays such an important role in our culture and economy. We’re also a proud partner of the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA), whose mission is to conserve and protect our coast and waterways. I can honestly say you will not find anyone with more enthusiasm than we at Rouses have for the people, water- ways and fisheries of the Gulf Coast. But our commitment to responsibly sourced seafood doesn’t end at our coast. We’re mindful of how all of our seafood is caught and farmed. Our wild-caught seafood — like Alaska salmon — is caught in natural habitats such as oceans, gulfs, lakes, bays, rivers and basins. We also offer farm-raised seafood. Several fish and shellfish species thrive in an aqua-farm setting, including Missis- sippi catfish and Alabama oysters. And you can rest assured we only work with trusted fish farmers with solid reputations who use only the best aquaculture practices. We like to joke that there are four seasons on the Gulf Coast: crawfish, crab, shrimp and oyster. All seafood, like produce, has seasons. We source in-season from the East Coast and West Coast, as well as from the world’s oceans. Fresh fish is caught and delivered jet fresh to our stores. (And thanks to modern freezing methods, you can also enjoy seasonal favor- ites like wild-caught Alaska salmon year-round.) As you can certainly smell in our stores these days, it’s peak crawfish season. You can get our famous Louisiana crawfish hot from the pot, 11am to 7pm, every day. We’re also boiling Gulf crabs and shrimp — and our boiling recipes go back three generations. I encourage you to try all our fresh seafood options this Lenten season, including our great selection of Gulf fish, which comes straight off the boats. Depending on the day, you’ll find drum, snapper, grouper, redfish, speckled trout and sheepshead. Our seafood experts are trained to cut every piece of fish we sell. And if you’re not sure how to cook something, you’ll find great seafood recipes on our website at, as well as in the pages of this magazine — in this issue, we have three different versions of oyster spaghetti! by Donny Rouse CEO, 3rd Generation from the family




Steak Pizzaiola Cover Photo by Romney Caruso

TASTY TIDBITS 35 Spaghetti Suppers 45 Ricotta Cheese by Liz Thorpe 44 Greek Lasagna by Sarah Baird 36 Tony’s Spaghetti & Meatball Pizza 37 International Pastas 62 Muffaletta Pasta Salad by Marcy Nathan 72 Red Gravy by David W. Brown 73 Spaghetti Queens by Alison Fensterstock IN EVERY ISSUE 3 Letter from the Family 6 Contributors 7 Letter from the Editor 8 In Our Stores by Marcelle Bienvenu by Alison Fensterstock

COOKING 29 Pesto

ALL ABOUT PASTA 12 The History of Pasta by Sarah Baird 18 Pasta Shapes & Sizes by Sarah Baird 26 Gnocchi by David W. Brown 41 Lasagna by Sarah Baird

by Marcelle Bienvenu

54 Steak Pizzaiola

by Steven Galtier

58 Pastalaya

by David W. Brown 68 Make Better Pasta by Chef Marc Ardoin

RECIPES 28 Gnocchi with Mushrooms & Sundried Tomatoes 43 Classic Lasagna 51 Oyster Spaghetti with White Sauce 51 Oyster Spaghetti with Red Sauce 35 Francis Ford Coppola’s Mother’s Spaghetti 45 Ricotta Cheese

FEATURES 32 Making Spaghetti by Lolis Eric Elie 48 Our Family Heritage by Donald Rouse 66 Zoodles! by Toni-Tipton Martin 60 Chef Nino by David W. Brown 70 Red Gravy by David W. Brown



www. rouses .com




SARAH BAIRD Sarah Baird is the author of the books New Orleans Cocktails and Short Stack Edition: Summer Squash . Her work appears regu- larly in/on Saveur , Eater , GQ , First We Feast, PUNCH and Food & Wine . She was the longtime food editor and restaurant critic for the New Orleans alt-weekly, Gambit Weekly . MARCELLE BIENVENU Marcelle is a cookbook author, food writer and chef/instructor at the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute at Nicholls State Univer- sity in Thibodaux. A native of St. Martinville, in the heart of Cajun country, Bienvenu wrote Who’s Your Mama, Are You Catholic and Can You Make a Roux? and Stir the Pot: The History of Cajun Cuisine with Eula Mae Dora , and other books and cookbooks. She also co-authored five cookbooks with Emeril Lagasse. KACIE GALTIER Kacie is an illustrator and one of our talented chalk artists. She is a native of Houma, Louisiana. You can see her designs and art in our stores all over the Gulf Coast. ​ ALISON FENSTERSTOCK Alison Fensterstock is a music and culture writer and founding program director for the Ponderosa Stomp roots -music festival. Her work appears in Rolling Stone and SPIN , and on NPR .

ROMNEY CARUSO Romney is a Mandeville resident and has been a professional photographer for over 25 years. He has styled and photographed food for hundreds of local and national publications, and for several cookbooks. His portrait series of chefs and bartenders, titled “Shakers, Knives & Irons,” was recently displayed in New Orleans and Los Angeles. PATTI STALLARD Patti is a freelance copy editor, proofreader and copywriter with decades of editorial experience in both the marketing and publishing arenas. A native New Orleanian and a culinary devotee, she was part of many creative teams that crafted ADDY award-winning campaigns for a variety of clients, including tourism, professional sports and higher education. LIZ THORPE Liz is a world-class cheese expert. A Yale graduate, she left a “normal” job in 2002 to work the counter at New York’s famed Murray’s Cheese. She is the founder of The People’s Cheese, author of the Book of Cheese: The Essential Guide to Discover- ing Cheeses You’ll Love and The Cheese Chronicles , and coauthor of The Murray’s Cheese Hand- book . Her work and interviews with her have been in everything from The New York Times to Men’s Journal to The Oprah Magazine and NPR and The Today Show.

TONI TIPTON-MARTIN Toni Tipton-Martin is the author of The Jemima Code: Two Centuries of African American Cookbooks , a work that celebrates the impor- tant legacy of African American cooks and their cookbooks. She is the winner of a 2016 James Beard Book Award and the 2016 Art of Eating Prize. LOLIS ERIC ELIE Lolis Eric Elie is a New Orleans born, Los Angeles based writer/ filmmaker. He recently joined the writing staff of the Amazon series TheMan in the High Castle . Before that, he wrote for the OWN series Greenleaf and the HBO series Tremé . A former columnist for The Times-Picayune , he is the author of Smokestack Lightning: Adventures in the Heart of Barbecue Country and editor of Cornbread Nation 2: The Best of Southern Food Writing . A contributing writer to Oxford American, his work has appeared in Gourmet, The Wash- ington Post, The New York Times and Bon Appétit . DAVID W. BROWN David is a regular contributor to The Atlantic, The Week and Mental Floss . His work also appears in Vox, The New York Times, Writer’s Digest and Foreign Policy maga- zine. He is a regular commentator for television and radio.




rooms…. Wiser after our taxi ride, we avoided falling victim to the rose scam at the Spanish Steps. “Ciao bella, I have a rose for you. A titolo gratuito! Free of charge!” We ate pasta at every trattoria — research for this, our pasta issue — cacio e pepe, spaghetti alla carbonara, spicy bucatini all’amatriciana. I can now say with complete authority that our authentic Italian Rouses brand amatriciana sauce is as good as the one served in Rome’s famous restaurants. Delizioso! From Rome we took a train to Bologna. I batted my eyelashes at the young man who helped us with our luggage. Ciao bello! But it was his older companion who took a shine to me. He blew kisses the entire ride. At the hotel we met up with Patrick Capriati, Senior Market- ing Director for the ITA, for a walking tour through the city’s covered archways to Piazza del Nettuno and the Fountain of Neptune. Patrick is a Cavaliere, meaning he’s been knighted by the Italian government. I’d met Mardi Gras royalty, but this was a first. Beverly and I also visited multiple food shops behind Piazza del Nettuno including several salumerias, which had rows of Parma hams hanging from the roof. At a formaggeria we bought whole bells of provolone cheese to bring home as gifts. The food show was dedicated entirely to private labels. We have our own line of authentic Italian offerings, like our amatriciana pasta sauce. Over two days, we met with dozens of new Italian producers and importer / exporters. I can’t wait for you to try what we bought! We also visited with Alexandra Cardone of De Nigris, which bottles our balsamic and premium aged apple cider vinegars in Modena —our Italian pizza crusts are also made there — and Sal Bono, whose family produces our olive oils. Their company, Bonolio, was established in 1934 in Sciacca in the southern part of Sicily. We also ran into the older man from the train. Sigh. Naturally, since so many of us were at the same hotel, it was business before, during and after the show, even in the spa. And Beverly is a boisterous negotiator. At one point, she got us kicked out of the spa’s quiet room for negotiating too loudly. We met a lot of great people, including Anthony Lenna of Botticelli Foods. You’re going to absolutely love his Alla Vodka, Roasted Garlic and Fra Diavolo sauces. Like our Rouses authentic Italian sauces, Botticelli pasta sauces are made with 100% Italian tomatoes. Beverly and I were worried about taking our cheese back to the United States. Anthony told us about his Sicilian grand- mother who was so passionate about food, that when a TSA agent told her she couldn’t bring a big tin of homemade angi- netti — glazed lemon knots — on a plane, she sat down next to him and ate every last one of them rather than give them up. After eight days, we headed home. Our trip included another layover in Heathrow. We boarded the plane to New Orleans with a dozen British Saints fans who were heading there to attend the NFC Championship Game. Having been victim to the fake taxi, and having seen the rose scam in action at the Spanish Steps, I warned them about the French Quarter scam, “I bet I know where you got them shoes.” I need not have bothered. It wasn’t tourists who got robbed in New Orleans that weekend. It was the Saints.


by Marcy Nathan Creative Director

Earlier this year, my coworker Beverly, a grocery buyer for Rouses, and I were invited by the Italian Trade Association (ITA) to attend a food show in Bologna, the capital of the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. We decided to tack on a few days of vacation in Rome beforehand. Things started to go sideways almost immediately after we landed in Rome. Bleary-eyed after a long plane ride and layover at Heathrow, we caught what we were told was a taxi at the side entrance of the airport by the escalators. For a trip that should have cost 50 euro, we were charged 150. Siamo stati derubati! We were robbed! Italy is a tourist mecca, and we spent the next few days marveling over Rome’s iconic sites — the Roman Forum and Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, the miniature, bathtub-like bidets in our hotel bath-






HELPING THE GULF COAST GROW Our local produce roots run more than 90 years deep. J.P. Rouse founded the City Produce Company in 1923, bring- ing fruits and vegetables from local, independent farms to the rest of the state and eventually to stores around the country. When his son, Anthony J. Rouse, Sr., opened his first grocery store in 1960, he made supporting his farmer neighbors a priority. He bought all of the produce from the farmers in the area, whether he needed it or not, because he said it was important for the community. Generations later we are more committed than ever to our local farmers and to bringing you the very best this region has to offer. Fishing has been a unique way of life for people here on the Gulf Coast for generations. As the Gulf Coast’s grocer, and avid fishers ourselves, we feel a particular commitment to preserve and protect our seafood industry, which plays such an impor- tant role in our culture and economy. Most of our seafood comes from local fishermen with whom we have close personal and professional relation- ships. But our commitment doesn’t end at our coast. We’re mindful of how all of our seafood is caught and farmed. Get Louisiana crawfish hot from the pot 11am-7pm daily. Leroy Theriot was the butcher at our first store, which was known for having the very best meat selection in Houma. We still have full-service butcher shops in our stores, and trusted butchers avail- able to answer your questions about cuts, grades and cooking techniques. Every steak is still cut by hand, the way Leroy did things. Choose from steak- house quality USDA Prime beef and USDA Choice beef, or more affordable options. Most of our stores also have a dry-aged beef locker, in which the beef is aged at least 25 days. AN OLD-FASHIONED BUTCHER SHOP

My Sardinian-born great grandfather, J.P. Rouse, brought his food traditions to Louisiana when he immigrated in 1900. We’re celebrating our Italian Heritage throughout the month of March, with special prices on authentic Italian products, in-store cooking demonstrations and samplings of Italian cuisine. We have hundreds of new products from recent buying trips to Italy and from our partnership with the Ital- ian Trade Agency, including cheese, sauces, olives and wine. Look for new additions to our own Rouses Market line of authentic Italian products, including dried pasta, sauces and filled raviolis. EAT LIKE AN ITALIAN Italians classify wine with labels like DOP and IDG. Look for these labels on our authentic Italian products. DOP (Denominazione di Origine Protetta), or Protected Designation of Origin/PDO, is a desig- nation that aims to promote and protect traditionally produced, culturally significant agricultural products and foodstuffs across Europe. The label means that all parts of the product’s creation process — from crush- ing the olives to bottling — were completed within the designated, historic geographic area. IGP (Indicazione Geografica Protetta) food items are required to have at least one part of the product’s

production take place in its traditional location. — Ali Rouse Royster, 3rd Generation




SOUP & SALAD BARS Our make-your-own salad bars feature an ever-changing selection of prepared salads and fresh-cut vegetables and fruits. Our hot soup menu changes daily, though you’ll always find our famous gumbo — it’s a favorite year-round. FRESH FLOWER SHOP Our licensed floral directors are as picky about the flowers we sell as our chefs are about the ingredients that go into the foods we make. Visit to order flowers for delivery within specified areas. FRESH SUSHI You’ve probably seen our professional in-store sushi chefs handcrafting sashimi and sushi rolls. We also have a variety of sampler platters, and sides like edamame and seaweed salad. Special orders and sushi platters are available. EAT RIGHT WITH ROUSES Imagine having your own personal dietitian with you when you shop. Rouses registered dietitian has handpicked more than 500 grocery items that have lower sodium, satu- rated fat, healthier fats, more fiber and less sugar. Just look for the Eat Right logo on the shelf tag or package. CAKES & DESSERTS There are as many reasons to order our cakes and cupcakes as there are ways to customize them. If you’d like to place a special order for a cake or dessert, stop by or call your neighborhood Rouses Market. For locations visit WINE, SPIRITS & BEER We offer wines and spirits at every price point and have experts on the floor to answer questions and offer pairing sugges- tions. Our craft beer selection includes cans, bottles and kegs from all over the Gulf Coast.

PREPARED FOODS You’ll always find something hot and delicious on our line. Depending on your location, you might find barbecue, pizzas, burritos or a Mongolian grill. All of our stores feature grab-and-go meals, including $5 daily deals, fresh sandwiches and salads, and heat-and- eat dinners. Don’t miss our Limited Time Only fried chicken, chicken tenders and rotisserie chicken flavors. GROCERY DELIVERY If you don’t have the time to come to your closest Rouses, Rouses can always come to you! Order online at for same-day deliv- ery to your home or office. If Rouses Markets is on the label, you know it’s good. We have close relation- ships with the dairies that bottle our milk, bakeries that make our sandwich bread, and manufacturers who package our products. Every Rouses Markets private label food item has been personally tasted by the Rouse Family and is guar- anteed to deliver the best quality at the best price. CHEESE & CHARCUTERIE Our cheesemonger is an American Cheese Society Certified Cheese Professional, a title that requires pass- ing a master exam covering every- thing from dairy regions to cheese making, ripening, storage and serv- ing. We love to share what we do and what we know with our custom- ers. Get his tips about cheese and how to build the perfect cheese board at cheese and stuffed meats are made with Rouse Family Recipes that go back three generations. Cooking and heating instructions are available at We’re proud to continue the South Louisiana tradition of crafting our own Cajun specialties and real Cajun food. Our authentic boudin, spicy andouille, sausages, hogshead PRIVATE LABEL PRODUCTS




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China, claims another camp. Still others credit the Uighurs, a Turkic-speaking minority who straddled Central Asia and China. The more research I did, the more confused I became; it seemed like there were limitless theories about noodles and how they’d spread.” The truth, it seems, is that there might not be one single source of creation for the almighty noodle, and that pasta was being made simultaneously — in different styles, forms and fashions — throughout many different parts of the world. In addition to the traditions outlined by Liu-Liu, there’s evidence of pasta in the Jewish Talmud, written in the fifth century A.D., where an argument takes place over whether or not boiled noodles violate Jewish dietary laws. And then there’s the 10th century A.D. Persian word “lakhsha,” which referred to fresh noodles — versus “itriyah,” which indicated dry ones. For pasta historians, the bickering over noodles' tangled origin story seems endless. But one thing is certain: By the time Marco Polo returned from his journeying, pasta was already being made and eaten in Italy. Records from a Northern Italian solider taken in 1279 (while Polo was globetrotting) indicate that he owned a basket of dried pasta that was valuable enough to be noted in an offi- cial estate record alongside his other personal belongings. Moreover, the Muslim geographer al-Idrisi had, almost 100 years before, wrote of seeing pasta produced on Sicily (a destination which would soon become the trade epicenter for dried pasta) while he traveled around that island. In the subsequent centuries, it’s impossible to overstate the profound impact pasta has had on the social, political and emotional vitality of Italians, twirling and rolling its way into the hearts of generations while becoming not just a meal staple, but a symbol of delicious cultural pride. Pasta was largely considered a food for the aristocracy throughout the Renaissance, but by the 18th century, it had become a culinary staple of the people, thanks to the development of industrialized pasta-making machines like the torchio, a mechanical press for stamping out vermicelli noodles. In Naples, where, by the 1700s, residents had gained the nickname “mangiamaccheroni” (macaroni- eaters) because of the sheer quantity of pasta people consumed, the number of pasta shops soared from 60 in the year 1700 to 280 by 1785. Of course, this chest-swelling pasta love also found its way into literature. In Boccaccio’s 1353 canonical classic work, The Decameron , the author writes of a mythical land known as Bengodi, where pasta-makers rolled maca- roni and ravioli down mountains of grated parmesan to hungry townspeople waiting below. In a 1362 work by

ime and again in the United States, it’s been proven that — even in the face of facts, statistics and ample evidence — it’s almost impossible to completely stop the spread of erroneous historical legends or pop culture myths. This is particularly true when it comes to

food. Despite generations of attempts to debunk wrong- headed lore, hormonal teens still believe that chocolate can cause acne, glasses-wearing kids think that eating carrots will improve their vision, and people still trust that the first “sandwich” was actually created by the Earl of Sandwich. Oh, how wrong they are. One of the most far-reaching — and pervasive — rumors believed by many is that Marco Polo introduced pasta to Italy as a result of his travels in China during the 13th century, based on a handful of short passages in his book, The Travels of Marco Polo . And while the Chinese have assuredly been making and eating noodles since far earlier than any version graced Italian shores (one of the first written records of the word for “noodle” appears in a Chinese dictionary from the third century A.D.), Marco Polo did not bring them back as part of his globetrotting adventures. “The Marco Polo myth has refused to die,” writes culinary scholar Corby Kummer in a 1986 article for The Atlantic . “Italians accuse Americans of promulgating it, beginning with an influential article in a 1929 issue of Macaroni Journal (now Pasta Journal ), an American trade magazine, which has inspired countless advertisements, restaurant placemats, cookbooks and even movies. In the 1938 film The Adventures of Marco Polo , Gary Cooper points to a bowl of noodles and asks a Chinese man what he calls them. ‘In our language,’ the man replies, ‘we call them spa-get.’” And though America is likely responsible for promoting a history of noodles that’s not quite based in reality, pinpointing pasta’s exact path from moment-of-creation to source of immense cultural pride for Italians — and Italian- Americans — is nothing short of a squiggly road. “Food historians have produced an array of conflicting theories about the provenance of noodles. Some credit the ancient Etruscans, suggesting that pictures in caves depict pasta-making. Or perhaps the first incarnation of noodles appeared with Arab caravan traders, who devel- oped dried ones that were light and easy to transport, predecessors of the instant kind,” writes Jen Liu-Liu in her culinary history and memoir, On the Noodle Road: From Beijing to Rome, with Love and Pasta . “But then maybe the staple originated in the birthplace of wheat, in the Middle East, and traveled by divergent paths to Italy and



Franco Sacchetti, eating pasta becomes a moral lesson for his anti-hero Noddo d’Andrea, who is known far and wide for wolfing down his plate of noodles — as well as everyone else’s at the table — a little too quickly: It chanced upon one occasion that when Noddo was dining together with others, he was put to share a dish with a pleasant man named Giovanni Cascio. And when boiling hot macaroni was brought to the table, then Giovanni, having several times heard tell of Noddo’s habits and finding himself put to share a dish with him, said within himself: “Truly, I am fortunate! I thought I was coming here to dine, and I shall have come only to behold Noddo devouring, and macaroni too, to make matters worse! Provided he doth not eat me, I shall do well.” Eventually, Giovanni tricks Noddo (via shaming him, mostly) into not eating his serving of piping- hot macaroni too quickly or being greedy about stealing the food of others. “Thus did a man who gorged without measure have the new experience of finding one who obliged him to eat his maca- roni moderately,” the story concludes. Back from the land of fables, the German poet Goethe even made note of the booming pasta scene around Naples during his travels in 1787, noting that, “It can be bought everywhere and in all the shops for very little money. As a rule, it is simply cooked in water and seasoned with grated cheese.”

photo by Romney Caruso

Much like the Marco Polo shenanigans, how pasta came to the United States is also steeped in a good deal of American mythology. Around the time Goethe was ogling the wares in Naples, it’s said that Thomas Jefferson introduced dried pasta to America, thanks in part to the fact that he asked an Italian friend to ship the first “maccarony machine” to the states in 1789, and he served “a pie called macaroni” at an official state dinner in 1802. And while Jefferson may have helped popularize the dish among a certain upper-crust set, it wasn’t until the turn of the 20th century — when five million Italians immigrated to the United States — that pasta gained a foothold among the working class. Soon, Italian-American food — a specialty cuisine in its own right — began to evolve from the fusion of regional Italian variations and differing access to ingredients in the U.S.: Meat was cheaper and more plentiful, for example, while fresh fruits and vegetables were harder to come by in cities where immigrants primarily settled. And then, there’s the curious case of spaghetti and meatballs. “For whatever reasons, what became the Italian- American cuisine started with a base of Campanian food, minus many kinds of vegetables and cheeses


and plus a lot of meat. Thus, the rise of spaghetti and meatballs, a dish unknown in Italy,” Krummer writes. “It probably had its origin in several baked Neapolitan pasta dishes, served at religious festivals such as Carnival and Christmas. Italian- Americans had embraced enthusiastically the Americanized version of their food and went on thinking of it as just like the food in the old country.” Of course, to talk about pasta — in China, Italy, America and beyond — is really to talk about flour; pasta is, after all, simply a type of unleavened dough. Traditionally made from a simple combination of wheat flour (most likely durum wheat due to its high gluten content) and water, there’s so much more to pasta’s edible iden- tity than a box of dry pasta can convey. And today, there’s an ever-evolving movement to educate the public about just how diverse, complex and thoughtful the flavors of this foundational ingredient can be. In response to this gap in general culinary knowl- edge, Graison Gill of Bellegarde Bakery in New Orleans and his team are milling their own flour for pastas (and bread, of course), cranking out roughly 2,000 pounds a week and doing some high-end experiments along the way. Lately, they’ve been making pasta using cornmeal from growers in Fairhope, Alabama that “has the colors of the rainbow” and a buckwheat pasta that Gill describes as “beautiful.” “When you’re using and working with fresh flour, you have to remember that up until 100 years ago, there was no such thing as white flour — there was only whole wheat flour. That’s what created what we know as pasta. What we’re doing with our mill is trying to promote fresh flour in the same way that someone talks about fresh vegetables, seafood from the Gulf or wine. Fresh flour has a terroir and dimension and integrity and a lot more flavor than what we’re used to.” And while pasta’s past might be a little bit murky — Marco Polo didn’t quite introduce pasta to Italy, and spaghetti and meatballs isn’t really an Italian dish — the future of this pantry staple seems brighter than ever, as the pastafarians and noodle-heads of today steep themselves in the traditions of the past in order to create the pasta of tomorrow. "You can make flour out of just about anything starchy, even gluten-free ingredients," says Marc Ardoin, Rouses Corporate Chef. To learn how, visit



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by Sarah Baird



hen it comes to the marriage of form and function, few foods can touch pasta. With a toolbox of shapes, sizes and textures to serve the needs of every specific meal, there’s pretty much no excuse for ever using the wrong noodle in a dish. Looking for a type of pasta that can be stuffed, baked and really hold its sauce? The tubular family — with their hollowed- out interiors and stocky bodies — are what you need. Working with a cream- based sauce and interested in twirling your noodles? It’s a ribbon-cut pasta, like fettucine or stringozzi (literally, “shoelaces”), that will fit the bill. If a pasta is needed for soup or stew, it’s the tini- est varieties, known as pastina, that are going to serve you well. And if you’re simply looking to admire a pasta in all of its ornamental glory, there’s an entire subset of decorative pastas created as an homage to attractiveness over functionality, like foglie di ulivo (pasta shaped like olive leaves) or radiatori — pasta created to resemble, of all things, car radiators. “Centuries of Italian invention, industry, agriculture, hunger and politics have shaped pasta into its myriad of forms and flavours,” writes Jacob Kenedy, co-author of The Geometry of Pasta . “Few (if any) of the [pasta] shapes were designed by any one hand. Instead, subtle differences have increased as methods to prepare modern Italy’s staple food have passed from mother to daugh- ter, neighbour to neighbour and town to town. The startling diversity we wonder at in the natural world is mirrored in microcosm in pasta. Evolution is at work.” The following alphabet of pasta shapes only touches the hem of the garment when it comes to the over 200 (and counting) variet- ies available in Italy, but as you dive into these 26 key iterations (and, hopefully, read the short poems for each out loud), you’ll gain a greater appreciation of the complexity of pasta shapes — from A to Z.


C Is for Calamarata C is for Calamarata, often dyed with squid ink; Looking like calamari is its major hoodwink. Calamarata’s Personality: Hailing from Naples, cala- marata, a member of the tubular pasta clan, often finds itself dyed with squid ink to masquerade as rings of squid (aka calamari). Best Sidekicks: These stubby, substantial noodles can stand up to thicker sauces, whether meat or vegetable. (Can’t find it in stores? Any sort of thick-cut, tubed pasta can sub for cala- marata in recipes.)

A Is for Anelli A is for Anelli, a pasta every kid knows… Best from the catchphrase, These plucky little pastas are shaped like small rings, giving them strength in numbers and a good deal of pack mentality. They are the pasta featured in that canned lunchtime classic, SpaghettiOs, but don’t worry — they haven’t let the fame go to their head. Best Sidekicks: Anelli typically finds its way into pasta salads or soups, and lends itself to dishes that are scooped up with a spoon. One unique prepara- tion is a pasta cake made out of anelli known as timballo, which looks like a regular savory Bundt cake, but is actually filled with meats and cheese between the crisped-up pasta layers. “Uh-oh, SpaghettiOs!” Anelli’s Personality: B Is for Busiate B is for Busiate, spiraled tight like a screw; Plus they look quite like Shirley Temple’s hairdo. Busiate’s Personality: A wacky-looking form of maca- roni with a helical, winding shape, busiate hails from the Trapani province of Sicily. Best Sidekicks: Not a pasta variety typically seen on grocery store shelves, this noodle is historically served with a special kind of pesto known as pesto alla trapanese, which is made with almonds, tomato, garlic and basil. (Looking for a substi- tute? A thick macaroni — while not quite as topsy-turvy — will do the trick.)



D Is for Diminutive D is for diminutive — small pastas that are dainty; The kind of snack you want if you’re hungry only faintly. Diminutive Pasta (aka Pastina)’s Personality: So bead-like and so plentiful, this diminutive branch of the pasta family tree — technically referred to as “pastina” — is home to the tiniest pastas out there, whether they appear in star shapes, teensy tubes, mini- macaroni or the smallest possi- ble shells. They are, as you might’ve guessed, quite twee. Best Sidekicks: Since this pasta very closely resembles a grain, it makes a mighty fine pilaf, but take note: It cooks significantly faster than any other pasta.






E Is for Elbow Macaroni E is for Elbow Macaroni, more American than not; But these mac-and-cheese darlings are more complex than you thought. Elbow Macaroni’s Person- ality: Elbow macaroni is a beloved American favorite that’s far more popular with stateside parents-in-a-hurry than their Italian counterparts. Best Sidekicks: I’m trusting that you know what to do with elbow macaroni, whether that’s making classic stovetop mac- and-cheese or going the picnic- ready macaroni salad route. If all else fails? It makes a great kindergarten craft project or macaroni necklace.

G Is for Galletti G is for Galletti, a striking shape that’s quite rare; These fancy noodles honor roost- ers everywhere. Galletti’s Personality: Cock-a- doodle-doo! This highly unique pasta, with its semicircular, cylin- drical shape and ruffled edges, is made to resemble a rooster’s comb — and meant to stand out. Best Sidekicks: This is a pasta so striking that it should be prepared with minimal accompaniment, perhaps just a touch of lemon zest, olive oil and cracked black pepper. (If galletti isn’t easily found, any sort of pasta with a good bit of texture and personal- ity can also make its way to the limelight in place of this strutting star.)

I Is for Integrale I is for Integrale, pasta made from whole wheat; The nutty flavor is strong and the health benefits are sweet. Integrale Pasta’s Personal- ity: If you’re looking for a type of pasta that’s on a wellness kick, look no further than inte- grale, which refers to a class of pasta made entirely out of whole wheat. Best Sidekicks: No matter the exact shape, you’re going to want a sauce that mirrors the earthiness — and potentially chewier texture — of the inte- grale. Roasted vegetables are always a fine choice.



F F Is for Farfalle F is for Farfalle, those little bow- tie-shaped gems; Use them when making pasta salad on a whim.

J Is for Japanese Noodles J is for Japanese Noodles: Udon, Soba and more; There are so many types you’ll surely adore. Japanese Noodles’ Person- ality: Japan’s wide variety of noodles are points of pride for various regions of the country, from the buckwheat-based soba of the Nagano Prefecture, to ramen, to udon’s thicker wheat noodles, which are a mascot of the city of Takamatsu. Best Sidekicks: While there are scores of traditional dishes, served both cold and hot, asso- ciated with each noodle variety, most heavily lend themselves to preparations in broth and, yes, plenty of slurping.

H Is for Angel Hair H is for Angel Hair, the thinnest pasta of them all; Wispy and delicate piled beneath a meatball. Angel Hair’s Personality: The fairest pasta around, angel hair looks like the finest strands of golden locks that have been gathered (by some form of magic, one can only assume) for your pleasure. During the Renais- sance, they were highly prized for their difficulty to make, and were often fed to new mothers. Best Sidekicks: These noodles cook quickly, due to their frailty, and need only the lightest touch of dressing, like a couple of pats of butter.

Farfalle’s Personality: A little bit foppish and fussy, a big bowl of bow-tie-shaped farfalle feels like playing dress-up, even if you’re just snacking in your sweats. Best Sidekicks: Farfalle can stand up to most sauces, but its density lends itself to a cream- based partner. What’s more, the pasta is frequently — and easily — dyed using spinach (for green pasta) and beetroot (for red pasta).


M K O K Is for Kifli K is for Kifli, the pasta Chifferi’s namesake; It’s an ancient-type bread that everyone baked. M Is for Manicotti M is for Manicotti, one of pasta’s oldest types; These tubular pastas resemble thick pipes.

O Is for Orecchiette O is for Orecchiette, “little ears,” as they’re known; The love people have for this shape is full-blown. Orecchiette’s Personality: Ask any pasta nerd, and they’ll tell you: There’s pretty much no noodle that’s cuter than orec- chiette. Shaped like “little ears,” these disc-shaped, shallow- bowled pastas have a small divot in the middle that’s perfect for capturing bits of sauce. Best Sidekicks: A favorite for chunky yet brothy, vegetable- based sauces, orecchiette is also often found prepared alongside pork or with broccoli rabe.

Chifferi’s Personality: At first blush, chifferi — which is named after kifli, a yeast roll eaten throughout Europe that has a crescent moon shape — seems an awful lot like elbow macaroni: It’s thick, tubular and bent, after all. There’s one key difference, though: Chifferi is covered in ridges, giving it just a hint more depth than its smooth-textured relative. Best Sidekicks: Substitute it for macaroni in any possible dish, but particularly those with cheesy components. The ridges will ensure that a stronger sauce- to-noodle ratio is picked up in each bite.

Manicotti’s Personality: Look- ing for a pasta that loves — seri- ously, loves — to be stuffed? Look no further than manicotti, with its (relatively) behemoth size, deep ridges and hollow, tubular interior. Best Sidekicks: Manicotti is traditionally built for a blitz of dairy: filled with a ricotta-meets- veal mixture, topped with bécha- mel sauce and tomato sauce, then baked to bubbly perfection.


L P N Is for Gnocchi N is for Gnocchi, which starts with a “G”; But that letter is silent, we all can agree.

P Is forPappardelle P is for Pappardelle, which means “to pig out”; This fine Tuscan noodle is worthy of shouts. Pappardelle’s Personality: A broad, flat noodle that looks more like its ready to wrap a present than go on a plate, these bundles of ribbon noodles have an imposing constitution that few other pasta types can claim. Best Sidekicks: When it comes to pappardelle, the heavier and denser the sauce, the better. This is the time to break out your woodland ragus made out of wild boar and venison, or pile the pasta high with meatballs. Get tough!

L Is for Linguine L is for Linguine, doused with cream sauce or clams; This pasta’s as tough as Jean- Claude Van Damme. Linguine’s Personality: A medium-width variety of ribbon pasta that hails from Genoa, these “little tongues” (yes, that’s what the name means) have the ideal balance of a flat surface and rounded edges for holding plenty of sauce when twirled on one’s fork. Best Sidekicks: Linguine is typi- cally a pasta made for seafood dishes — think clams and lobster.

Gnocchi’s Personality: Most of the time when we’re talking about gnocchi, we mean those delicious, doughy dumplings served doused in pesto or fried up to chewy perfection. When it comes to pasta shapes, though, gnocchi refers to a noodle style that pays tribute to its gnoc- chi-dumpling brethren, with a bulbous, shell-like shape that somewhat resembles a large beetle. Best Sidekicks: Gnocchi- shaped pasta is ideal in any number of bakes due to its scoop-like body, including prep- arations doused in rich ingredi- ents like prosciutto and cream.






Q Is for Quadrucci Q is for Quadrucci, with its four- sided cut; Its very small size means that you’ll need a glut. Quadrucci’s Personality: One of the few pastinas (diminutive pastas, see letter “D”) to be awarded its own unique name, the quadrucci are wee square- shaped noodles. Best Sidekicks: The majority of the time, quadrucci appears in a broth-based soup, and is the kind of noodle that is often made from the “leftovers” of a bigger pasta-making endeavor. (If you’re looking to try your hand at homemade pasta, this is a simple — but delicious! — place to begin.)

S Is for Spaghetti S is for Spaghetti, the most famous of all; Long, thin and lean — its legend stands tall. Spaghetti’s Personality: No pasta shape is more deeply ingrained into our American psyche than spaghetti, whether you’re singing the classic song for kids, “On Top of Spaghetti,” or talking about those famous Spaghetti Western films. It’s a noodle that has used its long, twirly, cylindrical versatility to become nothing short of legend- ary. Best Sidekicks: Spaghetti is a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to sauce pairings, so it’s no wonder the pasta shape accounts for two-thirds of all pasta eaten across the globe.

U Is for Umbrichelli U is for Umbrichelli, from the Umbria region; These wriggly-shaped pastas are a gift for all seasons! Umbrichelli’s Personality: While I tend to stay away from any potentially squeamish comparisons, with umbrichelli, it’s undeniable that this regional specialty — a type of spaghetti — deeply resembles earthworms. Best Sidekicks: This thick, rope- style pasta is typically served with a light sprinkling of truffle — another regional delicacy. (Can’t find it in stores? Any spaghetti on the thicker side should do the trick!)



V Is for Vesuvio V is for Vesuvio: curlicues of delight; Named for a volcano with powerful might. Vesuvio’s Personality: A short, spiraled pasta that gets its name from the (still active!) volcano that looms large over the city of Naples, this attractive noodle is sure to entice the eyes as one’s taste buds (forgive me) erupt. Best Sidekicks: The vesuvio has plenty of nooks and crannies, so can play nicely with a texture- rich sauce, or spin in the other direction and work with a thinner sauce that features similar-sized costars, like beans or hunks of mushroom. (Can’t find it in stores? Fusilli is an easy substitute that still has lots of sauce-holding grip.)


R Is for Ravioli R is for Ravioli, those stuffed pillows of bliss; Filled with fine meats and cheeses you don’t want to miss. Ravioli’s Personality: These pockets of pasta dough stuffed with any number of tantalizing ingredients — from ricotta and lemon rind, to chard and ground beef — are both a noodle style and a pasta category unto them- selves. Best Sidekicks: Raviolis come with the majority of their good- ness built-in, but light tomato sauces often accompany the filled pastas and offset some of the inherent decadence.

T Is for Tortellini T is for Tortellini, often served in a broth; When people dream of this noodle, their mouths, they do froth. Tortellini’s Personality: With a shape that some people believe looks like a belly button, tortellini are deeply beloved, filled, ring- shaped pastas typically stuffed with well-spiced meat, most notably mortadella and pork. Best Sidekicks: While there’s a tendency today for tortellini to be coated in a ragu of some sort, the essence of the pasta really shines through when coupled with a broth or light cream sauce.




W Is for Wagon Wheel Pasta W is for Wagon Wheel Pasta, with its old-timey style; They roll and they tumble through the grocery store aisle. Wagon Wheel’s Personality: Wagon wheel pasta, known in Italy as rotelle, was created in the early 20th century as an homage to automobile workers. With their small, circular shape and spoked centers, it’s a pasta entertaining enough for every- one’s inner child. (Yee-haw!) Best Sidekicks: This pasta is ideal for bakes and casseroles of all kinds.

Z Z Is for Ziti Z is for Ziti, with its all-over ridges; The casserole version is oft-found in fridges. Ziti’s Personality: A medium- sized, rippled pasta that sits somewhere between penne and manicotti in the tubular noodle family, ziti offers up the best of all worlds — holding tightly onto practically any kind of sauce. Best Sidekicks: While most Americans use ziti in a baked, casserole-style form, it can play nicely with everything from springy, garden-rich fare, to ziti timbale, which pairs the pasta with a smattering of bread crumbs and grilled baby octopus. Y Is for Yolks Y is for Yolks, that make egg noodles rich; Their sunny, bright centers are impossible to ditch. Egg Noodles’ Personality: While a large portion of Italian pastas are made with a simple combination of wheat flour and water, others involve eggs in the mix — mostly the yolk. Egg noodles (pasta all’uovo) can be fashioned into a variety of shapes, but one thing’s for sure: They’re all richer and more deca- dent for the egg’s inclusion. Best Sidekicks: Egg noodles require a hearty, meat-based ragu that can go tit-for-tat with such a deeply flavored pasta. This isn’t a job for some watered- down sauce.

We’ve Got Oodles of Noodles! Rouses Chef Marc Ardoin says his favorite food is pasta. “I could — and have — eaten it for breakfast.” Ardoin teaches you how to make perfect pasta every time (hint: most sauces benefit from a splash of pasta water; see pages 68-69). For essential pasta recipes featured in previous issues of our magazine, including classic Roman pastas like cacio e pepe and arrabiata, visit


X Is for the XIV- Century Genovese Coin X is for Corzetti, made in honor of currency; The XIV-century coin is its stamp for all eternity. Corzetti’s Personality: Talk about a rich history! This pasta, named after a XIV-century Genovese coin, is small, thin and round with an emblem hand- stamped onto each side of the pasta. While, traditionally, the embossed relief was a family coat of arms, today you can find everything from a sailboat to wedding bells on customized corzetti. Best Sidekicks: The embossed edges of the corzetti are said to cling to sauce rather well, which typically means thinner fare fash- ioned from walnuts, pine nuts or mushrooms. (Corzetti is a primo type of noodle to make at home — particularly if you have a favor- ite cookie stamp ready to pull double duty for the pasta!)



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