Look closely at this elicoidali pasta from Setaro and you’ll see why it’s not just another rigatoni. Its name is derived from the Italian word "elica," which means spiral or helix, and the hypnotic swirls that run the length of these medium-length tubes are what sets it apart from the crowd. Its deep-set ridges help sauces cling to the pasta, ensuring every bite is full of flavor.
The subtle but important difference between elicoidali and rigatoni shows just how deeply Italian cooks think about their pasta. Seemingly minor variations in form can radically change the way it works in a recipe, and every pasta shape is best suited to a different preparation. While you can always substitute one for another (Italians hate to let anything go to waste!), it’s true that every kind of pasta has its own true destiny.
Since 1939, the Setaro family have been making pasta on a winding street in Torre Annunziata in Naples. Their factory is on the same street, in fact, where Giada's grandfather once made his own pasta. The semolina flour they use is minimally processed, creating a more flavorful product than those commonly found in the U.S. The company air-dries its pasta in the cool, salt-tinged breezes that blow in through wild rosemary bushes from the Mediterranean coast, a practice that makes for a delightfully chewy finished product.