Paccheri Pasta

These wide pasta tubes from Campania were once used to smuggle garlic, but today the only thing they’re hiding is more delicious sauce.

Size | 1.1 lbs

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A favorite in Campania, Setaro’s paccheri is a pasta with a colorful past. Its name comes from the Neapolitan word for "slap," for the noise that happens when the cooked pasta is mixed with sauce, but that’s only the second most interesting thing about it: This may be the only pasta ever to have been involved in an international smuggling conspiracy!

In the 1600s, the king of Prussia was desperate to boost his country’s garlic industry, which was small and weak compared to its robust Italian neighbors. He banned the import of Italian garlic in an attempt to force his subjects to buy the local stuff, but crafty Campanians discovered that the extra-wide tubes of paccheri were the perfect place to stash garlic cloves. They carried the contraband cloves over the border tucked into their pasta, getting rich while keeping the Prussian people stocked with ultra-pungent Italian garlic.

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 pasta 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.

Setaro does not include a cooking time on their pasta bags; they recommend that savvy cooks should start tasting the pasta after about 10 minutes of boiling to catch it at the perfect al dente texture.

Perhaps in honor of its pungent history, paccheri is often served with extra-garlicky sauces. stuffed with sausage or ricotta and baked in a cheesy, bubbly casserole.

1.1 lbs
Durum wheat semolina, water. Contains gluten.