Hey there, pasta lover! This kit contains 5 of Giada’s favorite pasta shapes, and they’re all unique and great for different uses. Let’s get to know these characters, shall we?
Eliche Grande: These fun spiral noodles translate to “propellers,” and they might remind you of your everyday fusilli – but you’ll notice they’re much larger. This pasta is fantastic for a wide variety of uses, which makes it a great pantry staple to have on hand. All of the ridges on this pasta cling to sauce, making it a great vessel for showcasing your favorite pesto or pomodoro. It’s fabulous in a pasta salad, and because it’s such a hearty pasta, it can stand up to sauces with braised meats or roasted vegetables.
Fregola: On first glance, one might think this shape is pearl couscous – but it is indeed Fregola, a delicious little pasta from the island of Sardinia. What makes fregola so unique is that it gets oven-toasted, which gives it a deliciously nutty depth of flavor – much more than ordinary pasta. Fregola’s history goes all the way back to the 10th century, when it was made by hand by rolling semolina dough in a terra cotta bowl until it formed small beads. Today, it’s passed through bronze dies, giving the surface a rough texture that clings to sauce. Use it in essentially any recipe where you might use orzo or pearl couscous – or for the ultimate comfort food, toss it with some Parmigiano and butter or a bit of pomodoro.
Fusilli Lunghi: This traditional pasta shape hails from Campania, Italy – and it’s as fun to eat as it looks! In the past, this pasta shape was created by wrapping pasta around a knitting needle – the way Giada’s great grandmother once used to do it in Torre Annunziata. Use Fusilli Lunghi in place of bucatini, linguine, or spaghetti in virtually any pasta dish for a new spin (literally!). Fun fact: this pasta shape just so happens to be Jade’s favorite!
Cappelletti: You might be able to guess by the name, but this pasta translates to “little hats” – and we see why! Depending on who you ask, the story is that this pasta was modeled after the shape of military troopers’ caps, or medieval headwear of a Catholic cardinal. No matter what the original inspiration really was, this fun pasta shape is perfect in place of orecchiette or other small pastas. They’re also perfect in soups or stews, so that those little swoops of pasta ridges can hold on to pockets of delicious broth.
Spaghetti Chitarra: Honestly, how could we make a pasta box and not include spaghetti? This isn’t your everyday spaghetti from the grocery store, though – “Chitarra” means “guitar,” which alludes to the mechanism that cuts it into shape which resembles guitar strings. It’s a specialty pasta that hails from Abruzzo, where it is traditionally served with a meaty ragu or little meatballs called “pallottine”. Due to its rustic ridges (aka, rigate!) this pasta will cling to any sauce you toss it in. Use it in any place you’d use spaghetti or bucatini!
All of these pastas come from Giada’s favorite pasta factory, Setaro, in Torre Annunziata. The word “factory,” might make you think of a mass-production operation, but Setaro is anything but. They produce their products in line with centuries-old artisanal traditions, and they only makes one type of pasta each day – about 5 to 6 boxes per minute, compared to a mass factory which would produce hundreds in the same time.
In the hayday of Torre Annunziata back in the early 1900s, there were once 110 pasta factories all operating at once. In the present day, Setaro is the one remaining – and Giada believes it to be the finest pasta in all of Italy. Truly, any suspicion you may have about how could a pasta could really be will go out the window on first bite. With a perfect aldente chew and an almost pillowy quality, this pasta will absolutely spoil you!
The fregola in this box is the only outlier, which is made in Sardinia, where the little shape originates. It is produced by Artinpasta, a historic brand that makes their pasta from the best semolina obtained from ancient grains. The pasta is toasted and dried slowly at low temperatures, which allows them to maintain the properties of the semolina and grains unaltered, which retains both flavor and nutrition of the grains.
Let your imagination go wild and use these pastas in any of your favorite dishes! If you need a point of inspiration, though, turn to Giada’s recipes below.