The long, ruffled edge of this tripolini from Setaro gives it an elegantly rumpled appearance. These long ribbons are very similar to manfredi or mafaldine, which was named in celebration of the birth of Princess Mafalda of Savoy in 1902. But while mafaldine’s flourishes extend down both sides, tripolini is two-faced: one edge is flat, like fettucine. Somewhat confusingly, the same name is sometimes used to refer to a small bowtie-shaped pasta.
You may notice that some of the the tripolini you receive is broken in the bag—this is not an accident! Before machines made it simple to cut pasta to consistent sizes, pastas would be hung to dry at whatever length the dough created. They were sold with the intention that home cooks would break them up to suit their needs; in Naples, the cracking sound of pasta being broken for Sunday dinner would echo through the streets. Setaro’s tripolini is sold extra-long to carry on that tradition, and is best enjoyed when broken into varying lengths.
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.