Setaro’s vermicelli lunghi is a traditional pasta shape similar to spaghetti. When it was invented in the 14th century, vermicelli was shorter and thicker, more closely resembling its namesake (the name literally means “little worms”). It was so popular that pasta makers in Naples were sometimes called vermicellari! Over time, pasta makers moved away from that less-than-appetizing origin and extended their vermicelli to greater lengths, though they are still thicker than the ultra-thin vermicelli we are used to seeing here in the U.S.
Nobody has taken their vermicelli longer than Setaro, whose lunghi pastas are nearly two feet long. This extra-long version is a memento from the old days, when pasta makers didn’t have a way to precisely measure and cut their product. This pasta is meant to be broken before it goes into the pot, a job that will delight any child who wants to help out in the kitchen.
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.