Food special: Know your pasta
Can't tell rigatoni from rotola? Here’s a dummy’s guide to understanding new-age pasta shapes
If rotis are a staple diet in most Indian households, in an Italian one, it is pasta. A majority of us are still used to digging into the more regular fare such as penne. Here are a few differently-shaped pastas.
According to food lore, the flat pasta noodles, pappardelle, gets its name from the word ‘pappare’ which means to ‘gobble up’. Pappardelle resembles the flat noodles of Pad Thai Noodles and other pastas such as fettuccini and tagliatelle. At Serafina restaurant (pic) the pasta is served with tomato or pesto sauce.
Stringoli and orecchiette
For those not in the know, there is concave-shaped pasta too. The orecchiette, for example, resembles the shape of a small human ear or small curved shells. The pasta puffs up at boiling point. At the Trident at Bandra Kurla Complex, the orecchiette is served with light, butter-based sauces (pic). Stringoli, on the other hand, resembles twisted twigs with tapered ends. At the restaurant, the pasta makes a cracking combination with heavy, meat-based sauces (pic), as it ensures a mouthful of pasta and meat with every bite.
Rotola and paccheri
If lasagna is stuffed pasta, rotola is a rolled up version of stuffed pasta, with crispy sides. The stuffing can vary to include meat or vegetables and is usually accompanied by a highly flavoursome sauce, such as arrabiata or putanesca, to compensate for the mildly-flavoured fillings. Paccheri, on the other hand, is small fat tubes of pasta that can either be tossed with sauce or stuffed with various kinds of cheeses, finely chopped vegetables or shredded meat. Both are served at Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel (pics).
The slightly thick bucatini gets its name from the Italian words ‘buco’ or ‘bucato’ which mean ‘hole’ and ‘pierced’ respectively. The spaghetti-like pasta is named thus for good reason — strings of the pasta come with a hole at its centre. Unlike other pastas, bucatini takes less time to cook, At the eatery The Sassy Spoon (pic), the bucatini is served with simple olive oil and butter-based sauces. It can also be served with smoked meats and seafood.
The word cappelletti means ‘little hat’ and that is exactly what this pasta resembles. Unlike regular pasta, which is made using plain flour, cappelletti is made of flour and potato paste. Each restaurant stuffs the pasta with its own, special filling. At Indigo Deli in Colaba (pic), for instance, the pasta comes with ricotta cheese, which gives the dish a creamy smoothness. As cappelletti comes with its own flavoursome stuffing, the pasta is best served with simple sauces, such as brown butter sauce or meat ragout.