How well do you know your noodles? There are many pasta noodles we may be familiar with here in the heart of Canada, but we are often stuck in a rut of buying the same old varietals.
In our house, we buy spaghetti, linguine and macaroni often. We get tortellini or ravioli when we plan a meal around it. We buy our lasagnas pre-made, because they're a lot of work (but we know HOW to make one that's to die for).
What are some less common pastas and why are they important? One of the most fun things about Italian pasta is the rich tradition behind how they're made and the names they are given. Check out this quick glossary of some of the more common ribbon-shaped pastas.
Linguine - "little tongues" and it's the wider, flatter noodles.
Fettucine - "little ribbons" and it's flatter than linguine.
Pappardelle - comes from the verb "pappare" which means to "eat with childish joy and pleasure". It is the widest and flattest of the ribbon-shaped pastas. It catches ALL the sauce.
Then there are the lesser known varietals, which we could devote many entire newsletters on. Here are just a few that we thought were captivating:
Mafaldine - flat pasta with wavy edges named after Princess Mafalda of Savoy. It is also known as "reginette" which means "little queens" as a nod to the princess. It's so pretty.
Capellini - otherwise known as "angel hair" pasta is not uncommon, but there is an even thinner varietal called "barbina" which means "little beards".
Bucatini - looks like spaghetti, but has a hole through the middle. Weird! But more space for sauce to get into, so also Yum!
Appiciare - comes from the word "pici" which means "to stick". This one is typically hand-rolled and looks like uneven, sort of round, but sort of squashed spaghetti noodles. It looks very close to spatzle noodles, the homemade German ones many of us grew up with. Apparently the unevenness is what is desirable because - you guessed it - sauce sticks to them!
Discovering the world of pasta is enough to fill up plenty of afternoons going down rabbit holes on the internet, which can be satisfying, but what is more fulfilling is the gentle nudge toward adventure. Reach for a different box on your next grocery trip. If you're a handmade pasta kind of chef, change up your settings and try something new and fun next time.
We're at the end of a long, hard winter here in Manitoba. Keep your spirits up by learning and trying something new!
Check out the following links to even more interesting facts about pasta:
- How to Cook Perfect Pasta
- Visual Guide to Every Type of Pasta
- Guide to Pasta from Whole Foods Market
Around Steinbach, we love our local makers and Nature's Farm Pasta is entirely deserving of a huge shoutout. Nature’s Farm Pasta™ is a line of wholesome and delicious pasta from Nature's Farm, local farmers and producers in Steinbach. They only use world–famous Canadian durum wheat and farm-fresh free-run eggs (from hens fed an all–natural vegetarian diet) to bring you outstanding flavour. Strict adherence to old–world, small–batch production methods has created gourmet pasta that continues to set new standards in taste, texture, and quality.
Prairie Oils & Vinegars is pleased to offer a small variety of their specialty pastas for you to enjoy and dress with your favourite oils and vinegars to create tasty dishes.