Ribbons and wheels, bowties and butterflies — Italy has an infinite cache of pasta shapes, each with its own unique history, texture, and place on the dinner table. Each of the peninsula’s 20 regions boasts a different pasta specialty, developed according to its unique microclimate and culture. Food lovers celebrate the air-dried, bronze-extruded pasta that originated in southern Campania; by the same token, the north’s fresh egg pasta is exquisite.
Discover the pasta of Italy from the north to the south.
Trofie: Trofie, a twisted, spiral-shaped short pasta, is native to Liguria. The ribbed spirals perfectly pick up the fine consistency of another Ligurian creation: pesto Genovese made with freshly-ground basil.
Chitarra: Created in Abruzzo, these long thin strands are cut using a tool called la chitarra, the guitar, by pushing the fresh egg pasta dough through the fine strings. Serve with a cream or oil-based sauce.
Gigli: Translated as “lilies,” this fluted pasta was created in Florence, where the lily is the local emblem. Gigli’s rolled edges easily pick up chunkier sauces with meat or vegetables.
Penne: Italian for pens, penne are short pasta with a hollow center. Created in Campania, the home of dry pasta making, this pasta is bronze extruded and air dried. Pair it with a chunkier sauce, or bake it in a dish.
Orecchiette: Orecchiette’s “little ears” seem designed – and likely were – to catch a broccoli rabe-sausage sauce, sourcing readily-available ingredients from its native Puglia.
And this is only the beginning! Bursting with infinite combinations of shapes and sauces, the pasta world may seem daunting. However, Italians eat pasta – proven to be a delicious, versatile ingredient – every day. The trick? Simple: eat pasta the healthy Italian way: cooked al dente, sauced lightly, and portioned reasonably. Visit Eataly in New York or Chicago to enjoy pasta in the restaurants, or shop Eataly’s wide selection of dry pasta online.