Banza Just Came Out with Its Own Cascatelli Pasta — Of Course, I Had to Try It
Gluten-free eaters, rejoice! If you, like me, felt a deep sense of longing and envy when pasta-lovers everywhere first got to try cascatelli (the new pasta shape launched by The Sporkful‘s Dan Pashman and Sfoglini in 2021), and then again earlier this month when Trader Joe’s, with permission from Pashman, launched its own version, well, our wait is now over: Banza has released their own chickpea-based version of the pasta.
I listened along as Pashman chronicled his (sometimes harrowing, but ultimately triumphant) journey to inventing an entirely new pasta shape on his Mission ImPASTAble podcast episodes, and I was deeply curious about his new cascatelli (Italian for “waterfalls”) shape with a weeks-long waitlist. Which is why it felt so surreal to get to try the new Banza version once it landed on my doorstep a few days ago. Here’s how it went when I made it.
Buy: Banza Cascatelli, $24.99 for six boxes (shipping restarts on 3/14)
How I Prepared the Cascatelli
The instructions on the packaging say to bring salted water to a boil, add the pasta, and then simmer for 10 to 14 minutes. I cooked mine for the full 14 minutes, which yielded the perfect, just-slightly-past-al-dente texture for me. Note: As I made dinner I listened to episode 8 of Mission ImPASTAble, which chronicles the process to make this Banza version. Both Pashman and Sporkful Executive Producer, Emma Morgenstern, agreed they had perfect results around nine minutes, and that Banza was updating the cook time on the packaging to be eight to 11 minutes, which is reflected currently on their website. My point? Taste at the nine-minute mark, and keep tasting until it’s cooked to your liking!
I drained and rinsed the cooked pasta, then tossed it with Marcella Hazan’s tomato sauce with onion and butter. I scooped portions into bowls, and topped them with fresh Parm before heading to the table to dig in.
My Honest Review of Banza’s Cascatelli Pasta
As I took my first bites of the cascatelli, I paid attention to the three elements that Pashman set out to create with his new shape: forkability, sauceability, and toothsinkability. My husband and I agreed that the cascatelli shape was very forkable; we had no issues with pasta slipping or sliding around. In terms of sauceability, I chose Marcella’s tomato sauce for the express purpose of testing this element. The sauce is rich and unctuous from the butter, and I didn’t want to waste a single drop — luckily I didn’t have to, as the cascatelli picked it up in all of its signature waves and ruffles. Banza’s cascatelli crushed the toothsinkability aspect as well. It was very satisfying to bite into this pasta. Pashman notes on his podcast that the chickpea cascatelli creates these little “clusters,” where a few of the cooked pasta pieces cling to each other, and I found that to be true as well.
What I loved most about this whole experience — besides finally getting in on the cascatelli love — is that it forced me to slow down and notice my food as I was eating it. All too often, especially now that we have a toddler, dinner is a wild flurry of activity. I haven’t really stopped to eat mindfully in a long time, and pausing to assess for forkability, sauceability, and toothsinkability (something I’d never think to do on my own) was a welcome change in my normal dining behavior. I hope it inspires me to notice more of what I’m eating in the future! At the very least, I know I have a great gluten-free option the next time a pasta craving hits.
Ready to try it? You can find Banza’s cascatelli on EatBanza.com (they sold out in the first nine hours that it was listed online, but more is on the way!), or in-person at Whole Foods Market locations nationwide.
Have you tried Banza’s cascatelli pasta? Tell us about it in the comments.