I Waited 8 Weeks to Try This New Pasta Shape — And I Would Have Been Willing to Wait Even Longer
Perhaps it’s too early to start summarizing the year’s biggest food trends, but I’d be willing to submit cascatelli, a new pasta shape invented by The Sporkful podcast host Dan Pashman, as one of the standouts of 2021. (“It’s not for foodies, it’s for eaters,” his podcast tagline goes.)
For those who don’t know: The curving, ridged pasta was created during an intensive three-year process by Pashman. He documented the process over a series of episodes, from his early declaration that “spaghetti sucks” to a mission that involved designing, testing, and creating the dies, identifying manufacturers, packaging, marketing, and shipping the new pasta shape. The end result is cascatelli, which borrows its name from the Italian for “waterfall.”
It was designed to meet the following three criteria:
- Forkability — the ease with which you can poke and hold a piece of pasta with your fork.
- Saucability — the pasta’s ability to retain sauce.
- Toothsinkability — the pleasing texture of the pasta when you bite into it.
Judging by the continuous back order of cascatelli, made by Sfoglini Pasta in New York’s Hudson Valley, and all the love showered on the pasta across social media, Pashman succeeded in his goal — and then some. (There is a two- to four-week waiting list to have this shipped right now!)
Buy: Sfoglini Cascatelli by Sporkful, $ 19.96 for 4 (16-ounce) boxes
My wife and I are long-time fans of Pashman’s podcast, so we eagerly devoured his pasta-inventing series, and as soon as he mentioned it being available to purchase during an episode, we rushed to Sfoglini’s site and ordered some. Demand immediately began outpacing supply, and all that was available were five-pound bulk bags, but we didn’t care. We were already convinced that this was a pasta shape to love, and even if Pashman somehow missed his mark, how bad could a new pasta shape be?
We placed our order in mid-March and our box arrived about two months later. We eagerly popped it open and planned some meals around it.
Our first foray was simple: a chunky marinara with diced mozzarella. We figured that would be an easy win for our boys, and a thicker sauce would be a good test of the sauceability factor. We had shared Pashman’s story with our boys, so the four of us got to evaluate his work as we ate, and we concluded that he succeeded admirably in creating a pasta that is indeed forkable, sauceable, and toothsinkable.
Since that time, we’ve found that cascatelli works with all sorts of sauces and combinations.
- Tossed with olive oil, pine nuts, roasted red peppers, Italian sausage, and Parmesan.
- Baked into homemade mac and cheese.
- Topped with a trio of sauces evoking the colors of the Italian flag: homemade pesto, Aldi’s roasted garlic Alfredo sauce, and a marinara made local to us by the Florentine.
- One of our favorites so far married cascatelli with the baked feta pasta that flooded TikTok earlier this year. The pasta easily clung to the rich concoction of roasted feta, tomatoes, and seasonings.
As of writing this, we haven’t found a bad use for cascatelli. The story behind its creation is so engaging, it’s hard not to have fun cooking with the end result. Now, if you’ll excuse me, our five-pound bag is getting dangerously low …
Fun fact: This pasta also made our list of Kitchn Essentials, the most exciting groceries available to home cooks in 2021!
Have you got your hands on a box (or bag) of cascatelli? Tell us about it in the comments below!