Kitchn Love Letters

The Masterminds Behind the Viral Cascatelli Just Launched 2 New Pasta Shapes — And They’re Even Better Than the Original

published Mar 10, 2023
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Kristina Gill's pasta with tomatoes, leeks, fennel and guanciale in bowl
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman | Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

When I was growing up, Sundays were synonymous with red sauce. I don’t even have to close my eyes to picture the large pot on the stovetop, with freshly formed meatballs floating in a sea of simmering crushed tomatoes. During the week, my family’s schedules were awash with long work days and extracurricular activities, but Sunday dinner was our time together (begrudging teenage years included). It’s a tradition we continue to this day, although I don’t make it home as often as I’d like.

So when I heard that Dan Pashman of The Sporkful Podcast and Sfoglini were reuniting to release two new pasta shapes, I knew exactly when and how I’d test them out.  

Credit: Mara Weinraub

What’s So Great About Sfoglini’s Quattrotini and Vesuvio?

After a three-year quest to create the perfect pasta shape with his cascatelli, as well as successful retailer and name-brand spinoffs, you’d think Pashman would either take a beat or at least a long victory lap. But no! It seems he chose another path: launching a duo of unique pasta shapes, Quattrotini and Vesuvio, that are (spoiler alert!) even better than his original.

Inspired by cinque buchi, a hard-to-find pasta with storied roots in Sicily, Italy, Quattrotini is made up of four tubes connected in a four-sided rectangular shape. Pashman also added ridges to the short-cut pasta to maximize its sauceability (more on that below). It’s as if a team of mini penne got together to form this mega Transformer-style pasta shape, whose name — Quattrotini — I now pronounce using a Star Wars-esque voiceover. In short: It’s out of this world. The Vesuvio is more whimsical in its shape, almost Dr. Seussian, and inspired by Mount Vesuvius — hence, the name. 

I immediately noticed how hefty these boxes of pasta felt in my hands. I compared them each to another box of the same size, and although their quantities were identical, both Sfogolini pastas were decidedly heavier. I was curious to see how the density would hold up to Pashman’s official pasta criteria: sauceability (how well the sauce clings to the noodles), forkability (how easy it is to pick up with a fork), and toothskinkability (how pleasant each bite is). So I set a date with my partner for Sunday dinner and counted down the days.

What’s the Best Way to Use Quattrotini and Vesuvio?

On a recent Sunday morning, we headed to the grocery store for the necessary rations and got down to business, which was actually quite pleasant! With the sauce and meatballs accounted for, the pastas were ready for a dip in some boiling water. We cooked each in separate pots for 10 minutes (we like ours al dente), and roughly two minutes apart to allow for stress-free straining, saucing, and cheese sprinkling.

Then we filled up our bowls and headed to the table to feast on all our (and Pashman’s and Sfogolini’s) hard work. The red sauce nestled its way into every nook and cranny in both pasta shapes. From a texture perspective, I was drawn to the Quattrotini, which had a more sturdy chew that I just know would be amazing in a cheesy casserole, a la baked ziti. The Vesuvio is lighter and more bouncy, and was my partner’s favorite of the two. I found myself sticking a fork prong through the smaller Quattrotini tubes simply for fun — and it was! In fact, after very serious testing, each of these shapes were deemed well-suited to the four-pronged approach. 

Credit: Mara Weinraub

We finished both bowls and then relinquished ourselves to the couch for some much-deserved movie watching. The remaining uncooked pasta found its rightful place for breakfast the next morning. Once again, I tried both shapes when I made this breakfast pasta, which is as good and as easy as you want it to be. (Bonus: It has a buttered everything bagel vibes.) While I would truly be happy with a bowl of either shape, I found the Vesuvio — and its more delicate chew — had a slight edge in this preparation. It was slightly more challenging to fork its swirly shapes (they slid around in the buttery-egg sauce and I used a wider bowl), but the texture more than made up for it. 

Maybe it’s time to introduce a Sunday breakfast ritual to the family.

Buy: Sfoglini Quattrotini, $32.94 for 6 16-ounce boxes; Sfoglini Vesuvio, $32.94 for 6 16-ounce boxes