You’ve heard of bucatini, you’ve dabbled in orecchiette and you’re practically BFF with rigatoni. So yeah, you know a thing or two about pasta shapes. But have you heard of cascatelli? We’re going to guess no, since it’s a brand new noodle.
Food podcast Sporkful, hosted by Dan Pashman, partnered with New York-based pasta maker Sfoglini to invent an entirely new pasta shape called cascatelli, which means “waterfalls” in Italian. It’s being launched as part of the podcast’s “Mission: ImPASTAble,” a five-episode deep-dive into Pashman’s journey to cascatelli, from conception to reality. Throughout the series, Pashman explores the wild world of pasta shapes through heated debates, talks with food experts and a field trip to North Dakota State University’s pasta lab, where there’s a machine that measures the bite force required to eat different pastas. (Who knew?)
The pasta shape itself, which looks like a tiny, starchy cascade of water, is designed to maximize the three essential qualities by which Pashman believes all pasta shapes should be judged: “forkability” (how easy it is to get and keep the pasta on a fork), “sauceability” (how well the noodles hold a sauce) and “toothsinkability” (how satisfying it is to eat). To maximize these factors, cascatelli ended up as a half-tube shape with double ruffles and right angles to hold sauce and add a toothsome texture. According to Pashman, it’s inspired by some of his favorite existing shapes (like bucatini and mafalde), and the entire project took nearly three years to complete.
Having tasted the new noodles firsthand, we can say that cascatelli passes the pasta test with flying colors. And good news for you, it’s available to purchase with nationwide shipping through Sfoglini as of today. Dinner plans, anyone?