Pasta was invented nearly 2000 years ago, and the famous food item is still evolving. Some of the most beloved pasta shapes, like penne and cavatappi, have only been around for several decades. The most recent addition to the culinary category is cascatelli—a playful new pasta shape that came about through a podcast, The New York Times reports.
Cascatelli is a collaboration between Dan Pashman of the Sporkful food podcast and the Hudson Valley, New York-based pasta company Sfoglini. As part of the Sporkful series titled “Mission: ImPASTAble,” Pashman spent three years researching and designing a new type of pasta. He gave himself three criteria: sauceability (how well sauce adheres to the pasta), forkability (how easy it is to stab with a fork), and toothsinkability (how satisfying it feels to sink your teeth into it). Cascatelli, named for the Italian word for waterfall, claims to be the perfect marriage of these qualities.
The pasta shape is shorter than a spaghetti strand but longer than most thick noodles, providing maximum surface area for your fork prongs. The shape itself is curved for optimal toothsinkability, with ruffled edges lifting up to create a "sauce trough". A special bronze extruder created specially for the pasta gives it a rough surface that sauce can cling to.
Cascatelli is now available from Sfoglini's website for $4.50 per pound. Reviewers call it "game-changing," but it's not the first pasta shape designed to perfect the food. In the 1980s, two design-focused shapes debuted: marille and mandala. They were both innovative, but neither one stuck around. Here are more stories behind popular pasta shapes.
[h/t The New York Times]