dcsimg

How To Make Shaped Pasta

How To Make Shaped Pasta

Shaped Pasta Basics: Think Outside the Box

Pasta comes in an infinite number of shapes and sizes and whether the shapes are straight or curvy, hollow or solid, flat or raised, they all have one thing in common--they have been designed to hold onto sauce so that it does not drip off before the pasta reaches your mouth. Shaped pastas are generally extruded from a special machine that uses different dies to form and cut each individual shape. Die cut pasta is more often sold dried than fresh because the individual pieces are often somewhat thick and heavy and if sold fresh would get crushed by their own weight and stick together.

Shapes Add Texture, Variety to a Chef's Repertoire

Each shape has a different texture and mouth feel and the pasta actually used is often determined by this. The smallest shapes, such as orzo, a rice shaped pasta, are often used in soups. Long ribbons are often used with light sauces or simple olive oil preparations. Smaller, bite sized shapes are frequently used in baked dishes, such as casseroles, in pasta salads, or for children because they are easier to pick up than long noodles. Some shapes look the same, but vary in size. These different sized shapes are often used for completely different preparations. Pasta shells are a good example. At their smallest, sometimes no larger than a pea before they are cooked, they are used in broth or hearty soups. As they increase in size, they are used for dishes such as macaroni and cheese and when they are quite large, they are used for stuffed shells.

Shaped Pasta - What a Mouthful!

It is difficult to keep track of all of the pasta names because there are so many and they are often pronounced quite similarly. Some shapes are named after animals such as farfalle (butterflies), lumaconi (giant snails), and creste di galli (cockscombs). Some pasta shapes are named after industrial items such as fusilli (corkscrews) and radiatori, which resemble small radiators or grills. And still other shapes have somewhat odd names such as orecchiette which resemble and are named for little ears and perhaps the strangest, strozzapreti, which means "priest strangler." They are about 3 inches long and are rolled lengthwise into a shape that resembles a rolled towel. While certain pastas are often used for specific preparations, like lasagna or cannelloni, the pasta actually used is most often left up to the whim of the chef.

About the Author

After receiving degrees from the University of Wisconsin and the Culinary Institute of America, Andrea Rappaport moved into a full-time career in the restaurant business. For over 12 years, she worked in various culinary jobs, including as a cook for Wolfgang Puck at Spago, and ultimately as the executive chef and partner of the highly revered San Francisco restaurant Zinzino. For the past seven years, Andrea has worked as the private chef for one family in the San Francisco area, and continues to expand her culinary portfolio by catering, teaching, and consulting.

Featured Culinary Schools

Searching Searching ...

Matching School Ads
5 Program(s) Found
  • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
  • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
  • Offers programs in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary.
  • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
  • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
Show more [+]
Good for Working Adults
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
5 Program(s) Found
Le Cordon Bleu Schools of North America , Online (campus option available)
  • Its first location, in Paris, officially opened its doors as a culinary school in 1895.
  • Teaches students by having them spend significant time in the kitchen practicing precision techniques.
  • Provide hands-on training from instructors who are certified, master chefs.
  • Offer flexible schedules and online programs.
  • Has 30 schools worldwide, spanning 5 continents, including 17 campuses in the U.S.
Show more [+]
Good for Working Adults
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
1 Program(s) Found
  • Provides students the opportunity to train at home in their spare time to get their high school diploma, train for a new career, or enhance current skills.
  • Offers programs in psychology/social work, business management, medical billing, criminal justice, and more.
  • Member of the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA), the Canadian Network for Innovation in Education (CNIE), and the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE).
  • Features a fully flexible schedule with no classes to attend, leaving the study pace up to the student.
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
1 Program(s) Found
  • Offers more than 150 self-paced, career-relevant programs that are connected to a supportive 24/7 online community of students and faculty.
  • Profiled in many publications such as The Boston Globe, Fox Business, and  Inside Higher Ed.
  • Nearly 25,000 graduates each year.
  • Accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC).
  • Founded in 1890 in Scranton, Pennsylvania    
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses