With the limited selection of pasta shapes found outside of Italy, it may come as a surprise to know that there are over 350 different pasta shapes! The multitude of pasta shapes often serve as a marker of a region as they are carefully designed to adhere to the traditional sauces and recipes of the region and their seasonal ingredients.
Casarecce (ka-sa-RET-cheh), is a short, wide band, loosely twisted to resemble a scroll which in turn creates an elegant ‘S’ shape with narrow grooves down the middle of the pasta. Originating in the sun-kissed region of Sicily, the curves of this lightly twisted shape make it perfect for capturing sauces. It is particularly well suited to more summery, delicate recipes such as traditional Sicilian pistachio pesto or a blend of zest-infused ricotta, tomatoes, basil, and extra virgin olive oil.
This pasta shape can also be found in many other Mediterranean regions of Italy such as Campania. Some coastal regions even produce caserecce al nero di seppia which is dyed with squid ink, giving it an incredible contrast to certain sauces as well as creating a rich, briny taste impeccable for seafood dishes.
How it's made
Casarecce pasta literally translates as ‘homemade’ and is traditionally made by wrapping the small pieces of dough around a metal rod (a ferro or ferretto in Italian) to create its signatory curves. If made on a commercial level casarecce is extruded through a Teflon or bronze die.
Where the Teflon die creates a smooth, shiny texture to the pasta, the bronze die is used in the production of artisanal pasta and is thought to produce a superior quality. This is because it provides the pasta with a rougher, more porous texture which in turn allows for the pasta sauce to easily cling to the pasta as it saturates all the minute imperfections across the surface.
Roberta's Sicilian Pistachio Pesto
If wish to bring a slice of Sicily to your cooking, you can follow chef Roberta’s step-by-step guide below to making a delightfully rich pistachio pesto! This pairs beautifully with casarecce.
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