Radiatori, although visually appealing, are attractive for more than one reason; many are drawn to this shape because of its contentious history. While some believe that it was created in the milieu of the First and Second World War, it is also widely held that radiatori were first modelled after industrial heating features of the 1960s. We’d like to believe the latter; after all, the translation of radiatori into English is quite literally… radiators.
So what exactly is radiatori pasta?
As the name suggests, radiatori are a pasta shape that take after the appearance of old-fashioned steam radiators. Much like their industrial counterparts, radiatori are covered in an exterior of parallel, ridged protrusions and are folded back in on themselves to create a shell-like curvature that is perfectly adept at capturing thick, meaty sauces. This pasta is however also ideal for finer sauces as the outer ridges are able to hold on to thinner consistencies.
Today, many supermarkets and other merchants source radiatori from Italy, but if you’re a keen home pasta chef, they are more than easily made in an extruder machine. Much like in the extrusion process of rigatoni or penne, this shape is cut into short pieces before cooking. As radiatori are made with durum wheat or semolina flour, they are well renowned for holding their shape when cooked. This is because both durum wheat and semolina contain a high gluten content which yields resilient pasta, perfect for when you are looking to eat something with a satisfying, al dente bite.
What shall I eat it with?
If radiatori were nominated for a ‘best superlative’ award, they would surely be crowned ‘best all-rounder’. Due to their squat shape, texture, and gluten content, they pair perfectly with almost any sauce. Here are a few of our favourite recommendations:
1. Radiatori with our rustic pistachio pesto
For our pistachio pesto recipe, we prefer to use a pestle and mortar as it gives you more control over the final consistency of your pesto. You can use a food processor but be careful not to grind too much as our pistachio pesto is at its best when left a little on the rustic side. With only six ingredients, this pesto is simple to make but don’t be worried about using a bit of olio di gomito (elbow grease). The creamy consistency of this pesto will perfectly coat your radiatori while the nutty pistachio remnants will nestle beautifully in their exterior ridges.
2. Radiatori with beef-shin ragù
Yes, this recipe might be with pappardelle, but you can easily substitute this longer pasta in favour of radiatori’s soft shells. Our signature ragù is enriched with Barolo wine, known in Italy both as the ‘King of Wines’ and the ‘Wine of Kings’. When slow-cooked for hours, the melt-in-your-mouth beef shin is the perfect accompaniment to an al dente batch of freshly made radiatori.
3. Radiatori with a simple tomato and basil sauce
When it comes to sauces, there’s aren’t many more simplistic and comforting than a simple tomato and basil sauce. What better way to celebrate the humble tomato than pairing it with an equally understated pasta? The weeknight dinner of dreams.
At Pasta Evangelists, we bring a taste of Italy to your kitchen. Prepared using the freshest ingredients, our gourmet pasta dishes are perfect for those looking to enjoy restaurant-quality meals, delivered to your door, and ready in under five minutes. Order from our weekly menu today, and we’ll offer you 25% off your first delivery - simply enter the code BLOG25 at checkout.