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The Many Shapes and Uses of Pasta

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You’ve probably moseyed down the pasta aisle and wondered: Why on earth are there so many pasta shapes? And the ones you seen don’t even match the dozens of other variants that you might find in Italy. But the purpose isn’t just novelty: Every pasta shape is itself a tiny carefully designed sculpture that both projects regional pride and tradition, while solving numerous culinary problems. What’s the best way to hold a sauce with a given consistency? How do you balance that sauce with a pleasing mouthfeel that doesn’t hide the pasta’s intrisic flavor? Well, the foodie website Chow (formerly just Chowhound, a sounding board for discriminating foodies) has provided a brilliant summary of dozens of pasta shapes, complete with excellent photography that shows off each texture, and a list of the perfect uses for each variety. Here’s just a sampling of some of the more eccentric shapes you might not have seen, but the the full set is stunning:

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trofie
radiatore
conchiglie
riccioli
campanelle
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