Sporkful and Sfoglini’s New Pasta Shapes, Vesuvio and Quattrotini

Reviving and revising rare and forgotten pasta shapes

When food podcast Sporkful and Hudson Valley-based pasta brand Sfoglini invented a new pasta shape, the Cascatelli, in 2021, they put forth a higher standard for pasta that improves more than quality but also creativity and functionality. This year, the pair teamed up to create two more shapes that continue Sporkful creator Dan Pashman‘s criteria for excellent pasta: sauceability, forkability and toothsinkability. The new additions—Vesuvio and Quattrotini—expand the duo’s collection of innovative and design-forward pasta.

by Josh Rubin

While the Cascatelli was undoubtedly successful (and was even named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Best Inventions of 2021), a follow-up pasta was not necessarily in the cards. As Pashman tells us, “Part of the reason why I wanted to make Cascatelli was that I just wanted to see if I could make my own shape. And then once that goal was accomplished, I had this residual curiosity about pasta shapes in general and I became even more passionate about them. Meanwhile, everyone kept coming to me after Cascatelli, saying, ‘Are you going to invent another pasta shape?’ I sort of felt like the sequel is never as good as the original. I didn’t really want to try to invent another shape, but I do like working with pasta shapes. So the idea of looking into the dusty corners of the pasta canon and finding some shapes that are lesser known and bringing those out, that was the most exciting thing.”

Courtesy of Sporkful and Sfoglini

One of those rare and overlooked shapes is the Vesuvio, a spiral-shaped pasta characterized by a larger base that gradually gets slimmer toward the top. It’s named and modeled after Mount Vesuvius with its pyramid-like silhouette that sprouts a thin lip at the top. The duo made slight variations to more traditional forms of the Vesuvio that capitalize on the shape’s ability to retain sauce. They added three twists to each one and made the overall shape shorter to increase the surface area and crannies for sauce to cling onto.

Courtesy of Sporkful and Sfoglini

The Vesuvio is hearty and satisfying, courtesy of its many curls. “It’s got a lot of different bumps and folds and you get all different kinds of textures, which is really important to me—different types of bites. What sensory scientists call ‘dynamic contrast,'” says Pashman.

“And then I like that it’s fun; it’s named after a volcano, it’s like a volcano—that’s just cool,” he continues. “I have my big three categories that I use to judge pasta shapes: sauceability, toothsinkability and forkability. The unofficial fourth criteria is fun. Pasta should be fun; it’s a comfort food. I don’t want to be too precious. All of these shapes are kind of whimsical in their own way, yet, the things that make them fun also make them delicious. I always said with any of these shapes I don’t want gimmicks.”

Courtesy of Sporkful and Sfoglini

For the Quattrotini, Pashman and Sfoglini co-founder Scott Ketchum searched for the shape, originally called Cinque Buchi, for months after seeing an unlabeled photo of it in a catalog. “Scott finally found out what it was called but then nobody in America is making it; almost nobody in Italy even makes it. We ended up ordering it and committing to it without ever actually trying it because we couldn’t get our hands on it. It’s so rare,” says Pashman.

Courtesy of Sporkful and Sfoglini

Cinque Buchi is traditionally served once a year during Carnival season in just one area of Sicily. Pashman and Ketchum’s take on the elusive pasta features four tubes affixed to a larger interior one. “Cinque Buchi means five holes. We renamed it to Quattrotini because to us it looks more like four components. We renamed it, and added ridges to the outside to increase the sauceability and also add another texture in your mouth. We decided to cut it a little bit longer than a traditional Cinque Buchi,” explains Pashman.

Courtesy of Sporkful and Sfoglini

“I think a really unique thing about these is if you look at the set as a whole, they all achieve these principles that Dan set that forth of sauceability, forkability and toothsinkability, but they’re all very different. One shape, the Quattrotini, is a lot longer with more holes and spaces for the pasta sauce to fit into, but then you have Vesuvio which is more like twists and curls and then, of course, the Cascatelli which has a lot of ruffled edging. The three of them really achieved all of those goals but they’re all very different. It makes it a really unique collection,” says Ketchum.

With three varieties to choose from, Sporkful and Sfoglini continue to innovate and expand the world of pasta in playful ways. The two new additions see a reviving and revising of yesteryear’s with precision and passion.

Hero image by Kelly Pau