Ciao and welcome to the 8th edition of Pastastic!, your digital guide to everything pasta-related.

New subscriber? Hello and welcome to the ever-so-slightly obsessive, boil-in-hot-water club!

Inside this pasta-packed issue:

BIG-BOY pasta is here!

There's a new pasta shape in town and it's one bowl-full of fun.

pastastic MattNew Additions

This month's offerings include...

- Dribble-inducing ragu

- The easiest pasta sauce known to man

- Rocket and walnut pesto

- Fresh red tomato pasta

- Gorgeous Italian travel posters


Can you freeze pesto?

Pastafact #8

And ragu means... what?

Site of the Month

The finest gourmet pasta and interesting EVOO.

Learning La Lingua

A tidbit of Italian to help you on your travels.

Grazie et buon appetito!

Matt -

"Never eat more than you can lift" - Miss Piggy

BIG-BOY pasta is here!

If you've ever visited my site's different types of pasta page, you'll know that there are hundreds of pasta shapes, with hundreds if not thousands more slight variations.

But surprisingly, brand new shapes don't appear very often.

different types of pasta That's why my eyebrows shot up at roughly the same speed as Susan Boyle's career earnings when I read about THIS pasta bad-boy's s recent launch.

Named 'La Caccavella', this big bowl beauty is the largest pasta available on the market right now and measures no less than 11cm across!

As it's only been launched in Italy so far, I've put my father-in-law on the case to find out when it will ship internationally, plus if I find a supplier who can ship it in the meantime, I'll let you know.

Just think of the possibilities... you could fill it with a thick Italian soup, tomato sauce with meat, ragu of course, vegetable salad... the list goes on and on.

I can't wait to get my hands on it.

New Additions

Lazy-day ragu recipe

I've been mentioning this recipe for ages, so I'm delighted to be able to finally upload it. Marisa, my ever-patient mamma-in-law taught me this Neapolitan treat last month, and it's a beauty. A real Goodfellas-style, day-long stirrer. It is quite simply the BIG DADDY of pasta sauces!

Simple pasta recipe with basil and cherry toms

After the simple yet lengthy ragu recipe above, here's a little 15-minute gem I think you'll love. Just fry up some onions and basil leaves in ‘EVOO’, fling in a few tiny cherry toms, and smother the lot over your favourite pasta shapes. Done...

Rocket and walnut pesto

Truly a recipe for those who love to smother it on. This super-fresh, mouth-watering pesto variation will particularly interest those who've already mastered traditional fresh basil pesto and are looking for a new, scrummy alternative. Best of all, it takes just 10 minutes.
Fresh red pasta recipe

If you like making and eating fresh pasta (and who doesn't?) try this glowing red dough recipe. You need the usual flour, egg and salt, plus a little tomato paste to create a glorious red pasta that goes well with oil, pesto and seafood sauces.

Gorgeous Italian travel posters

Have you traveled to Italy before? Then bring its majesty into your home with this stunning selection of travel prints. With posters and advertisements featuring such eye-friendly places as beautiful Positano, Portofino, Rome and romantic Venice, there's sure to be a piece of art here for you. I hope you enjoy them!


Hi Matt,

I've just made your rocket and walnut pesto, which THANKS is delightful!

Alas I have made heaps and was wondering is this ok to freeze?

(By the way, fabulous site!!)

Adios Tonia

Response: Hi Tonia, and thanks for your mail,

Really glad you liked the pesto! That one is my new favorite too.

And yes you can freeze it no problem... the same goes for pretty much all the veg pastes and sauces on the site (including for example the 3-veg mixture used in meat lasagna, bolognese sauce etc.)


Got your own pasta-head-scratcher? Drop me a mail here.

Pastafact #8

The name 'ragu' indicates a rich, thick sauce, which usually contains meat and/or hearty chunks of veg. The word comes from the same root as the French 'ragout', meaning a thick stew.

(The commercial off-the-shelf pasta sauce, Ragu, of course took its name from this delicious traditional sauce.)

Site of the Month

Olive Nation

OliveNation gives you access to gourmet pastas and delicious olive oil products from many of Italy's small, traditional farmers.

The company ships these products and more - like coffee, vinegars, sea salts etc. - internationally, and the prices are not bad at all.

Just click the pic to visit the site.

Learning La Lingua

If you ever visit Italy, the chances are you'll end up doing 2 things plenty: eating out (well of course) and shopping!

In terms of the latter, I reckon there are 2 key phrases that you should know:

1. I'd like to buy it please!

And... 2. I'm just looking.

Here's what to say...

1. Vorrei comprarlo per favore (vor-ray com-prar-lo 'pear' fav-or-ay)

2. Sto soltanto guardando (stoh sol-thahn-toh gwar-dan-doh)

Quick recommendation:

If you would like to really learn Italian, I very much recommend the Michel Thomas 8-CD audio course.

I've used this a lot – indeed I continue to re-listen to it pretty regularly - and I've found it easier and quicker to learn from than any other language materials (and I've tried a few!). You just grab a coffee, press Play, and then speak when Michel asks you to. It's excellent.

You can find it here on Amazon US (or here on Amazon UK).

Special SiteSell Promotion

Most Popular Pages: May

These Pasta Recipes Made Easy pages were clicked most often last month:

Baked pasta recipes - Filling, hearty dishes that are perfect for those chilly days when Spring still hasn't sprung.

Italian pasta bowls - Funky ceramics your family and guests will love.


Missed your FREE pasta recipe e-book? Right-click here to save it to your PC.

Like the idea of earning genuine online income at home? I recommend this free ebook.

Get updates when new pasta pages appear: here.

Get in touch with recipes, questions and more. Whatever your query, just let me know.

Ciao ciao!


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