How often do new pasta shapes get invented or tweaked?

by Janine

Sombrerini (sombreros) - one of the less offensive pasta shapes to be found in Naples!

Sombrerini (sombreros) - one of the less offensive pasta shapes to be found in Naples!

How often do new pastas get invented or tweaked?

Also, how many different kinds of pastas are there?

Even if it was just tweaked a bit like spaghetti and spaghettini... I Googled it and can't find it.

Thanks Matt!

Answer: Wow, now those are some questions Janine! Talk about how long is a piece of string... :-)

Let me try and tackle them in turn...

How often do new pastas get invented or tweaked?

The answer is pretty regularly.

Take Barilla for example, the world's premier pasta producer (at least in terms of volume, if not artisan quality) - this company tends to hit the shelves with several new pasta versions each year.

(See the company's full collection of pasta shapes here - just hover over Products in the top menu.)

Sometimes these are actual new shapes and sometimes they are new versions of existing shapes (most recently, regional-style versions are what I see most of here on the shelves in Switzerland).

I also see more and more wholewheat versions of existing shapes on sale. (These are much healthier than pasta made with 'white' flour since this white stuff is refined, which means lots of its goodness has been taken out - at our place we actually prefer wholewheat these days, as we feel it has more taste.)

Plus, you can now buy Barilla pasta shapes that have veggies integrated into the dough - see these 'Barilla Veggie' offerings here - as a way to help your kids get enough greens for example.

On a smaller scale, artisan pasta makers and smaller boutique producers also make many pasta shapes of their own.

Head to the crazy city of Naples on Italy's South West coast for example and you'll find lots of multi-colored pasta variations for sale - some of them in very risqué genitalia-inspired shapes (that's Neapolitan humor right there!). If you have open-minded friends, these make a most amusing gift!

There's no law on this that I'm aware of either - so if you whip up some fresh pasta of your own and create a new pasta shape then - hey presto! - you're an inventor.

How many different kinds of pastas are there?

As you can imagine then, this question is pretty much impossible to answer without a team of Googleers on full-time salaries.

I continually work on trying to provide the web's largest summary, namely my Different Types of Pasta page, but I'm always finding new varieties to add (it's a never-ending but kind of fun task - I'm a real pasta geek like that). If you see a shape I'm missing, do shout!

And finally, in terms of spaghetti and spaghettini, the way to understand the differences between these - if that's what you were asking - requires a little bit of Italian language knowhow. I explain this over on this page, so I hope that helps.

Great questions - now I need a lie down... :-)


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