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For Pasta Lovers Bored By Spaghetti, There's A New Short, Wavy, Sauce-Holding Shape

Meet cascatelli, a pasta shape created by Dan Pashman, host of the food podcast <em>The Sporkful</em>.
Scott Gordon Bleicher
Dan Pashman
Meet cascatelli, a pasta shape created by Dan Pashman, host of the food podcast The Sporkful.

Why does the world need a new pasta shape?

For Dan Pashman, host of the food podcast The Sporkful, there's just a lot of mediocre pasta out there. There's plenty of room for improvement.

"Spaghetti is just a tube," he tells Morning Edition. "After a few bites, it's the same." And its round shape means it's not great at holding on to sauce.

Meet his cascatelli — Italian for "little waterfalls."

To come up with his own shape, he bought, ate, studied and catalogued all kinds of existing pasta. "I brought together attributes from different shapes that I especially like that have never been brought together in this way before," he says.

Cascatelli is short, with a flat strip and ruffles that stick out at a 90-degree angle. The ruffles give the shape texture, Pashman says.

"That right-angle element is really key to what I think makes this shape different," he says. "There are very few pasta shapes that have right angles. It provides resistance to the bite at all angles. It creates kind of like an I-beam, and that makes for a very satisfying bite."

Pashman has documented his three-year effort to invent a new pasta shape, have a die-maker create a mold and then ultimately sell it. "If you were to ask me which has kept me up more in the past three years — my actual children or this pasta shape — it'd be a tough call."

Click the audio button to hear Dan Pashman describe his pasta shape on Morning Edition.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Rachel Martin is a host of Morning Edition, as well as NPR's morning news podcast Up First.