Decoding Pasta

I remember living in Italy and my Italian friends would spout out numbers for which type of pasta they are referring to and plan to cook, but I never quite got round to getting to know my pasta in different shapes and sizes. Before everyone thinks I’m crazy, I’m referring to these numbers that everyone ignores and I spend late nights wondering about.

If you’re really into Pasta, you must get The Geometry of Pasta book.


So, while having learnt how to make fresh pasta this year and then doing research to translate spaghetti alla chitarra into Chinese, I investigated further to make more sense of pasta. Chef Marino’s mother, Rosanna will be bringing her guitar pasta cutter in April and I’m looking forward to get my hands on it. Will get photos and videos to update!

Anyhow, I still don’t get the Barilla numeric system of pastas, despite trawling the web for pasta glossaries, but I got to know Barilla much better and would definitely work for them given a chance. It delights me even further than they put thought into their packaging—that’s more points for being environmentally friendly.

I have not done any Italian homework for a week, so I shall do my time with conjugation and new verbs today. I’m hosting an Italian press trip in July and hopefully by then, I will be spouting imperfect Italian with no shame, placing the pronouns clumsily everywhere.

My time at Fabrica seems so long ago, but I’ve recently been reminded very much of it by interesting journalists passing through and my aching nostalgia for all things Italian. If I was only half as obsessed with Italia when I was living there, I wouldn’t be struggling so much in class.

I’m very much looking forward to heading there this summer for a mini fabricanti reunion at the wedding of a dearest friend NS, who taught me about strawberry risotto and Italian fashion.

Updates: my friend Hansi just gave me a list of pasta numbers he knows by heart.

3: spaghettini
5: spaghetti
7: spaghettoni
9: bucatini
11: bavettine
13: bavette
18: mini fusilli
20: pipe rigate
27: stelline
30: filini
33: anellini
34: girandole
37: mini conchiglie rigate
44: maccheroni
45: ditali lisci
46: ditaloni lisci
47: ditalini rigati
59: farfalline
65: farfalle
69: pennette
70: mezze penne rigate
71: penne lisce
73: penne rigate
85: gnocchi
89: rigate
91: pipe rigate

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