Behind The Scenes

Today in Our Company Chatroom: Which Pasta Shape Will Reign?

November 17, 2015

Things have been fairly quiet so far in the company chat room this week—nothing much out of the ordinary, just some "extra coffee!" announcements, a brainstorm about what to do with coffee grounds, and a couple of confessions. Until today. It all started with a quick question from Merrill:

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Then things started to get passionate—and fast.

Chocolate milk out of orecchiette?

Photo by Sarah Coates

Our inner children emerge, and they love dinosaur pasta, Spongebob pasta, and pastina.

Photo by James Ransom

Tensions are running high. Farfalle is cause for resentment. Fettuccine is divisive. No one seems ready to give it up for jumbo shells.

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Michael is so inspired he writes a pasta manifesto offline:
Pasta Gripes
Cavatappi: Trying way too hard.
Farfalle: Thinks it’s cute, but either the middle is crunchy or the wings are limp.
Angel hair: Dead horse. Deservedly so.
Jumbo shells: Useful—if you’re a hermit crab.
Penne that isn’t rigate: Hates sauce/fun.

Pasta Greats
Little shells: Peas snuggle inside them and then you have a bowl of accidental micro-dumplings.
Ravioli: Literally a dumpling.
Alphabet: Like eating a cheerful Ouija board.
Pappardelle: One of the chillest pastas.
Pici: Even chiller than pappardelle. Pici doesn’t give a f#[email protected]

Photo by James Ransom

Is Olivia in fact Merrill's toddler daughter Clara? Who will come to jumbo shells' defense?

Important question: What's your favorite pasta shape? Get all fired up in the comments.

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • amysarah
  • Panfusine
  • 702551
  • Coco et Cocoa
    Coco et Cocoa
  • Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm
    Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm
Writing and cooking in Brooklyn.


amysarah November 18, 2015
Depends - overall, I'd say I prefer long pastas. My favorite is Linguini alle Vongole; also with pesto-type sauces (these are all classic pairings for good reason!) Orecchiette with broccoli rabe/sausage is another perfect marriage. For a basic tomato sauce, a smaller tubular one - e.g., cavatappi rigati. Also a big fan of Tortellini in Brodo - made to be together.

But for pure pasta-as-therapy, it's hard to beat Papparadelle (with ragu-ish sauces.)
Panfusine November 18, 2015
For daily school lunches that need to be made early morning, I'll take any pasta that cooks within 10 minutes - all the miniature versions, but the mini elbow macs seem to win out since my son likes my versions of quick stove top mac n cheese,
otherwise, Penne rigate and radiatore seem to rule for other meal session (most likely because Trader Joe's has organic versions of these shapes)
702551 November 17, 2015
The ideal pasta shape really depends on the sauce that's accompanying it.

For the extruded types I'm a big fan of bucatini and malfadine, each one for different sauces. I'd rather buy garganelli over extruded penne.

Manually cut fresh flat egg noodles like tagliatelle or pappardelle are awesome.
Coco E. November 17, 2015
Riddley G. November 17, 2015
I will come to jumbo shells' defense! they're not my favorite, but make baked, stuffed jumbo shells with the usual cheesy and saucy suspect and tell me they're not great
Leslie S. November 17, 2015
If only I knew my call for crazy glue would be publicized to the world (epilogue: I got it!)