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Food52 Winter Games Kick Off with Triple-Loop Noodles

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Everyone talks about athletes carbo-loading before competition, but what if the carbs were the competition? Say, instead of two people curling, two pasta shapes dueling to see who’s the curliest? Yes, please. Can we judge?

Triple-Loop Noodles is the first in our series of Olympics-inspired food face-offs. Up next will be something cheesy, then something sweet—you’ll have to stay tuned to find out more! But for now, grab your scorecard and get to know these fierce competitors:

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Fusilli with Kale-Cashew Pesto

So many loops! How will the judges keep track?!
So many loops! How will the judges keep track?! Photo by Julia Gartland

Don’t underestimate this petite, wound-up pasta. Expect to see not just three, but seven loops on game day. All those nooks and crannies are just right for capturing sauce. In this case, that’s a bright green pesto. Since it’s the winter (rather than summer) Olympics, we opted for Tuscan kale instead of basil. And instead of pine nuts, roasted cashews carry this torch. Add in some grated Parm, minced garlic, and lots of olive oil, and you have a perfect 10.

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Fusilli with Kale-Cashew Pesto

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Serves 4 to 8
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 1/2 ounces chopped Tuscan kale
  • 1/2 cup roasted cashews (salted or unsalted)
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed and peeled
  • 1/3 cup finely grated or ground Parmesan, plus more, for garnish
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound fusilli
  • Red pepper flakes
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Cavatappi with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Brie, and Arugula

The cavatappi lands its loops with such grace! And with a big smile, just look at it go!
The cavatappi lands its loops with such grace! And with a big smile, just look at it go! Photo by Julia Gartland

Another shorty. Cavatappi is a corkscrew, usually ridged. It lands less loops than its competitor—usually two to three. But just wait for its special move: It’s hollow. Like a straw for your pasta sauce. Or for melty Brie! (The crowd goes wild!) Will it clinch the gold medal? Only time will tell. The recipe is a riff on Food52 co-founder Merrill Stubbs’s summertime hit from 2012—it’s been liked 1,212 times (and counting!) since then. We swapped in oily, plump sun-dried tomatoes and peppery arugula.

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Cavatappi with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Brie & Arugula

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Serves 4 to 8
  • 12 ounces Brie, chopped
  • 1 cup drained, oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced or Microplaned
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound cavatappi
  • 3 cups baby arugula
Go to Recipe

Which recipe wins the gold? Tell us in the comments below!

Automagic Spring Menu Maker!
Automagic Spring Menu Maker!

Tags: Pasta, Vegetarian, Pesto