"Spaghetti Sucks" - That New Pasta I Keep Hearing About

This spring Matt told me about a new pasta he'd heard about on The Sporkful, a food podcast with the tagline "It's not for foodies, it's for eaters."  The pasta is called cascatelli--Italian for waterfall--and is the product of a three-year quest to make a more-perfect pasta.  As a rather enthusiastic pasta eater, I was shocked to hear about this.  I guess, silly me, I thought pasta was already pretty perfect.  

But, Dan Pashman had a dream!  He designed cascatelli with three criteria in mind--these make up his ideal pasta--"sauceability (how readily sauce adheres), forkability (ease of getting and keeping it on a fork) and toothsinkability (how satisfying it is to sink your teeth into)."    He goes on to say note that, "most of the pasta shapes out there are only good at one or two.”

Photo credit Wikipedia.
Apparently there is a large segment of people, Dan Pashman and my darling husband included, who think "spaghetti sucks."   I had no idea.  For me that's the classic!  I love spaghetti.  I enjoy twirling up a nice long noodle.  I love 'em with red sauce or with roast veg.  Matt basically never cooks spaghetti.  He leans toward a shorter, chunkier pasta.  I had noticed this, but I guess I didn't realize how widely held this option might be.  The only pasta I'm not much fond of is angel hair and that's only because it is so easily overcooked, not because of shape or anything.

Being from the Spaghetti Sucks camp, Matt was immediately intrigued by Dan Pashman's project.  Once Matt put cascatelli on my radar it kept popping up everywhere.  Everywhere!  I read about it in Popular Mechanics, Smithsonian, Science News, and Chemical and Engineering News as I processed new issues of these magazines at the library.  I heard a piece on NPR.  America's Test Kitchen, our culinary gurus, wrote about it.  Most recently, Time magazine named it one of the best 100 inventions of 2021.

Photo credit also to Wikipedia.

A few weeks ahead of our June anniversary I put in an order for some cascatelli, knowing Matt would love it.  Buuuuuuuut the demand for this new-noodle-everyone-is-talking-about vastly, vastly outpaced production.  I was told to expect the pasta closer to Matt's birthday in September instead.  Oopsy.  Bad planning on my part.  Dan Pashman partnered with a small craft pasta company called Sfoglini in the Hudson Valley.  They use all organic American grains and old-world techniques.  I appreciate their blend of tradition and innovation.  I'd actually like to try some of their other pasta shapes.

Despite my poor timing, Matt was still excited by the gift.  They finally arrived the first week of September and were well worth the wait.  

Cascatelli with a meaty Better Burger marinara sauce topped with fresh, homegrown basil and nooch.

Those cascatelli noodles really are cool looking and very tasty.  The "sauce trough" and ruffles really do help hold more sauce, making each bite more flavorful.  They're easy to cook to perfect al dente, again, I think the ruffles have something to do with it.  The "toothsinkability" is pretty solid, even if I didn't know that was something I was really looking for in a pasta.  (Side note: The terms used for all three of the ideal pasta criteria bring to mind William Faulkner's delightfully inventive wordplay.)    

I am still going to insist on spaghetti every now and then--variety is the spice of life, eh?--but I really can see what all the hubbub was about.  Cascatelli is a dang good pasta.  I have not doubt that we will buy it again/it will become a household pasta staple in our pasta basket.  Good job, Dan Pashman.


  1. Hi Beth,
    ...I think I like almost ALL types/shapes of pasta...so I'm pretty sure I'd like this one...it's interesting...I've not seen it in the grocery store though...my favorite pasta is still angel hair...which the Man eschews...haha...
    ~Have a lovely day!

  2. Like you, I had no idea that pasta needed improvements! But I do also gravitate towards the short chunky pasta shapes - spirals being my favorite. So I think I need to try this new pasta! I also hate loathe and despise mushy pasta and always cook it less than even al dente ;)


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