“In Italy, we have many kinds of pasta,” says Salvatore Carecci, founder of Italian restaurant chain Pasta Fresca da Salvatore, “not just macaroni and spaghetti.”
This much is clear from the Pasta Fresca menu itself, which lists 18 pasta varieties – everything from gnocchi to conchiglie. The pasta comes in weird and wonderful shapes, too: there’s panzerotti (“it looks like a little stomach,” says Salvatore), fusilli (“kids love fusilli – they call it ‘spirals’”), tortellini (“a beautiful pasta”) and more.
All this pasta is made fresh every day, either at the restaurants themselves or at Salvatore’s Pandan Loop factory. The factory opened in 1992, four years after the first restaurant on Bukit Timah Road, with just 10 small pasta machines. Now it produces enormous quantities of ravioli, rigatoni and the rest, not just for restaurant customers but for hotels, airlines and other clients.
And, if all these Italian terms have you tongue-tied (linguine means “little tongues”, by the way), here’s a handy table to take to your next pasta-eating session.
Varieties of Pasta
This group includes the mother of all pastas, spaghetti, plus any variety that is perfect for twisting around a fork, from the thin (capellini, vermicelli) to the hollow (bucatini).
Ribbon pasta is long, too, but it’s also flatter and wider. Famous types include fettuccine and linguine. Lasagne is considered a ribbon pasta.
Penne is the best known, but tube-shaped pasta ranges from tiny to enormous, like cannelloni, perfect for stuffing with spinach and ricotta or other fillings.
The shape of pasta is limited only by the imagination of the person working the dough. Farfalle (bow ties) and ruote (wagon wheels) are two common varieties.
Ravioli reigns supreme among stuffed pastas, though ring-shaped tortellini is also very popular, especially served in a meat broth or a ragù.