WHAT IS CONCHIGLIE?
The “shells” of pasta, the name comes from the Italian word “conchiglie” or seashell (big shocker there I know). Traditionally they are made in 3 different sizes small (conchigliette), medium (conchiglie), and “holy cow that is huge”(conchiglioni). Some producers take great pride in making these “conch” shells almost life size. While cool, it is also expensive and not the most stable of stuffed pasta cuts (paccheri pasta being a lot easier to whip out with a pastry bag of stuffing). Conchiglie are only made dry, since the fresh pasta would collapse on itself.
WHERE IS CONCHIGLIE MADE?
A newer cut on the pasta scene, they aren’t associated with any one place. However you do tend to see this cut more in the south of Italy then in the north. This might however be because of the Arab influence of stuffed foods on Italian cuisine (for which this cut is ideal).
WHY DID MY BLACK SNAIL SHELLS TURN AN UGLY GREY?
Tomato or squid ink is often used to create colored versions, though with the latter you need to be careful that the manufacturer didn’t supplement the ink with vegetable dye. When you boil that pasta a lot more of the color disappears then normal (even with 100% squid ink you’ll lose some color too). So you end up with an unappealing light grey pasta. Many recipes will recommend adding the squid ink to the dish after you’re done cooking. This creates a more visually striking appearance. And you can do it with other foods besides pasta.
WHAT SAUCES GO WELL WITH THIS PASTA?
While the small shells can be consumed on their own with a sauce, the larger shells really need a stuffing of some sort. If you’d like to see one of our recipes using conchiglie check out our Alfredo sauce recipe!