WHAT IS GARGANELLI?
The name comes from garganel or the “chicken gullet” it resembles. This famous cut is made with egg pasta. To make it, you press a square piece of pasta dough onto a ridged surface and roll the corners. The result is an etched tube of pasta whose ends are cut at an angle. The grooves of garganelli should run crosswise (unlike penne rigate where they run lengthwise and the flap isn’t visible). A pasta tool known as a “weaver’s comb” along with a tiny rolling pin is traditionally used. But if you’re missing a special comb, you can get away with the handle of a circular spoon. Or a thick chopstick and a cheap bamboo mat (like you’d roll sushi with) will also work.
WHERE IS GARGANELLI MADE?
This cut is rumored to have been invented in Bologna and Romagna. In 1725 Cardinal Cornelio Bentivoglio d’Aragona’s cook created a “quill-like” pasta that was a variation on penne. Whether this is true or not, no one knows for sure.
IS PASTA GOOD FOR ME?
Italian pasta experts that I’ve spoken with are adamant that while pasta is healthy, not all pasta is equally as healthy. The two reasons given (without any scientific analysis, but a lot of passionate hand waving) are pretty straightfoward. First off, the quality of the pasta is based on the quality of the semolina as well as how quickly the pasta dries. The second reason is how it is cooked. Al dente in the United States doesn’t mean the same thing in Italy. To most Americans, a traditional Italian al dente pasta is overcooked. The health benefits come from not cooking the dried dough completely. Instead leave a bit of semi-cooked pasta in the very center of each cut. Supposedly it takes the human body longer to break down al dente pasta. But don’t take my (or their) word for it, click here to read more!
WHAT SAUCES GO WELL WITH GARGANELLI?
Duck ragu is a traditional dish that is sometimes paired with this cut. Other ingredients such as nutmeg, prosciutto or cream sauce are also popular recipes for this pasta. If you’d like to see one of our recipes using Garganelli check out marinara sauce recipe!