WHAT IS RIGATONI?
The birth of this legend started long ago with a chef named Toni. Day and night, he struggled to create a new pasta shape in the Italian town of Riga. No that isn’t true, but hey you write over 50 pasta descriptions back to back and see if you don’t get a little weird.
Rigatoni pasta tubes have grooves etched into their sides. This is where they actually get their name. The Italian word “rigare” meaning “to scratch” or “draw a line.” Sometimes rigatoni can be made slightly curved. Or the ridges can spiral down the tube instead of running parallel. Unlike with slanted angle cuts of penne, rigatoni cuts are straight. This pasta is very popular with Sicilian or chunky meat dishes.
WHERE IS RIGATONI MADE?
Where was the wheel first invented? No one knows. But Sicily in particular is known for its’ love of this pasta cut. In keeping with Italy’s love of locavore cuisine, some pasta cuts become more popular when they work better with the more popular local ingredients. Sicily’s love affair with seafood makes these short, hollow tubes excellent delivery vehicles for sauce and protein combinations.
VOLCANO RIGATONI RECIPE FROM 1890 STILL A CLASSIC?
Invented by Chef Alfonso y Ernesto Iaccarino in Naples for his restaurant, this recipe is a visual masterpiece. It uses pasta to form the actual volcano, with ragu for lava and a meatball cheese center. Named in Italian after Mount Vesuvius, it is not a recipe for beginners. But to see one of the more innovative rigatoni recipes around, click here!
WHAT SAUCES GO WELL WITH THIS PASTA?
This is a great cut for hearty sauces, baked pasta, or recipes heavy with seafood or even sausage. Dishes featuring ingredients with contrasting textures like anchovies and almonds work well. While Parmesan cheese has become a generic pairing, many rigatoni dishes feature sheep’s milk ricotta melted on top. But you can even go with a nice Fontina Val d’Aosta or for the sacrilegious, a Red Leicester. If you’d like to see one of our recipes using this beautiful pasta cut, check out Marinara sauce recipe!