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15 Fun Pasta Shapes to Know for World Pasta Day

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On October 25, carb lovers from around the world will unite to do some Lady and the Tramp-style pasta slurping on World Pasta Day. You can celebrate this delicious holiday by chowing down on the classics—spaghetti, fettuccine, elbow macaroni, and lasagna (which is both the name of the pasta shape and the moniker for the delicious layered dish)—but why not use such a special day to expand your pasta-loving range with some fun new shapes?

1. Strozzapreti

At first glance, twisted pieces of strozzapreti—which means "priests choker" or "priests strangler" in Italian, and is allegedly named for a gluttonous priest who ate them too quickly—might look like half-made bits of penne or other tube-shaped pasta that just couldn’t hold their shape. But it's meant to look non-uniform. First rolled out into wide sheets (think lasagna), the pasta is cut into big strips, which are then hand-rolled to get their unique appearance.

2. Farfalle (and Farfalline or Farfalloni)

The ever-versatile “bow tie” pasta comes in three sizes to suit every appetite and meal, from the traditionally sized farfalle to a bigger version (farfalloni) and even a little type that works wonderfully in soups (farfalline). A thicker pasta, farfalle can hold up to chunkier sauces and bigger baked dishes while still retaining its bite.

3. Pipe Rigate (and Pipette Rigate)

A perfect new pasta shape for fans of elbow macaroni, both pipe rigate and its tinier version, pipette rigate, offer the kind of curved shape that’s so appealing to bite into. With one slightly closed end, both of the rigates are aces at holding on to thicker sauces.

4. Radiatori

Shaped like little ruffled radiators (hence that adorable name), radiatori are another good bet for thick sauces and hefty casseroles. Kids also love their fun shape, which legend has it was created by an industrial designer in the 1960s (though some trace the shape's creation to the time between the two World Wars).

5. Stelle (and Stelline)

Star-shaped pasta is another surefire hit with kids, and stelle comes in two sizes: the larger stelle are fine on their own (and especially good with just a little butter and salt), while the teensy stelline are perpetual favorites in broth-based soups.

6. Cappelletti

fugzu, Flickr 

Shaped to look like little hats—in fact, they’re occasionally even called “alpine hats”—cappelletti are folded and then twisted to form their unique shape. Some versions are folded up entirely to contain meat filling, resembling small, triangle-shaped ravioli.

7. Anelli (and Anellini)

Another great pick for soups, ring-shaped anelli (and its smaller version, anellini) cook up quickly and hold their thin shape in broth.

8. Campanelle

The bell-shaped pasta is quite a looker, what with its rolled shape and ruffled edges. Big enough to stand up to meaty and chunky sauces, it’s also a popular pick for cold pasta salads that include big bits of veggies and cheese that could crush a less sturdy shape. The name means "bellflower" in Italian.

9. Cavatappi

Consider cavatappi a kind of next level elbow macaroni. Like its cousin, cavatappi is tightly twisted into a pleasing shape, but unlike elbows, it’s got more than one kink in it. Imagine a piece of elbow macaroni that’s made up of two stuck-together pieces—that’s cavatappi.

10. Orecchiette

“Orecchiette” translates to “little ears,” and it’s not hard to see where this shape gets its moniker. Shaped like tiny bowls or teensy ears, this pasta is often used for thick sauces, which stick tightly to their gently concave middle.

11. Rotelle

Another kid-pleaser, this wheel-shaped pasta is both fun to look at (they are wheels made out of pasta, what's better than that?) and a solid pick for pairing with just about anything. Its large gaps and ridged surface provide lots of places for sauce to stick, and all those nooks and crannies are wonderful for meat and veggies to wedge into.

12. Cavatelli

A close cousin of strozapretti, cavatelli is similarly cut from big sheets and then rolled into smaller pieces. Cavatelli pieces are shorter than strozapretti bits, though, and thicker dough makes them resemble tiny hot dog buns.

13. Ditalini

Jennifer, Flickr

A shorter and smaller version of more familiar tube shapes like penne and rigatoni, ditalini is another good pick for soups. The shape is perpetually popular in Sicily, where the pasta is used in all kinds of dishes, including baked casseroles and pasta salads.

14. Conchiglie

The shell-shaped pasta has already proven to be a popular alternative for macaroni and cheese, and larger shapes are perfect for stuffing, but they are also a good bet for baked dishes. Their ridged surface holds on to sauce, and their deep middle easily holds on to thicker ingredients.

15. Gemelli

You might be more familiar with the twisted shape of fusilli or rotini, but the tightly twisted gemelli offer more body and density, perfect for biting into. Although gemelli might look like two strands of pasta twisted into one piece, they’re actually made by rolling a single strand together. The hefty shape is a good pick for pasta salads and cream-based sauces.

All images courtesy of iStock unless otherwise noted. 

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Noriyuki Saitoh
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Art
Japanese Artist Crafts Intricate Insects Using Bamboo
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Noriyuki Saitoh

Not everyone finds insects beautiful. Some people think of them as scary, disturbing, or downright disgusting. But when Japanese artist Noriyuki Saitoh looks at a discarded cicada shell or a feeding praying mantis, he sees inspiration for his next creation.

Saitoh’s sculptures, spotted over at Colossal, are crafted by hand from bamboo. He uses the natural material to make some incredibly lifelike pieces. In one example, three wasps perch on a piece of honeycomb. In another, two mating dragonflies create a heart shape with their abdomens.

The figures he creates aren’t meant to be exact replicas of real insects. Rather, Saitoh starts his process with a list of dimensions and allows room for creativity when fine-tuning the appearances. The sense of movement and level of detail he puts into each sculpture is what makes them look so convincing.

You can browse the artist’s work on his website or follow him on social media for more stunning samples from his portfolio.

Bamboo insect.

Bamboo insect.

Bamboo insect.

Bamboo insect.

Bamboo insect.

Bamboo insect.

[h/t Colossal]

All images courtesy of Noriyuki Saitoh.

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Hulton Archive/Getty Images
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History
P.G. Wodehouse's Exile from England
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Hulton Archive/Getty Images

You don’t get more British than Jeeves and Wooster. The P.G. Wodehouse characters are practically synonymous with elevenses and Pimm’s. But in 1947, their creator left England for the U.S. and never looked back.

Pelham Grenville Wodehouse, better known as P.G., was living in northern France and working on his latest Jeeves and Wooster novel, Joy in the Morning, when the Nazis came knocking. They occupied his estate for a period of time before shipping him off to an internment camp in Germany, which he later said he found pretty pleasant:

“Everybody seems to think a German internment camp must be a sort of torture chamber. It was really perfectly normal and ordinary. The camp had an extraordinarily nice commander, and we did all sorts of things, you know. We played cricket, that sort of thing. Of course, I was writing all the time.”

Wodehouse was there for 11 months before being suddenly released to a hotel in Berlin where a man from the German foreign office named Werner Plack was waiting to meet him. Wodehouse was somewhat acquainted with Plack from a stint in Hollywood, so finding him waiting didn't seem out of the ordinary. Plack advised Wodehouse to use his time in the internment camp to his advantage, and suggested writing a radio series about his experiences to be broadcast in America.

As Plack probably suspected, Wodehouse’s natural writing style meant that his broadcasts were light-hearted affairs about playing cricket and writing novels, This didn’t sit too well with the British, who believed Wodehouse was trying to downplay the horrors of the war. The writer was shocked when MI5 subjected him to questioning about the “propaganda” he wrote for the Germans. "I thought that people, hearing the talks, would admire me for having kept cheerful under difficult conditions," he told them in 1944. "I would like to conclude by saying that I never had any intention of assisting the enemy and that I have suffered a great deal of mental pain as the result of my action."

Wodehouse's contemporary George Orwell came to his aid, penning a 1945 an essay called “In Defense of P.G. Wodehouse." Sadly, it didn’t do much to sway public opinion. Though MI5 ultimately decided not to prosecute, it seemed that British citizens had already made up their minds, with some bookstores and libraries even removing all Wodehouse material from their shelves. Seeing the writing on the wall, the author and his wife packed up all of their belongings and moved to New York in 1947. They never went back to England.

But that’s not to say Wodehouse didn’t want to. In 1973, at the age of 91, he expressed interest in returning. “I’d certainly like to, but at my age it’s awfully difficult to get a move on. But I’d like to go back for a visit in the spring. They all seem to want me to go back. The trouble is that I’ve never flown. I suppose that would solve everything."

Unfortunately, he died of a heart attack before he could make the trip. But the author bore no ill will toward his native country. When The Paris Review interviewed Wodehouse in 1973, they asked if he resented the way he was treated by the English. “Oh, no, no, no. Nothing of that sort. The whole thing seems to have blown over now,” he said.  He was right—the Queen bestowed Wodehouse with a knighthood two months before his death, showing that all was forgiven.

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