Paccheri, One of the Most Celebrated Italian Pastas
WHEN IN NAPLES, PLEASE DON’T SAY “I FEEL LIKE HAVING PACCHERI”
Ok, let’s start with some friendly advice. If you are in Naples, don’t walk around loudly asking for paccheri. In fact, in Neapolitan dialect, paccheri means slaps. Some local passers-by may be too eager to fulfill your request!
A SPY STORY
According to some legends, the sfogline, old pasta makers, used to use paccheri to hide garlic. They smuggled the cloves across the alps and sold them in northern Europe, where Italian garlic was illegal for its potency.
SHAPE IS EVERYTHING
Paccheri hail from beautiful Campania, the southern region nicknamed “Felix”- happy - by the ancient Romans. This pasta - made with durum wheat semolina - is a cornerstone of Neapolitan cuisine. The shape is large and cylindrical, cut in short pieces. Let’s be honest: paccheri are just oversized maccheroni ditalini! Nowadays paccheri are considered elegant, despite their popularity. Every Italian Michelin-starred chef has her or his own special recipe with this pasta. In the past, though, paccheri were a poor-man’s food because of their low cost: all it takes to make them is water and flour.
SOME IDEAS FOR YOUR PERFECT PACCHERI
Usually, paccheri – rigorously cooked “al-dente” - are prepared with tomato sauce, but they are delicious also with seafood. The shape absorbs sauces like ragù alla Bolognese, the traditional meat and vegetable-based sauce named after the beautiful city of Bologna. Some chefs like to fill the paccheri and bake them like the Italian American manicotti. You can try any filling, be it meat, seafood, or vegetable based.
ALWAYS FROM GRAGNANO
If you can, always choose pasta from Gragnano, Italy’s pasta capital. This amazing little village in Campania has been manufacturing pasta since the beginning of the 19th century. Since then, Gragnano pasta has gained international fame. Its secret? Local ingredients: flour and water from the nearby Lattari hills. Gragnano pasta is also bronze-extruded and air-dried. Magnifico has an incredible selection of this Neapolitan gem. Check our Gragnano-imported Cuomo Pasta!
- Donatella Mulvoni