We all know what Spaghetti looks like, but did you also know that Italy is home to over 300 types of Pasta?! Yes it is true! So how did it become to be? Well simply because for generation after generation creative Italians have been spinning new variations on local pasta types. Throw in 20 different regions and each little town’s culinary traditions, and this is enough to make even the most experienced Pasta lover’s head spin.
So to simplify things I am going to break down what are some of Italy’s iconic pasta types that can be found in every region. This month we are diving deeper into Le Marche to showcase the types of pasta that you can find on your next trip to Central Italy’s undiscovered gem that has long been hailed “All of Italy Wrapped up into one Region.”
The low-down on Le Marche’s Pasta Types:
Maccheroncini of Campofilone
Maccheroncini of Campofilone has been made for hundreds of years and is very well known abroad by those in foodie circles. It is also one of the few italian pasta types that has received an IGP denomination (To be the real deal, and IGP certified this pasta must only be produced in a specific area, just like Champagne is only Champagne if produced in Champagne. So for it to be Maccheroncini of Campofilone it must be made in Campofilone).
This pasta type is an egg pasta. Generally, egg pasta uses only 25% egg content. However, if you are truly tasting Maccheroncini of Campofilone then you will be getting delicious long thin strands of egg pasta that contain up to 35% egg content, and only uses two other ingredients: water and flour.
Are YOU thinking about trying some maccheroncini at home? I recommend buying it fresh and topping it off with a hearty ragù for some tasty results that will bring you back to your vacation in the Bel Paese!
Go big or go home! Tortelli is a pasta type that can be considered Ravioli’s big brother. These flavour bombs can be two or three times the size of a raviolo. In Le Marche you will usually find these stuffed with pecorino and sage giving them a savoury but delicate flavour profile that is perfect for eating year round. This is the go-to pasta type when you simply don’t know what to eat.
The name of this pasta type literally means “ Little hats” . It is the little cousin of Tortellini. Smaller and lovingly stuffed with tasty morsels of cheese or meat, with a cute little hole that is formed when the two ends of this pasta are pulled together, this is another one of Italy’s many pasta types that are often eaten with broth. So next time you are thinking of making soup you can add a little pasta-inspiration to spice up your recipe repertoire.
This pasta type is another great example of fresh pasta (unlike dried pasta which you will typically find in stores). Passatelli is the quintessential winter pasta. It is one of Italy’s pasta types that is traditionally served with warm broth, bread crumbs and a sprinkling of Pecorino or Parmigiano. The perfect cold winter’s day pick me up!
If brothy dishes are not your cup of tea, Passatelli is also delicious with some thicker sauces. Their long and round shape makes them the perfect little vessels for picking up a flavourful meat sauce.
We all know fresh is best, but fresh pasta types are not always easy to find. Nowadays with a good kitchen aid mixer and a trusty attachment you can cut some corners and make them at home or put to use those pasta making skills you learned on your last Italian trip. Haven’t learned the art of Pasta all’uovo? Well that’s just another good reason to take a cooking class on your next trip to Italy!
Lasagna’s fraternal brother, this is not an official pasta type but more of a baked Pasta dish per se. Vincisgrassi is most identical to Lasagna and is a typical dish that is usually found in northern Le Marche. Layers and layers of goodness, it is made with egg pasta sheets that are stuffed with coarsely chopped meat (unlike lasagna which uses ground beef) and finished off with bechamel sauce (a buttery white sauce which is used as a topping).
This makes Vincisgrassi richer and more decadent than Lasagna, and more solid making them pack a big flavour punch in every slice. As the saying goes “Good things come in small packages” and Vincigrassi is no exception.
Aside from Maccheroncini, which you might find at a local specialty shop, many of these pasta types are not easily found abroad. And honestly that is the beauty of Italian food: so many variations and amazing traditions to be experienced that you can’t visit Italy just once, or even 10 times for that matter! Next time you are seeking out where to visit in Italy to enjoy excellent cuisine, and escape the crowds, check out our trips. Perfect for those of you that love good food, are not group tours types, and want to get the insider’s backstage pass to authentic Italy.
Did we forgot your favourite pasta from Le Marche? Let us know in the comments below!