3 Types of Pasta Shapes for Seasonal Spring Cooking

We’re in the glorious thick of spring now—green, budding, delicate spring—and there are not only fruits and vegetables to match the flavors, colors, and cycles of these days, but specific pastas to match, too! Italy has blessed the world with a number of diverse and delicious pastas, and they each lend their own shape and style to a different palate. Here are 3 types of pasta for seasonal cooking this spring, as well as recipe ideas for each pasta.

For anyone interested in pasta, Italian cuisine, or simply from-scratch cooking, I highly recommend you check out “The Geometry of Pasta” by Caz Hildebrand and Jacob Kenedy. Their book was my inspiration for this article, not to mention countless delightful meals I’ve prepared at home.

1. Cavatelli

What it is: The look of small fingers, in cylindrical shapes, almost like a longer, disconnected round of gnocchi, but it’s made with semolina flour. Most commonly paired with vegetable dishes, and rarely with meat. Particularly good with broccoli rabe, green beans, arugula, and cannellini beans.

Cook this: Pan-sear halved cherry tomatoes, crushed garlic, and cannellini beans in ample olive oil. Add baby arugula greens and a splash of both balsamic vinegar and heavy cream; cook until just wilted. Toss with cooked cavatelli and top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

2. Farfalle

What it is: Also known as butterfly or bow tie pasta, farfalle is typically made with semolina flour and sometimes egg, and is shaped like a bow tie. It’s often served in summer and spring dishes, particularly cold pasta salads, and is commonly paired with warm-weather garden vegetables and light seafood or shellfish, as well as light cream sauces.

Cook this: Pan-sear steamed asparagus until just golden; add cream and butter and cook down into a thick sauce. Add fresh dill or basil to taste, along with a splash of sherry. Toss with cooked farfalle and chopped smoked salmon.

3. Ravioli

Perhaps Italy’s most revered stuffed-pasta around the world, raviolis are two squares of pasta filled (often with something creamy) and pressed together, then typically served in a light sauce. Ravioli is best served with browned butter or light cream- or tomato-based sauces that let the filling’s delicate flavor shine. Commonly paired with butter and sage sauce, nut pesto, and fresh herbs.

Cook this: Saute wild mushrooms of choice in ample butter, along with crushed garlic and herbs of choice. Add a few splashes of cream and cook until thickened. Toss with ravioli of choice and finish off with parmesan and snipped fresh herbs.

“The Geometry of Pasta” by Caz Hildebrand and Jacob Kenedy

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Image adapted from Jameson Fink, Flickr, (CC BY 2.0)