Some might say that pasta is already the perfect food and couldn’t pasta-bly be improved upon, but not Dan Pashman. Pashman is the host of The Sporkful, a fascinating food podcast where he “obsesses about food to learn more about people.”

In 2018, Pashman embarked on Mission: imPASTAble, a multiyear quest to invent a new pasta shape, actually get it made, and sell it. Pashman collaborated with Sfoglini Pasta Company in Brooklyn, NY, and after three years of research, Cascatelli by Sporkful debuted online in March 2021. It’s now available in grocery stores nationwide.

What are the new pasta shapes?

Dan has said on his podcast that he created Cascatelli because felt that “the common pasta shapes most people are eating are just not that good.” And so, in that same spirit, he set a new challenge for himself in early 2022 — to “pick a couple of hidden gems, shapes that have been languishing in the dusty corners of the pasta canon” and produce them with Sfoglini. A pasta revival, so to speak. In January 2023, Pashman launched two new shapes with Sfoglini — quattrotini and vesuvio. They are available on the Sfoglini website and just launched nationally in The Fresh Market and in the Texas chain Central Market. 


This pasta shape is actually called Cinque Buchi in Italian, which translates to five tubes (thanks, three years of Italian classes). But since Cinque Buchi doesn’t exactly roll off the American tongue, Pashman and Sfoglini coined the catchy new name “quattrotini” for their version of the pasta. The shape consists of four smaller bucatini-style tubes surrounding a larger tube. The Sporkful’s version adds ridges to those outer tubes and is slightly longer.

"I added ridges to the outside to increase sauceability," Pashman told Spoon University in an email. "I was developing a recipe with orecchiette, and when I changed the pasta to quattrotini I had to double the amount of sauce for the same amount of pasta...when it comes to sauceability, this shape is a beast, and biting into it feels like sinking your teeth into a steak."  

Quattrotini has been met with rave reviews. Both of Pashman’s daughters deemed it “perfect,” and reviewers on the Sfoglini site say it’s “absolutely phenomenal” and “gives Cascatelli a run for its money.”

And you probably won’t find this shape anywhere else. Pashman says Cinque Buchi is "only made in Sicily, and only during Carnival. It's unknown even to most Italians." Legend has it that the devil uses this shape to tempt people with the sin of gluttony, and I, for one, can’t wait to try it.


Vesuvio pasta is named for Mt. Vesuvius (yes, the one that destroyed Pompeii) and is rarely found outside of the region around the volcano. It looks “kinda like the ice cream in a soft serve cone," or (less appetizingly) "like a poop emoji," with an opening on top allowing for maximum sauce containment. Pashman’s version is slightly more compact, with extra ridges around the outside to contribute to sauceability. 

"I love its springy bounce in your mouth, which I think makes for a unique type of toothsinkability, and its swirls hold tons of sauce," Pashman told Spoon. "Plus it's shaped like a volcano, which is just fun! Pasta should be fun." I second this. 

On his podcast, Pashman cooked his vesuvio up in a mac and cheese with shrimp and andouille sausage and deemed it the “perfect shape with a saucy dish.” According to a reviewer on the Sfoglini site, “the smooth spiral tubes had a fun mouth-feel, and they soaked up the sauce really well.” Who doesn’t love a fun mouth-feel?

Anyways…this pasta sounds delicious, and Pashman has clearly contributed to its U.S. revival. Prior to the release of The Sporkful’s vesuvio in January, it was described as “a deep cut shape, even in Italy.” Now, a fresh version is being rolled out at Trader Joe’s, and Sfoglini’s version just launched nationally in The Fresh Market and in the Texas chain Central Market. Personally, I’m more eager to get my hands on the OG Sfoglini version, as the TJ’s version doesn’t appear to have the extra ridges and accompanying sauceability.

Cascatelli, Vesuvio, and Quattrotini now form the Sporkful Collection at Sfoglini (which I'm calling the Holy Trinity of Pasta). "All three shapes achieve my core pasta criteria of sauceability, forkability, and toothsinkability, but all in different ways, which I really like," Pashman told Spoon. "The folks at Sfoglini use such high quality semolina and a traditional slow drying method that produces pasta that's so much better than the standard supermarket stuff -- full of flavor and incredibly satisfying to bite into," he added. "Yes it costs more but if you taste it you will understand why!"

And what about the sauce? "They're all very versatile and go well with any kind of thick and/or chunky sauce. The only sauce I wouldn't use is something thin and oily."

Where can I get the new pasta shapes?

Vesuvio and quattrotini just launched nationally in The Fresh Market and in the Texas chain Central Market and are coming to more specialty stores soon. Additionally, they are always available for purchase online directly through the Sfoglini website.