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Cascatelli, a Brand New Pasta Shape, plus Pievalta Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore 2017 #ItalianFWT


Welcome to the September Italian Food Wine Travel discussion of the Wines of Marche or Verdicchio Matelica & Jesi. Marcia of Joy of Wine is hosting. You may read her invitation here.

If you are reading this early enough, feel free to join our Twitter chat on Saturday, September 4th. We'll be live at 8am Pacific. Just follow the hashtag #ItalianFWT and be sure to add that to anything you tweet so we can see it.

Here are #ItalianFWT articles about Verdicchio...


Verdicchio is a white Italian grape variety that is grown primarily in the Marche region of central Italy. The name 'Verdicchio' derives from 'verde' meaning 'green' and refers to the greenish-yellow hue that wines made from the grape often have. 

Verdicchio is the primary grape behind two Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) wines produced in the Macerata and Ancona provinces: Verdicchio di Matelica and Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi. In addition to still wines, Verdicchio grapes are used to make sparkling wine and straw wine.

Pievalta Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore 2017

The wine I found comes from the Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi appellation. Pievalta has been farmed organically since its inception and, in 2005, the estate's enologist, Alessandro Fenino, began converting the vineyards to biodynamic farming. They attained Demeter-certification in 2008

This wine is fragrant with aromas of flowers and acacia. And, as with almost all Verdicchio wines, this boasts notes of almond. On the palate the wine shows ripe stone fruit along with a fresh citrus. This was a crisp, refreshing wine that was a perfect match for a simple summer pasta.

Cascatelli, A Brand New Pasta Shape

Call me a skeptic, but I find it really hard to believe that not a single nonna - somewhere on the boot of Italy - has ever made this shape of pasta before. But when a friend dropped off a package of Cascatelli: a brand new pasta shape, I was intrigued.

This shape was created by Dan Pashman, creator and host of The Sporkful podcast and a James Beard Award winner. You can take a listen to the different clips at Mission ImPASTAble including: a debate about pasta shapes, where to buy Pashman's cascatelli, and more.

He took three years to design this shape in collaboration with the pasta artisans at Sfoglini. They looked at three different criteria... 

Sauceability looks at how easily does the sauce 'stick' to the pasta. Cascatelli boasts a half tube with a ruffled rim "for max sauceability."

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Forkability is defined by how much do you have to chase the pasta around your plate or bowl before it stays there and you can get it to your mouth. Cascatelli is longer than most, so there more chance of your spearing it properly. Hmmm...this might just be the most important element of this pasta shape!

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Toothsinkability is what they call the glee at biting into this shape. I find this the least compelling of the criterion. This seems more a product of the blend of flour and semolina versus the shape. But who knows?

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So, there you have the story of Pashman's quest for the pasta with the best sauceability, forkability, and toothsinkability. Eccolà: cascatelli!

To keep it simple and show off the curves and ruffles of this pasta shape, I tossed it with some roasted fioretto cauliflower, braised garden tomatoes, and an artichoke paste mixed with a grassy olive oil.

That's a wrap for my #ItalianFWT exploration of a verdicchio wine pairing. We'll be back next month as Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm kicks off a series that will get us through the end of 2021: The Three Big B's of Italy. Starting with Brunello. Stay tuned...


  1. Fun, new shape to experiment with. I can't believe someone spent 3 years of their life attempting to improve on perfection LOL.

  2. I will have to find some of this pasta. I am really interested int he fioretto cauliflower! Is it like a broccolini for cauliflower? Does it have green notes after roasting? I really want to try this dish paired with the wine!

    1. You are completely right about the fioretto. It is akin to broccollini for broccoli. After roasting, it's remarkably sweet. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. I'm so intrigued by this quest of the perfect pasta shape! How interesting. And of course the pairing sounds wonderful as well.

  4. Forkability, Sauceability and Toothsinkability...I love it! Takes my pasta prep and eating to a whole new level! That's awesome! Although, that shape to me looks a bit dubious. Perhaps I use my imagination too much with that, haha! Anyway, Cam i love that you're totally up for experimentation when it comes to food and I'm a very big fan of Pievalta... One of favorite Verdicchio producers for sure!


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