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The Hoot’s table: pasta edition

Welcome back to The Hoot’s table. This week, we are debating which pasta shape is best. You can vote on the best pasta on our Instagram story on Saturday, Dec. 5! 

Aaron LaFauci: Conchiglie (shells)

I like shells. They are actually called “conchiglie,” but who can pronounce that? My practical favorite pasta is probably farfalle AKA bowties, but shells simply fascinate me. Conchiglie, as it is apparently known to nobody in America, is a marvel to kids. They are like little ears, and you can play with them like suction cups on your tongue. Shells tend to be served as the mac and cheese pasta in brands like Annie’s and Velveeta, which gives them a special status among the youth. Unfortunately, Annie’s and Velveeta taste like pure stomachache, and it is for that reason that I suspect shells don’t really fly off the shelves like other pastas. 

Shells don’t have to be weird, though. It is true that mac and cheese is the default dish for the funky pasta, but anything creamy will do. The cup shape is perfect for holding your favorite creamy sauces. This power scales with the size of the pasta. You can get really big shells and stuff them with cheese and sauce for a kind of unzipped ravioli. It’s pure fun!

Shells aren’t an everyday pasta, but you will amaze yourself and your guests if you manage to do them right.

Sasha Skarboviychuk: Farfalle (bows) 

The pasta debate is a very heated one in my household. Every time we go to the grocery store, there is a five-minute-long argument over what pasta we should get. To me the right answer is obvious: farfalle. What can be better than perfectly sized bows onto which you can easily scoop sauce and other ingredients? It is also one of the only shapes of pasta which is actually a decent size and convenient to get with your fork. People seem to like penne and rotini, but those are just so inconvenient to eat: who wants sauce leaking out of the pasta (cough, rigatoni, cough)? And who likes to chase your pasta around your plate? Monsters, that’s who. The longer pastas are also pretty good, but they are just so messy to eat, even with a spoon, and I am not one to have sauce all over my face. Imagine enjoying dinner and ending up with sauce everywhere, ugh, I feel gross just thinking about it. And farfalle doesn’t do that, it is very easy to just get a few on your fork and neatly eat them. Shells are great, but they aren’t practical for everything (also who can pronounce their actual name). They are the perfect shape to stuff, but that only goes for the big shells, the ones that are the size of an apple. The small shells are just weird; imagine eating pasta and getting a shell full of sauce? As much as I love pasta sauce, that is a little excessive. And guess what doesn’t do that? Farfalle, which also has the perfect amount of pasta per piece. Bottom line? Stop lying to yourself and admit that farfalle is the best (and cleanest) pasta shape there is! 

Victoria Morrongiello: Rigatoni 

I am pretty well-versed when it comes to pasta, if I do say so myself. Pasta is a staple in the Morrongiello household. Growing up in an Italian household, Sunday dinner was always pasta and red sauce.

There are just so many types of pasta, offering endless variety that never gets old. You’ve got ravioli, linguini, fettuccine, spaghetti, penne, rigatoni, rotini, ditalini and the list goes on! It’s almost sinful to make a person choose one. But there is a correct answer: rigatoni. 

Why rigatoni you ask? Why not rigatoni. 

It’s not as messy as spaghetti or linguine. Whenever you eat spaghetti in red sauce or linguine with garlic and oil you are bound to have some stains on your shirt. There’s no escaping it, even with well-refined motor skills as an adult. It’s also not as thin as penne; penne just doesn’t have as thick or good of a texture as rigatoni. Not to say penne isn’t good, it’s just not all that special. 

Sure, rotini is fun, and so is ravioli, but rigatoni is reliable. It’s a classic that’s always there for you; no matter if it’s with a Sunday meat sauce or pesto sauce or garlic and oil, it’s got your back. Also, it’s objectively a lot more fun to slide the rigatoni noodles onto the teeth of your fork than deal with messy ravioli as the stuffing falls out. 

I’ll admit, in the past, I may not have been the person whose opinions you should listen to. But when it comes to pasta, I’m your gal, and there’s no denying rigatoni is the best. 

John Fornagiel: Fettuccine 

During middle school, in my 8th grade English class, I specifically remember three distinct methods of persuasion: logos, pathos and ethos. I will first appeal to your sense of authority by saying that I come from an Italian background. Specifically, my father has a heavy background in Italian food, so you know you should trust my opinion when it comes to Italian cuisine and pasta shapes.

Okay, be honest, what is the best pasta dish that you can think of? Is it perhaps cheesy, maybe with some grilled chicken and some broccoli? If you are anywhere close to rational, you will understand that fettuccine alfredo is perhaps among the best dishes ever created. The fettuccine provides a perfect medium for grabbing on to the mouth-watering cheesy sauce, and can easily wrap up any chicken pieces and broccoli on to your fork. Not only this, but typical spaghetti and meatballs, while a classic, is often overused, and like all foods, you just get sick of it after having so much of it throughout your life. Fettuccine alfredo provides a fresh take on pasta.

Jonathan Ayash: Spaghetti 

Pasta. Who doesn’t like pasta? Oftentimes, the better question, is what pasta do people like best? For me, it has always only been one type: spaghetti. As a kid, all our meals would include one side and one meat (and vegetables but that’s not the important part).  Probably four out of the seven days in a week, the side would be pasta. On those days, my mom would always ask my brother and I what pasta we wanted. We had loads of pasta types to choose from, ranging from shells to parpelleni to macaroni. But we always gave her the same response: spaghetti. If spaghetti was available, my brother and I were having it.

Spaghetti has that perfect continuity that no other pasta has. By this I mean that spaghetti is the only pasta that is not made into shapes that do not have completely equal surface area along the entire pasta (texture is huge for me). Also, when I eat, I eat big. By this I mean that I love shoveling food into my mouth, in the most respectful way possible. With other pasta, you have to take the time and stab each pasta individually. However, with spaghetti, you can just swirl as much pasta as you want around your fork and insert that straight into your mouth. This means less waiting and more eating. Also, one of the most classic Italian and really any meals, spaghetti and meatballs, requires spaghetti and tastes delicious. Most pastas can replace one another, but there is no such thing as replacing spaghetti.

Thomas Pickering: Linguine 

Italian households are simple because there exists a favorite everything. From movies to games to pasta to children, Italian parents always seem to pick favorites and then make it known which is their favorite. So, following in my heritage here I will say this linguine is the best type of pasta ever. Angel hair—too thin, it needs to eat more! Fettuccini—too fat, it needs to lose some weight! Penne—eh, it’s just fine. Rigatoni—oh God, do not even get me started on this train wreck of a pasta and all those who think it’s their favorite. But linguine—oh my Lord if the Italian hand gesture was something we could put into print boy oh boy would I put it in!

You never want a pasta that escapes your fork or is too big to not swirl so linguine is here to save the day. Not only does it slide perfectly into your fork but yeah, it’ll be a little messy. What kind of day do you remember the most? The one that went by as planned and was fine or the day when things got crazy and you had to enjoy the mess of it? You see, linguine is that second option that is so much more fun. Because what do we really want in a pasta? A good time, and that is that. 

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