Pasta varieties from Southern Italy
Among Italian recipes, pasta recipes certainly are the most beloved ones. There are so many that you could spend your entire life trying all the pasta shapes and condiments without never get tired. Even if pasta shapes totally change according to every regions' different traditions, Northern Italy vs Southern Italy pasta have some marked differences. One difference concerns the surface: pasta from Southern Italy is smooth while the one from Northern Italy is ridged. Another difference is that traditional Southern Italian recipes include both seafood and meaty sauces, while Northern Italian ones are mostly meat-based and hearty. Combining together the Mediterranean climate and the mountain landscape, Southern Italian food is indeed a mixture of quality products from both the sea and the land, allowing many pasta sauces combinations! Are you ready to discover some pasta recipes from South of Italy?
Orecchiette from Apulia
With the shape of an ear, orecchietta literally means “little ear” and is a typical pasta shape from Apulia whose origins date back to the 12th century! Its most famous recipe is “orecchiette with sausage and broccoli rabe”: a rural Apulian dish made with broccoli rabe - a bitter leafy vegetable also known in Italian as “cime di rapa”. Being an autumn vegetable, this particular type of broccoli is often substitute during summer with roasted tomatoes to create a lighter version of the original orecchiette pasta recipe. If you're lucky enough, walking around the old streets of Bari, you could even run into its famous grandmas (they even conquered the New York Times! ) making homemade orecchiette at ground-floor kitchens opened directly onto the street.
Ziti from Campania
Ziti are long, dried pasta tubes used in Campania for festivals and holidays. Their name derives from the word “zitelle” describing in campanian dialect a maid or single woman, since they are traditionally served during weddings to celebrate the bride’s change of status from “zitella” to wife. Broken by hand just before cooking, ziti pasta are often prepared with cured pork or “lardo” creating a special dish eaten during Sunday lunches: “ziti lardiati” is the amazing combination of lardo with onion, tomatoes and grated cheese.
Fusilli, the international
Fusilli are probably one of the most known pasta shapes: you may know them as “rotini pasta” as they call them in the US, although this name isn’t used in Italy! Fusilli pasta have quite a variety of names according to the different Italian regions and their origin is often disputed between Northern Italy and Southern Italy. In Sicily they are called “busiate”, while in Campania “fusilli avellinesi” and in Basilicata “ricci alla tricaricense” and we could go on and on by listing all their different names. Being a versatile type of pasta, you could let your creativity run free creating both meat or fish sauces or even a fusilli pasta salad perfect for the summer.
Cavatelli from Molise
Cavatelli pasta are originally from Molise - a little region located in the South-Center of Italy –famous for being the second smallest regions of Italy right after Valle D’Aosta. Cavatelli are traditionally made by pressing the three middle fingers into each piece of dough to create a small cavity. This particular procedure derives from a legend saying that the mother-in-law of the future bride would inspect her fingertips: if they looked well-used, it was the sign that she knew how to make cavatelli and therefore be the perfect wife! The best way to eat this pasta type is with pork sausage ragù: a hearty sauce perfect for a typical Sunday lunch.
Spaghetti alla chitarra from Abruzzo
Spaghetti alla chitarra is a classic Southern Italian pasta originating from Abruzzo, a small region known for its landscapes and natural reserves. If you’re wondering what “chitarra” means, yes it really means “guitar”! The “chitarra” is a traditional rectangular wooden frame with vertical wires through which pasta makers push the pasta dough as if they were playing a stringed instrument. This particular process gives the spaghetti a square shape, that perfectly combines with meaty sauces such as the famous mixed meat ragù from Abruzzo made with lamb and tomato sauce.
Anelletti from Western Sicily
If you don’t know what is anelletti pasta, this is totally normal, being a particular pasta variety that you can only find in Sicily! Born in the western part of Sicily, precisely in Palermo, anelli or anelletti are a thin shaped pasta often used to make oven baked pasta dishes. The word “anelletti” in Italian means “small rings” for their particular ring shape. This pasta type is used to make a famous Southern Italian recipe called “timballo”: a delicious pasta cake made with anelletti covered with tomato sauce, topped with mozzarella and parmesan and then baked.
Caserecce from Eastern Sicily
Originally from Eastern Sicily, caserecce pasta is the typical homemade pasta Sicilian families make during Sunday lunches. Their name literally means “homemade”: they are easy to make, you just need to roll small rectangles of dough around a small metal rod called “ferro”. Sicilians often eat this pasta with Mediterranean condiments such as eggplants and fresh seafood or with the traditional Sicilian pesto: the perfect combination of flavors between basil, almonds, pecorino cheese and tomatoes. Fish sauces are highly recommended to create delicious caserecce pasta recipes, try it with swordfish and pistachio and you won't regret it.
Paccheri from Naples
Do you want to know a fun fact about paccheri? It means “to slap” in Neapolitan dialect! In Italian, the word for slap is “schiaffo”, whereas in Neapolitan dialect, it’s “una pacca”. According to a legend, the name derives from the slapping noise made when pouring sauce onto the pasta. Many Italians use paccheri pasta to create a sort of lasagna by filling them with ricotta and then layer it with tomato sauce and Parmigiano cheese before baking it in the oven. We also suggest you trying this particular pasta shape with porcini mushrooms and a garlicky sauce: divine.