Casarecce, one of my favourite pastas!
Despite having lived in Italy for over 15 years, there are still many different types of pasta I have yet to try, be it cooking, making, or just eating them. In fact, the main reason for starting this blog was to record my journey through the wonderful world of Italian pasta, so that others can also learn about it too. And, I hope, join me on my pasta expedition! To date, however, one of my favourites still remains casarecce pasta!
What is casarecce pasta?
Also known as ‘casareccia’ in certain areas of Italy, casarecce is short pasta noodles with curled edges and a groove down the middle. These noodles look a bit like little rolled-up scrolls. Casarecce, which literally means ‘homemade’, was originally made by rolling small rectangles of dough around a thin wooden pin or metal rod, which Italians call a ‘ferro’. Many Italians still use these rods when making this, or other similar pasta, at home.
However, commercially produced casarecce is made using either a bronze die in the case of artisan production, or a Teflon die for mass production. Here in Italy, pasta produced using a bronze die is considered infinitely superior because the pasta has a rougher surface to which sauces adhere better.
Made in Sicily!
Casarecce is originally from Sicily But, it is also a very popular pasta in other regions of Southern Italy. Therefore, the best sauces to serve with it are those of traditional Southern Italian origin with typically Mediterranean ingredients such as eggplant, tomatoes, cheese, and basil. This pasta is also often served with seafood or fish, such as swordfish. In fact, my Sicilian husband’s casarecce with swordfish recipe is a favourite of mine.
Sicilians often eat casarecce with what is known as Sicilian pesto. This is a sauce full of the flavours of typical local produce; ricotta, tomatoes, basil, olive oil, and pine nuts. However, there are a number of other local pestos, in Sicily, such as Trapanese pesto; which is made with basil, almonds, pecorino, and tomatoes as well as almond pesto without the tomatoes. Another Sicilian pesto which deserves a special mention here is one of my favourites; delicious pistachio pesto!
To date, I have used casarecce in two pesto recipes here on the Pasta Project; pumpkin and orange pesto and roasted red pepper pesto. Both of these are really delicious and made even more so by pairing this pasta with them. There is also a great recipe for casarecce with peperonata (sweet pepper sauce).
Dried casarecce can be found in many countries outside of Italy. In fact, a number of UK and US supermarket chains sell it. So, if you haven’t tried this pasta before, look out for it. First time round eat it with homemade pesto if you can. I promise you, you’ll love the combination!
Update: Recent casarecce recipes on The Pasta Project