The Scordo Pasta Challenge: Vincenzo Eats His Way Through Every Known Pasta Shape

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 I woke up this morning and had a revelation! Well, it wasn’t exactly a revelation of grand proportion like when Einstein told Newton he was all wrong about the physical world back in the early twentieth century rather my revelation was epicurean and it concerned my favorite food on the planet; namely, Pasta!Like Julie Powell’s idea of cooking through all the recipes in Julie Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, I wondered this morning if it was possible for one individual to prepare and consume every conceivable (and available) commercial pasta shape ever produced?

A quick search reveals well over 300 (310 to be exact) pasta shapes - click here for a visual look at most of these shapes.  Attempting to cook and consume one’s way through 300 + pasta shapes would be quite the challenge; after all, one couldn’t make a different pasta shape each night because of issues with weight and general diet (and this is coming from an Italian-American with the metabolism of a humming bird).  But what if we took the Italian-American tradition (at least the one I grew up with in Northern New Jersey) of only consuming a starter (or primo) portion of pasta every Thursday and Sunday night?  If two unique pasta shapes were cooked twice a week then one could get through about 100 pasta shapes in one year and 300+ shapes in about three years (this is assuming the pasta shape world ends at about 310 unique shapes).   Thus, one could complete the above project in about 1095 days!
Today is, indeed, Thursday and I’m eating pasta tonight!  The shape will be Trenne and the sauce will be comprised of peas, butter, olive oil, red onion, garlic, and grated Grana Padano.So, let the challenge begin!  I’ll check off “Trenne” tomorrow from the list of 300+ pastas (see below) and in turn reach my goal by, roughly, February 9, 2014.

IMG_5310
(Little Tommaso says, “Dad, you can do it!”  Big Tommaso is a little more skeptical and says, “You’re crazy!”)

I’ve set up some rules and guidelines for myself:
1. Any claims of consuming a specific shape will be accompanied by photos of me in my home kitchen, along with said pasta shape in at least one photo!  Ordering a pasta shape at a restaurant will not count.
2. I hope to include a recipe with each pasta dish, but I don’t expect to be able to come up with 158 unique sauces (don’t push your luck).
3. There may be times when said pasta shape will be difficult to secure, in that case I may need to either, 1. get on a plane to Italy and conduct a search for the missing pasta shape 2. make the shape at home (if possible) or 3. do a pasta shape substitution.  I’m hoping to avoid #1 and #3!
That’s it; if you can think of another guideline just let me know and I’ll include it above.  I’ll be updating the list below by simply adding the date of pasta consumption and a strikethrough on the given pasta shape (as well as a link).  I’ll be posting individual entries with pasta photo and recipe (hopefully each Friday and Monday).Oh, if you’d like to contribute photos of you and your family cooking you favorite pasta shape then please send pics via email and I’ll be sure to post them!

List of Pasta Shapes (let me know if I’ve missed any):
1.Acini di pepe
2.Agnolotti
3.Alfabeto
4.Anelli
5.Anellini
6.Barbina
7.Bavette
8.Bavettine
9.Bucatini
10.Calamarata
11.Calamaretti
12.Campanelle
13.   Cannolicchi
13.Cannelloni
14.Capelli d’angelo
15.Capellini
16.Capunti
17.Casarecce and/or Eliche Casarecce
18.Casoncelli or casonsèi
19.Casunziei
20.Cavatappi
21.Cavatelli
22.Cellentani
23.Cencioni
24.Chifferi
25.   Chitarra
25.Ciriole
26.Conchiglie
27.Conchigliette
28.Conchiglioni
29.Corallini
30.Corzetti
31.Couscous
32.Creste di galli
33.Croxetti
34.Ditali
35.Ditalini
37.Elicoidali
38.Fagioloni
39.Fagottini
40.Fantolioni
41.Farfalle
42.Farfalline
43.Farfalloni
44.Fedelini
45.Fettuccine
46.Fettuce
47.Fettucelle
48.Fideos
49.Fideuà
50.Filini
51.Fiorentine
52.Fiori
53.Foglie d’ulivo
54.Fregula
55.Funghini
56.Fusilli
57.Fusilli Bucati
58.Fusilli lunghi
59.Garganelli
60.Gemelli
61.Gigli
62.Gnocchi
63.Gomito
64.Gramigna
65.Israeli couscous
66.Lagane
67.Lanterne
68.Lasagne
69.Lasagnette
70.Lasagnotte
71.Linguettine
72.Linguine (parsley, olive oil, and garlic)
73.Lumache
74.Lumaconi
75.Macaroni
76.Maccheroncelli
77.Mafalde
78.Mafaldine
80.Maltagliati
81.Mandala
82.Manicotti
83.Marille
84.Marziani
85.Mezzani pasta
86.Mezze Penne
87.Mezzelune
88.Mezzi Bombardoni
89.Mostaccioli
90.Occhi di Lupo
91.Occhi di pernice
92.Orecchiette (with broccoli, mushrooms, garlic, and onion)
93.Orzo
94.Paccheri (olive oil and black pepper)
95.Pagliaioni
96.Pappardelle
97.Passatelli
98.Pasta al ceppo
99.Pastina
100.Pearl Pasta
101.Penne
102.Penne lisce
103.Penne rigate
104.Penne Zita
105.Pennette
106.Pennoni
107.Perciatelli
108.Pici
109.Pillus
110.Pipe
111.Pizzoccheri
112.Quadrefiore
113.Quadrettini
114.Radiatore
115.Ravioli (with a mushroom tomato sauce)
116.Ricciolini
117.Ricciutelle
118.Rigatoncini
119.Rigatoni
120.Risi
121.Rotelle
122.Rotiniiv>

123.Sacchettini
124.Sacchettoni
125.Sagnarelli
126.Sagne ‘ncannulate
127.Scialatelli of Scilatielli
128.Seme di melone
129.Spaghetti
130.Spaghetti alla chitarra
131.Spaghettini
132.Spaghettoni
133.Spätzle
134.Spirali
135.Spiralini
136.Stelle
137.Stelline
138.Stortini
139.Stringozzi
142.Taglierini
143.Tarhana
144.Torchio
146.Tortelloni
147.Tortiglioni
148.Trenette
149.Trenne (3/12/10, Sauce: peas, red onion, garlic, and grana padano)
150.Trennette
151.Tripoline (3/15/10, Sauce: Braised meat tomato sauce with meatballs, ribs, sausage)
152.Trofie[2]
153.Tuffoli
154.Vermicelli
155.Vermicelloni
156.Ziti
Update: 3/15/10: Manicaretti, who imports Rustichella into the US, told me there are closer to 310 pasta shapes, as opposed to the 158 I had researched earlier (I’ll add the shapes to the above list as I consume them!).  Specifically, the good folks at Manicaretti pointed me to the seminal pasta book, Encyclopedia of Pasta by Oretta Zanini de Vita (here’s the review from the NY Times).  And, in fact, when checking the preface of the book de Vita (no de Ziti!) mentions there are 310 standard pasta variations (not including the sub variations which are basically off-springs of 310 basic shapes).  In turn, my quest deepens and stretches to 2014 (adding another, roughly year and half, to eating every known dry pasta shape on the planet. 
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  • http://www.providentplan.com Paul Williams

    Haha, I think I’ll have to go with your dad and say you’re crazy. But it’ll be a delicious experiment, I’m sure!!! Good luck, Vince!

  • http://www.scordo.com Vincent Scordo

    Say it ain’t so, Paul! I’ve got a year and a half to do it so I’m thinking I can pull this off (whether or not I gain weight is another story). You don’t happen to know my father, do you: ; – )
    Vince

  • http://joedegiorgio.wordpress.com/ Joe DeGiorgio

    Wow, talk about your big, hairy audacious goals!! Good luck with this Vince! I’d like to say I could do this along with you, but my inability to stop with just a “primo” portion would be my undoing (read: xtra lbs).

  • http://susan-myjourney.blogspot.com/ Susan

    Oh my God- now this is my kind of challenge……….what could be better? All that pasta!!!!!
    I cant wait for your recipes and by the way – please hurry and post that recipe for the “Trenne” because I think I want that for dinner tonight!
    I need a special recipe for the “Paccheri” that I won from you!
    Let the challenge begin! Buon Appetito!

  • http://www.scordo.com Vincent Scordo

    Joe, I understand about the urge to eat more than the “primo” portion (my wife needs to hide the pan with the pasta in the oven during dinner so I don’t fill up on pasta!)
    Susan, will do (look for the post first thing in the AM EST). Paccheri is good with a very loose sauce (like a simple tomato sauce or maybe a ragu with crumbled sausage). I have a simple recipe for Pacceri (going back 2-3 posts) with lots of olive oil and grated Grana…
    Thanks for encouragement!
    Best,
    Vince

  • http://calabrisellamia.wordpress.com LuLU

    This is fantastic! Good luck!!!

  • http://www.scordo.com Vincent Scordo

    Thanks, LuLu, I’m going to have to get creative (but I think may end up having the same sauce a few times!). Thanks for the support and spread the word to pasta lovers!
    Vince

  • Marla

    Not to add to your very ambitious goal here, but thought I would mention our local Piemontese specialty, Plin. It is a very small filled pasta, traditionally filled with rabbit but nowadays usually with carne. It looks like a tiny agnolotti, except when it is hand cut it folds over to make a little pleat which holds in the salsa di arrosto, very nicely. Good luck with your very ambitious and noble challenge.

  • http://www.scordo.com Vincent Scordo

    Hi Marla,
    I don’t think I’ve ever seen Plin, I’ll need to ask my mother. I have heard of other ravioli type pastas filled with rabbit. I think rabbit is outstanding and should be used more here in the US.
    Thanks for the encouragement as it will be a difficult undertaking! If you have a photo of Plin I’d love to see one!
    Thanks,
    Vince Scordo

  • http://ciaochowlinda.blogspot.com Ciaochowlinda

    Wow, what a great task you have set for yourself. I love it. I’ll be looking forward to your posts.

  • http://www.olio2go.com Luanne

    As soon as we get a new shipment, we may have shapes to add to your quest: Pennoni Ondulati, Eliche Casarecce, and Fusilli Casarecce! Let us know if you are interested!

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  • http://pastavixen.com BK

    That’s interesting, I am doing a similar stint with pasta on my blog I started last year! I include a little history on how the pasta took shape. Its a work in progress, so take a peek at pastavixen.com and Good luck!

  • http://www.scordo.com Vincent Scordo

    Very cool! There are a ton of pasta shapes so it will take a bit of time! Good luck! I’ll aim to link back to your site in one of my next posts, feel free to do the same!
    Best,
    Vince

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  • Espresso

    wow, what a tall order to take on. I would be interested in an update on this.

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  • http://www.michele.me/blog/ Michele Neylon

    So are you still trying to do this? 

    • scordo

      Hi Michele, yes, I am but it’s going slowly (not that I don’t eat lots of pasta but I tend to consume the same sorts of shapes).  There are shapes that I’ve eaten and written about but haven’t yet linked above (stay tuned)!

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