Fifty Shapes of Yellow: 50 Delicious Italian Pasta Recipes


Shapes of Yellow


Cooking Adventures in the
Geometry of Pasta


by Giada Berlusconi


Fifty Shapes of Yellow

by Giada Berlusconi


Copyright © 2012, little BIG Books

ISBN 978-88-98285-02-0

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I’m sure you don’t even know that something like
Quadrefiore or Radiatori pasta exists, do you?

don’t worry. On April fools’ day 1957, the BBC broadcasted a three minute hoax
report. The “mockumentary” showed a family in Southern Switzerland harvesting
Spaghetti from a fictitious spaghetti tree. This looks ridiculous today but at
that time, pasta wasn’t widely eaten in the UK and a lot of people phoned into
the BBC to know how they could actually grow their spaghetti tree.

if you know that Spaghetti don’t grow on trees, that’s a good start.

are hundreds of different pasta shapes (and sizes) that serve the needs of
different sauces and ingredients. And each shape has its own history and
position on the dining table.

what about the names? Maltagliati means “badly cut”, Strozzapreti “priest
strangler”, Sorpresine “little surprises”, Capelli d’Angelo “angel’s hair”,
Cavatappi “corkscrew”, just to name a few.

this great variety, I chose fifty shapes and combined each with the proper

So, enjoy these recipes and remember: sometimes
food is even better than sex!


Giada Berlusconi

Every recipe is intended as main course and serves

One pound of pasta is needed except where otherwise

Pasta needs to be boiled in six quarts of water with
three tablespoons of kosher salt, although some spicy recipes need only two
(but you’ll find the instructions when needed).

Cooking pasta “al dente” means about one minute less
than the instructions on the package.

If pasta needs to be baked or sauté, “al dente” means
two minutes less.

Adjust the time according to the recipe.

And finally never, ever, rinse pasta.


Bavette Cacio e Pepe

(Bavette with Cheese and Pepper)


Preparation Time:
5 min.


Cooking Time:
15 min.







  • 1 pound Bavette pasta
  • 1 ¾
    cups freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • kosher salt



Bring a pot of
salted water to a boil (six quarts of water, two tablespoons of kosher salt).

Put Pecorino
cheese in a large, non reactive bowl (ceramic or glass, do not use plastic or
metal), add two or more tablespoons of cooking water until mixture is creamy.

Cook pasta “al

Remove the
bavette from the pot with a pasta ladle or with tongs (do not drain them) and
transfer to the bowl.

Toss. If pasta is
too dry, add more cooking water.

Sprinkle black
pepper generously over and serve immediately.


Bucatini all’Amatriciana

(Bucatini with Tomato and Pancetta Sauce)


Preparation Time:
15 min.


Cooking Time:
25 min.







  • 1 pound Bucatini pasta
  • ½
    pound guanciale (do not use bacon), cut in ¼ inch strips
  • 1 (14 oz) can San Marzano tomatoes, passed through the
    food mill
  • 2 tablespoons lard
  • ½ tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup
    freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • salt
  • kosher salt



Bring six quarts
of water to a boil and add two tablespoons of kosher salt.

Heat lard in a
saucepan over medium heat.

Add guanciale and
red pepper flakes. Brown over low heat for two minutes.

Add tomatoes.

Season with salt.

Bring to a boil,
then reduce heat and simmer for about ten minutes.

Cook pasta “al

Drain and
transfer to the

Stir and coat
with the sauce.

Add Pecorino

Toss to coat and


Calamaretti con Calamari

(Calamaretti with Tomatoes and Squids)


Preparation Time:
15 min.


Cooking Time:
20 min.







  • ⅔ pound Calamaretti pasta

  • pound cleaned squids, cut into small thick rings
  • 1 (14 oz) can tomato purée
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 small red
    chilli, deseeded, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • ¼ cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • kosher salt



Bring a pot of
salted water to a boil.

Heat olive oil in
a saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic. After a minute, add chilli.

Cook for about
five minutes, stirring.

Add tomato purée
and wine.

Bring to a boil
then reduce heat to medium.

Add squids.

Cook for three
minutes or until tender.

Remove from heat.
Stir parsley in.

Cook pasta “al
dente”, drain and transfer to the saucepan.

Stir gently for a
couple of minutes. Serve.

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