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Fileja: Everything About the Pasta Shape

When it comes to pasta, more texture is almost always better. Texture in the form of ridges along the outer edge or even just the way the pasta is formed can affect how well it holds sauces. Today, we’ll introduce fileja, a type of twisted pasta. 

Fileja comes from Campania, a region in Italy most known for its vibrant food scene. Although many people believe it to be the same as fusilli, fileja features a long, ribbony shape while fusilli has a more spiral appearance. 

In this article, we’ll cover everything there is to know about fileja pasta and provide delicious recipes you can try yourself. Let’s get into it!

Fileja: Origin and Meaning

Here’s a table with essential facts about fileja: 

Pasta Shape:Fileja
Pasta Type:Twisted Pasta
Thickness:3 mm (0.11 in) to 4 mm (0.15 in)
Origin:Calabria, Italy
Synonyms:Filateddhi, maccaruni aru ferru, maccaruni ’i casa, ricci di donna (woman’s curls)
Similar Shapes:Fusilli, busiate, casarecce

Where Did Fileja Originate?

Fileja pasta comes from Calabria, where it is often served as a pastaciutta alongside ‘nduja and ricotta salata. Because of its robust structure, fileja is said to be one of the best pasta shapes to pair with meaty and chunky pasta sauces. 

What Does Fileja Mean?

While the word “fileja” doesn’t have a direct translation, it falls under the category of maccheroni al ferreto, which means pasta made on iron. 

Traditionally, fileja is made by twisting or coiling a strip of pasta dough around a specific ferretto rod or a thin cane called dinaciulu. This pasta is typically eaten as fresh homemade pasta, but there are some dried or boxed versions available as well. 

What Is the Difference Between Fileja and Busiate?

Fileja and busiate are both maccheroni al ferreto, but what else do they have in common? It is said that fileja and busiate are just different names for the same kind of pasta. Fileja originates from Calabria, while busiate comes from Sicily. 

Traditional Dishes Suitable for Fileja Pasta

Here are some traditional dishes you can make with fileja pasta:

Fileja Tropeana

This refreshing, summery dish comes from Tropea, a seaside town on the coast of Calabria famous for its sweet red onions. Fileja Tropeana features the town’s local summer produce: eggplant, zucchini, and cherry tomatoes. 

Filleja alla ‘nduja e Ricotta

One of the most popular ways to enjoy fileja is by mixing it with ‘nduja, a soft spicy Calabrian sausage, and ricotta cheese. Originally, this dish was considered a peasant dish as ‘nduja was prepared with pig scraps. Today, however, it is marketed as a luxurious pasta dish. 

These simple but delicious dishes are just a few ways you can enjoy fileja pasta.  

Final Thoughts 

Fileja pasta is a unique, robust pasta that is the perfect companion to most pasta dishes. Its sturdy structure allows it to maintain its shape when paired with thick and chunky sauces. Whether its tossed in olive oil with summer vegetables or it’s adding the perfect amount of chew to a hearty ragu, fileja pasta is sure to enhance your next cooking adventure. 

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