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Fusilli: Everything About the Pasta Shape

Spiral pastas are commonly used in chunky or creamy sauces as their extra nooks and crannies allow for much better sauce adherence. A great example of this is fusilli, arguably the most popular spiral pasta variant. 

Fusilli is a shaped pasta that originated from Campania, Italy, with lengths ranging from 1.5 to 2.8 inches, and its width being around 0.24 to 0.6 inches. Its name is derived from the Italian word “fuso,” meaning “spindle.” It is extremely versatile and is able to work well in most pasta dishes.

In this article, we’ll cover everything there is to know about fusilli pasta and provide delicious recipes you can try yourself. Let’s dive in!

Fusilli: Origin and Meaning

Here’s a table with essential facts about Fusilli: 

Pasta Shape:Fusilli
Pasta Type:Spiral Pasta
Length:Around 40-70 mm (1.5 to 2.8)
Width:Around 6-15 mm (0.24 to 0.6 in)
Origin:Campania, Italy
Meaning:Derived from the Italian word “fuso,” meaning “spindle.”
Similar Shapes:Gemelli, Rotini

Where Did Fusilli Originate?

Fusilli pasta emerged from Southern Italy. Back then, it was formed by rolling strips of pasta over a rod to create a twisted shape, giving it a shape that loosely resembles a telephone cord. Nowadays, mass-produced fusilli are formed by extruding that pasta dough onto a specific kind of mold. This results in the distinct corkscrew shape that most people are familiar with. 

What Does Fusilli Mean?

The word “fusilli” is known to be derived from the word “fuso” which means “spindle” in Italian, referring to the way in which the pasta is “spun” by pressing and rolling a small rod over the thin strips of pasta to wind them around it in a corkscrew shape. 

Fusilli comes in different variations, the most popular of which are fusilli lunghi (which means long fusilli) and fusilli bucati (which means short fusilli).

What Is the Difference Between Fusilli and Rotini?

Though the two pasta shapes have a lot of shared features, fusilli and rotini pasta each have their own distinct features and uses that can help tell them apart. A fusilli pasta has larger and thicker spirals, while a rotini has tighter and more compact spirals.’

The different shapes of these two pasta varieties also affect how and where they are used. Rotini is better suited to capturing lighter sauces or even in pasta salads, whereas fusilli is better suited to accommodate thicker, heartier sauces.

Traditional Dishes Suitable for Fusilli Pasta

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

Butternut & Bacon Fusilli

Fusilli pairs well with most sauces, but did you know that it can also work in pasta salads? Crisp up some pancetta, roast butternut squash, and sautee spinach, garlic, as well as rosemary for flavor, and you have a nutrient-packed pasta dish that is perfect for any occasion. 

Squash & Spinach Fusilli with Pecans

This incredibly tasty and healthy squash and spinach pasta topped with pecans is not something that only vegetarians can enjoy. It is a low-fat and low-calorie recipe that is easy to prepare and can be done in just 50 minutes!

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

Final Thoughts 

Fusilli pasta is one of the most popular pantry staples and for good reason. It is extremely versatile and it pairs well with most sauces.  Whether it’s tossed in a chunky meat sauce or simply mixed in with fruits on a macaroni salad, fusilli pasta is guaranteed to elevate your next pasta meal. 

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