The Exclusive Pasta Shape Trader Joe's Has Permission To Sell

In the great debate of pasta shapes, everyone has a favorite — and no shortage of options. Take a quick stroll down the pasta aisle of your go-to grocery store, and you'll face a paradox of choice. Options range from hollow bucatini to kid-favorite farfalle to classic penne. No matter what you choose, making pasta is a surefire way to a quick and satisfying dinner. Just make sure to avoid the common mistakes when making pasta, and you're guaranteed a batch that's to your liking.

Yet, while pasta shape is a matter of preference, the pasta you choose affects not just your dish's texture but also your options for sauce. Simple butter, tomato, and oil-based sauces complement long pastas, for instance, while pesto and textured meaty sauces work best with equally textured pasta (via The Washington Post). And if you're pressed for time, you can try cooking your next batch of pasta directly in the sauce. 

If your pasta game has gotten a little boring, however, it may be time to add another shape to the mix. Enter cascatelli, a newly-launched pasta that draws inspiration (and its name) from nature. 

Cascatelli, the waterfall-inspired pasta

Move over mafalde. Add another textured, ruffled pasta to the ranks of rotini, cavatappi, and campanelle. Dan Pashman, host of the food podcast "The Sporkful," participated in Trader Joe's launch of cascatelli in February 2022, according to the podcast's Instagram. The pasta has a crinkled, swirled shape whose Italian name fittingly translates to "waterfalls."

The Pashman-created pasta first launched under pasta brand Sfoglini. According to Sfoglini's website, it took three years to configure cascatelli into the shape seen on shelves today. A team consisting of Pashman and Sfoglini artists designed the pasta for "sauceability, forkability, and tooth sinkability." 

While Trader Joe's has since stocked up on the same, Pashman-approved pasta shape, the grocery store's version deviates from the original. According to America's Test Kitchen, the Trader Joe's version is cheaper than Sfoglini's and requires less cooking time. As for flavor, they concluded that the Sfoglini pasta tasted more complex compared to the simpler and more delicate Trader Joe's facsimile.

To test either version for yourself, you have no choice but to head to your nearest Trader Joe's or grab a box from Sfoglini's website. But you'll want more than one package because there are many sauces to choose from.