Naples on a Plate:
Mastering the Art of Paccheri Pasta

These hefty tubes of pasta whisper tales of rustic Italian kitchens and family feasts, where laughter spills over steaming bowls and every bite oozes with flavor. They're not just pasta; they're an adventure for your palate, a canvas for culinary creativity, and a symbol of Italian warmth and tradition.

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Paccheri hail from Naples, the vibrant heart of Campania. Their origins, much like the city itself, are steeped in a blend of history and legend. Some say they were inspired by the wide-mouthed clay ovens used for baking bread, their generous shape perfect for trapping heat and flavor. Others claim they were born from the ingenuity of Neapolitan cooks, who transformed leftover dough into these robust tubes capable of holding rich, meaty sauces.

Paccheri are an extruded pasta, made with durum wheat semolina and water. This gives them a firm, al dente texture and a smooth surface that cradles sauces with the utmost fidelity. Unlike their slender cousins, these pasta giants demand robust fillings. Think rich ragùs simmered for hours, chunky vegetable stews, or creamy seafood concoctions.

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Here is a recipe to try - Paccheri with Meat Ragù

For the ragù:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound ground meat (beef, pork, or a mixture)
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper to tasteFresh parsley, chopped (for garnish)
  • 1 pound paccheri pasta
  • Fresh basil leaves, for garnish (optional)

  1. Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute more.
  2. Stir in ground meat and cook until browned. Drain any excess fat.
  3. Add crushed tomatoes, red wine, oregano, salt, and pepper to the pot. Bring to a simmer and cook for at least 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens and flavors meld.
  4. Meanwhile, cook the paccheri according to package instructions.
  5. Drain the pasta and toss it with the ragù sauce.
  6. Serve immediately, garnished with fresh basil leaves if desired.

  • Don't be afraid to get creative with your sauce! Paccheri can handle anything from creamy white sauces to spicy tomato blends.
  • Fill those tubes! Paccheri are meant to be generously stuffed, so don't skimp on the sauce.
  • Let the ragù simmer! The longer it cooks, the deeper and richer the flavors will become.