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Message board > Members' Opinion Polls > Members' poll: Do different pasta shapes taste different? 
  

Do different pasta shapes taste different?
Macaroni goes with a cheesy sauce. Fusilli goes with a tomatoey sauce. Spaghetti was invented to go with bolognese, and you can't have cannelloni without spinach and ricotta. All of these shapes have their merits, but do they actually taste different from one another?
Yes  57%
No  43%
Total: 42 members' votes
by Novice Men's 4ths Pasta Night King - Mon 28th Nov 2005, 12:08am
What a stupid poll! Of course different shapes taste different, the 43% of misguided individuals need to be educated in pasta knowledge. Penne and fusili (twirls) are the nicest due to their stabbable nature, whereas spaghetti is the least tasty as you have to wrap it round your fork to eat it, too much effort!
by jpd - Mon 28th Nov 2005, 10:04am
Novice Men's 4ths Pasta Night King said: What a stupid poll! Of course different shapes taste different, the 43% of misguided individuals need to be educated in pasta knowledge. Penne and fusili (twirls) are the nicest due to their stabbable nature, whereas spaghetti is the least tasty as you have to wrap it round your fork to eat it, too much effort!
Surely taste is a matter of opinion? Just because you think two similar products taste different doesn't mean that others won't think they taste the same. It's also surprising, for someone who claims to know so much about pasta, that you spell "fusilli" incorrectly.
by Fusilli Forever! - Mon 28th Nov 2005, 10:45am
Novice Men's 4ths Pasta Night King said: Penne and fusili (twirls) are the nicest due to their stabbable nature.
Everyone knows that Penne actually ming though, due to their tubular, slightly slimy nature. urgh.
by jpd - Mon 28th Nov 2005, 11:00am
Fusilli Forever! said: ...slightly slimy nature. urgh.
That's only if you buy the cheap glutenous dried supermarket penne. Fresh egg penne is delicious.
by Fusilli fan - Mon 28th Nov 2005, 11:13am
I'm with Lilie here, penne is definitely an inferior pasta shape. It's all slippery and you can't get good sauce coverage. Fusilli is *so* to way forward.
by getting hungry just thinking about it - Mon 28th Nov 2005, 4:12pm
Fusilli fan said: penne is definitely an inferior pasta shape [...] you can't get good sauce coverage.
Hmmm. I think the issue is perhaps what kind of sauce you have it with - a veggie/tomatoey sauce requires either conchiglie or a spoon, whereas a thick cheesy sauce can be picked up in penne without getting it all down your clothes and a meaty/tomatoey sauce, falling somewhere in between in terms of consistency, can be eaten with spaghetti as it doesn't stick the strands together too much but doesn't end up left on the plate.

For a totally unbiased comparison of the pasta itself, you have to either eat it on its own or with a standardised sauce (eg pesto). On this basis I agree that fusilli are objectively the best, but would eat any of the other kinds if appropriate for the dish (mmmm pasta...)
by jmg - Mon 28th Nov 2005, 4:33pm
I find fusilli annoyingly hard to eat at speed, spaghetti being much easier to wind onto the fork in huge mouthfuls than trying to stab a decent amount of fusilli / penne etc in one go.
by Confused Arts Student - Mon 28th Nov 2005, 4:52pm
Clearly it must be my lack of scientific knowledge that makes me unable to comprehend how exactly the same pasta can taste different depending of whether the pieces are round, square or oblong... Foolish ignoramus that I am, I would almost be tempted to ascribe any such opinion held to delusional self-suggestion.
by Down with spaghetti! - Mon 28th Nov 2005, 5:06pm
jmg said: I find fusilli annoyingly hard to eat at speed, spaghetti being much easier to wind onto the fork in huge mouthfuls than trying to stab a decent amount of fusilli / penne etc in one go.
Yes, but I always end up getting the wrong amount on the fork and it either slides off or doesn't fit in my mouth. The key to eating fusilli quickly is to add a large amount of cheese to the sauce which then sticks them together, allowing you to pick up several at once with ease (and without trailing strands). I'm with the previous poster; spaghetti's just too much effort.
by Simon - Mon 28th Nov 2005, 5:37pm
Confused Arts Student said: I would almost be tempted to ascribe any such opinion held to delusional self-suggestion.
I agree, and would like to propose a blind test test of uncooked pasta, broken up so that people can't guess the shape by feel.
by I'm not volunteering for that one - Mon 28th Nov 2005, 6:05pm
Simon said: I agree, and would like to propose a blind taste test of uncooked pasta, broken up so that people can't guess the shape by feel.
Noo... isn't the point that the shape contributes to the taste and the "experience"? So your blind taste test of broken up ones would just taste like broken up pieces of pasta (fracalli?!), and wouldn't (unless cooked first) necessarily retain any of the gustatory properties of the original pasta.

I'm also very against the idea of it being uncooked. Yuk (regardless of shape).
by Close reading - Mon 28th Nov 2005, 7:02pm
I'm not volunteering for that one said: Noo... isn't the point that the shape contributes to the taste and the "experience"?
The poll question is quite unambiguously worded. It asks us to disregard the secondary "merits" of these shapes (i.e. their sauce-complementing capabilities), and focus on determining whether "they *actually* taste different from one another?" [emphasis mine]

The "experience" thus has nothing to do with it. I agree that uncooked pasta falls outside the bounds of the question (the cookedness of the pasta is unstated because it is implicit), but the pasta pieces would have to be broken up - a test of their inherent flavour must be blind (if not double-blind) to prevent expectation bias from skewing the results.
by Pasta poll penner - Mon 28th Nov 2005, 7:09pm
I completely disagree that a blind test would be in the slightest bit helpful in this instance. I reckon it's as much about the experience of eating the shapes as it is about the actual ingredients that go in. I'm definitely in the pasta-shapes-tasting-different camp here. After all, fudge and toffee are both made from the same ingredients but taste totally different.
by pasta cravings - Mon 28th Nov 2005, 7:13pm
Close reading said: The poll question is quite unambiguously worded. It asks us to disregard the secondary "merits" of these shapes (i.e. their sauce-complementing capabilities), and focus on determining whether "they *actually* taste different from one another?" [emphasis mine]
It actually doesn't ask us to disregard the secondary merits of the shapes, you've just decided that that's what it means. It's my question, I know.

It's slightly academic anyway to be discussing all this double blind nonsense with no sauce and chopped up into little bits - after all, what's the point in eating pasta with no sauce on it? Quite clearly, fusilli with tomato sauce and cheese and bacon mmmmmmm is much nicer than say penne with an identical sauce.
by gf - Mon 28th Nov 2005, 7:14pm
Surely mouthfeel has a role to play in the taste experience? Hence breaking up the pieces is not a useful thing to do - the test should be blind, but with each pasta variety served intact.
by fettuccini - Mon 28th Nov 2005, 7:16pm
I don't think blind testing would work with intact pieces - it's a multisensory experience, you'd have to chop someone's tongue off in order to get a fair trial and that'd be a bit drastic...
by Novice coach - Mon 28th Nov 2005, 7:42pm
I think there's a challenge for the 4th novice men's next crew pasta...
by dw229 - Mon 28th Nov 2005, 11:09pm
I have to put my vote in for penne - the king of all pastas. Fusilli are fiddly and limp - the spirals start to unwind sometimes too if you cook them too long or leave them soaking in the sauce.
by Pasta man - Tue 29th Nov 2005, 12:50am
Thank you, penne is the the king of pasta, with fusili a close second!

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