Dried durum wheat pasta, made under factory conditions by combining water and flour together, obviously has to have pride of place next to the tomatoes. After all, spaghetti and a simple tomato sauce are as natural to every Italian as breathing! It fascinates me that despite the number of different shapes available on the market, spaghetti is still the most popular shape. Every year the various manufacturers introduce some new shape to their range in an effort to gain, larger portions of the market, but the simplicity of spaghetti seems to retain its hold no matter what else is available! Penne, fusilli, maccheroni, farfalle, and conchiglie are almost as popular, but it is also vital, as far as an Italian household is concerned, to have a few packets of small pasta, known as pastina, which are added to soups. Naturally, different regions of Italy also have their own favorites. There are also shapes that have been proven to work best with local traditional sauces and hold a very special place in the kitchens where these amazing combinations of pasta and sauce were first created.

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