Farfalle Pasta


Other Names:
Farfarllini (smallest size)
Others but similar:
Farfalle Rotund
Available throughout Italy
Made with: Durum
The manufactured variety is made with durum wheat and water.

Farfalle, which means “butterflies” in Italian, doesn’t boast a well-documented origin story. Evidence suggests its existence in northern Italian regions around the 16th to 17th centuries.

Similar shapes, known as “strichetti” or “strigozzi,” were documented in medieval recipes from Liguria and Emilia-Romagna.

The invention of pasta machines in the 19th century facilitated mass production of farfalle, leading to wider distribution and increased popularity. While its exact birthplace remains unclear, farfalle became a staple in many Italian regions, particularly in Liguria and Lombardy.

Farfalle’s unique shape, resembling a bowtie, offers several advantages for holding sauces. The folds and curves effectively hold onto thicker sauces, ensuring each bite has a decent amount of sauce. The thin center and slightly thicker edges provide a pleasing textural variation in the pasta dish.

It is suitable for rich creamy sauces that coat the pasta well. Effectively captures chunky tomato sauces and vegetables like peas or mushrooms.

Cold farfalle pasta salads are a refreshing option, often tossed with vegetables, meats, and a light vinaigrette or mayonnaise. It can add substance and textural interest to vegetable or minestrone soups, and can be used in baked dishes with cheese or vegetables.

Farfalle can also be found in several different sizes from tiny to extra large.

In some regions outside Italy, farfalle is also known as “pappardelle” French for butterfly.

Photo Credit: Bill Rubino