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Feb. 22, 2012

Delicious Designs

by Annette Heist

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Wondering what to put on those paccheri? Confused about conchigliette? Pondering the phylogenetics of farfalle? Pasta by Design, a new book by George L. Legendre can help. The book is part field guide and part math text, with a helping of architecture and a dash of cookbook thrown in.
 
The phylogenetic relationships of 92 types of pasta (from acini to ziti) are explored in a pasta “family tree” at the front of the book. Each “species” of pasta is featured in its own two-page spread, complete with the mathematical formulae and drawings describing the shape. Cooking time, the origin of the name, and suggested sauces or accompaniments are also included. (Paccheri, Legendre writes, are “recommended with aubergine [eggplant], seafood, or indeed any chunky sauce.”)
 
Legendre says the idea for the book came out of “a very late night” spent with his colleague, architect Marco Guarnieri. It took the two of them 6 or 7 months to acquire the pasta styles included. But it’s not an exhaustive list. After the book was finished, Legendre says he found a new specimen–an olive leaf shaped-pasta–for sale in a shop just around the corner from his office. “It was bound to happen,” he said.
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About Annette Heist

Annette Heist is a former senior producer for Science Friday.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Science Friday.

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