Maltagliati Pesto Pasta With Smoked Salmon

Maltagliati pesto pasta with smoked salmon

Maltagliati is the undisputed champion of frugal pasta shapes. Well, we say "shapes," but it's not really a shape at all because it's essentially all the scrappy bits of pasta that are left over from homemade pasta making.

Meaning "poorly cut" in Italian, traditionally these odds and sods would be given away to the poorest members of the community. These days, it's rather different. Pasta companies know that people love maltagliati, so they actively produce it. That's fine, but because customers expect their pasta to cook evenly, shop-bought maltagliati is so uniform that it rather misses the point.

Maltagliati pasta shape

As for the best sauces to pair with maltagliati pasta, the irregular shape means you can pretty much serve it with whatever you want. Traditionalists would serve it in a soup or a broth, much like su filindeu, while others prefer a meat or tomato-based sauce.

In all honesty, it's not really an optimal shape for pesto. The lack of twists, turns, and grooves doesn't give pesto much to cling on to. The only reason we don't completely shun commercially made maltagliati is because the best stuff is produced using a bronze die, which makes it much easier for sauces to stick to it.

Ingredients for two servings

Maltagliati pasta 150g
Pesto 100g
Smoked salmon 100g
Parmesan to taste

Bring a pan of salted water to a boil, and cook the pasta until al dente. This can take anywhere from 5-10 minutes, depending on how thick or thin the shapes are.

In the meantime, roughly slice the smoked salmon.

Drain the pasta, but reserve about 20g of the starchy pasta water. Mix the pasta, pesto, and water, and serve with a generous helping of Parmesan.