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Croxetti pasta is a specialty Italian pasta made in the shape of a medallion and stamped with symbols, decorations and coats of arms. The style originated in Liguria, which is located in Northwestern Italy along the border with France. It is possible to make croxetti pasta at home, providing that cooks have suitable molds for it, or it is available through some shops. Consumers also can order special molds for occasions such as weddings.
This tradition is believed to have originated in the Middle Ages, when families wanted to show their status in every way possible. Since a coat of arms was a formally awarded seal and carried implications of status, wealthy families started stamping their coats of arms into disc-shaped pasta to impress guests and visitors. By tradition, a pattern or ornament adorned the back of the pasta as well. Frequently, this ornament was the Christian cross, leading to the name “croxetti,” which is related to the Latin cruci, for “cross.”
Use of Molds
Modern croxetti pasta might be stamped with the maker's mark or a regional coat of arms, and the back might be adorned with a fanciful pattern such as a sailboat or a tree. Typically, the mark for the pasta is embedded into a disc-shaped mold, so that the pasta can be stamped and cut at the same time. For home pasta cooks, handheld molds are available, or people could individually hand stamp the pasta, using a circular pasta cutter to cut out the pasta medallions.
Dishes and Sauces
The shape of croxetti pasta holds sauces well, although it tends to get buried under heavy or chunky sauces. Pesto and light cream sauces are good pairings for croxetti pasta. Especially at events where the hosts want guests to be able to see the seals, a light sauce might be more suitable. This type of pasta also can be eaten plain or with light dressings such as fresh herbs, butter or olive oil. In addition, croxetti pasta can be colored or flavored with additions such as spinach, marjoram or sun-dried tomatoes.
Ligurian pasta can fetch a high price in some stores, because it is not produced in large quantities. Its scarcity, however, is one of the things that make croxetti pasta a fun addition to the table and a topic of conversation. People who are having difficulty obtaining this pasta might consider ordering it directly from Italy, through a company that specializes in exporting uniquely Italian foods.