Fiori pasta is an Italian pasta shape which is very reminiscent of a flower. It appears to be a more recent addition to the wide range of pasta shapes on the market, but the sturdy structure and fanciful shape have made it a reasonably common offering in many markets. There are a wide range of uses for fiori pasta, since the shape is very versatile. Making the pasta at home is possible, but an extruder is needed to create the unusual shape.
The pasta is made from a set of connected tubes which form the shape of a flower, with rays arranged around a central tube. The tubes are cut at set lengths to create a pile of fiori pasta, sometimes labeled as flower pasta. The pasta also reminds some consumers of a set of stacked scrolls. Many producers make multicolored fiori pasta, sometimes selling it in a tricolor pack. Colorful flower pasta can be flavored with ingredients like tomato, spinach, lemons, and pepper.
Most consumers purchase fiori pasta dry, since it requires special equipment to make at home. The best dried pasta is made from durum wheat, an extremely hard wheat which will cook to a chewy, resilient texture called al dente. Extra cooking will make the pasta softer, but it will continue to hold its shape and structure very well. This trait makes durum wheat pasta a great choice for soups, since it will not melt away when the soup is frozen and reheated.
In addition to being useful in soup, fiori pasta can be added to pasta salads as well. The strong shape will also hold up well under hearty meat sauces, smooth cream sauces, and an assortment of other toppings, since the small tubes will help hold sauce on the pasta. The flower shaped pasta are also fun for younger diners to eat, and they can be dressed up or down, depending on the intended end consumer.
To make fiori pasta at home, the purchase of a pasta extruder with the appropriate die is necessary. Some cooking stores sell pasta extruders and dies, and the equipment can also be ordered through Italian import companies. The extruder can be used to make fresh pasta, or the pasta can be dried and saved for another time. Many extruders also include an assortment of pasta dough recipes for cooks to experiment with.