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Dried Cavatappi
Alternative namesCellentani, serpentini, trivelle, stortelli, spirali, double elbows, scoobi doo
Place of originItaly

Cavatappi [kavaˈtappi] is macaroni formed in a helical tube shape. Cavatappi is the Italian word for corkscrew. It is known by other names, including Twirly Whirly,cellentani, amori, spirali, or tortiglione.[1] It is usually scored with lines or ridges (rigati in Italian) on the surface. Cavatappi is a type of macaroni, or thick, hollow pasta that is made without using eggs. It may be yellow in color, like most pastas, or have vegetables or a food coloring added to make it green or red. It can be used in a variety of dishes to include salads, soups, and casseroles.


Cavatappi is an Italian word created by compounding cava and tappi, which literally means "stopper (or top or cap) extractor" (a corkscrew). It is known by many other names.


Cavatappi is a generic name adopted by other brands that imitated Barilla's cellentani. This particular shape was born in the 1970's at Barilla in Parma[2] when a set of pasta dies had been mistakenly made with a spiral (instead of straight) set of lines. These produced pasta in a spiral or spring (molla in Italian) shape. Barilla decided to name it after one of the most famous showpeople of the time, Adriano Celentano, who was nicknamed “il molleggiato”. As this name was trademarked by Barilla, other pasta producers had to use a less pop and ecvocative name like cavatappi (corkscrews).


The cavatappi shape is perhaps best described as a ridged tube extruded into a helix shape though a small number of rotations. The number of turns is commonly in the range of one to three[citation needed] (with fewer than one full turn, the shape degenerates into a twisted version of elbow macaroni).

While the word "spiral" is often used colloquially to describe helical objects (such as a spiral staircase), in mathematics, a spiral is considered to be a curve on the plane of progressive radius, and the name "helix" is preferred for a curve inscribed on a cylinder, such as that of DNA's double helix. The notion of a screw as a helical surface dates back to the time of Archimedes.[relevant? ]

Common recipes[edit]

Cavatappi is used with Italian-style foods such as cavatappi Amatriciana,[3] and cavatappi pomodoro.[4] It is mostly found in tomato-based pasta sauces and is associated closely with different types of cheeses such as mozzarella, Parmesan, and provolone.[citation needed] It is a common choice for macaroni and cheese.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Nibble: Pasta Types". Retrieved 2018-04-13.
  2. ^ This story waws related to chef Davide Oldani no his TV show Alle origini della bontà (november 24, 2018) by Italo Bardiani, at the time one of the technicians at Barilla research lab. –
  3. ^ "Carrabbas Cavatappi Amatriciana (Side Dish Pasta) Recipe -". Retrieved 2016-02-08.
  4. ^ "Cavatappi Pomodoro". Just A Pinch Recipes. Retrieved 2016-02-08.
  5. ^ Roman, Alison. "How to Make Mac and Cheese". New York Times Cooking. Retrieved 10 April 2018.

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