Food: Pasta: a Matter of Form

Call it macaroni, or penne or fusilli or . . .

Just as cheese is said to be milk's leap to immortality, so pasta represents the apotheosis of flour and water. Blended to form a simple paste (hence pasta), those humble ingredients achieve culinary brilliance and almost universal popularity. Pasta, it seems, is the perfect food for our time, prized by gourmands for reasons purely hedonistic and by nutritionists as a healthful source of energizing, low-fat, complex carbohydrates.

But if there is no doubt about the natural superiority of pasta, there are several questions that haunt the addict who dreams of little else. What pasta shapes go best with which sauces? Is...

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