Our Pasta

By Rick Petralia October 18, 2018

Our Pasta

At Fazoli’s, our pasta is cooked daily in each and every one of our locations.  Each and every morning in our restaurants, our pasta makers cook hundreds of pounds of pasta to prepare for the day.   The first step is ensuring the water is salted perfectly.  This is a crucial step to ensuring the right flavor.  They also ensure that the pasta is cooked al dente.  Al dente is an Italian term describing perfectly cooked pasta.  It translates to “to the tooth.”  Perfectly cooked pasta should be firm enough to have some firmness to the bite.  For each of our different pasta shapes, we have different cook times to ensure they are all cooked al dente.

Our pasta is made with the finest ingredients.  We only use Durum wheat, which is a hard wheat grown in the upper Midwest.  It is milled to produce golden semolina and durum flour, which is the preferred flour by traditional Italian pastiolos (Italian word for pasta chefs).  It has a higher protein content than other flours, so therefore has better flavor and texture.

Once we have the semolina, we mix it with water to form the dough.  It is kneaded and then passed through an extruder, which is a machine that forces the dough through a die to the desired shape.  Once the pasta is extruded, it needs to dry.  Spaghetti and fettuccine are dried by hanging, just like you would at home.  Our pastas are dried for 3 to 10 hours, depending on the shape.

Know Your Noodle

Spaghetti – The name translates to “Little Strings” in Italian.  Fazoli’s actually uses spaghettini, which is slightly thinner than traditional spaghetti.  (When you add “-ini” to the end of an Italian word, it usually means “small”).

Penne – The name translates to “pen.”   This is a tube-shaped pasta with ends cut diagonally, reminiscent of a quill pen’s tip.  Fazoli’s penne is rigate, meaning that it has ridges.  The ridges help pick up and hold sauce as you eat pasta.

Fettuccine – The name translates literally to “little ribbon.”  Fettuccine is a flat long pasta shape popular in Tuscan and Roman cuisine. 

Whole Grain Rotini – The name rotini translates to “Little Wheels” in Italian.  Rotini is a corkscrew-shaped pasta.  At Fazoli’s our rotini is a 100% whole grain pasta.  It can be substituted into any entrée for additional charge.

Lasagna – There is some debate about the origin of the name “lasagna.”  Some experts believe it is derived from the Greek Word “Lasonon” which means “cooking pot.”  Lasagna is a rectangular sheet of pasta most commonly used to make the common Italian casserole by the same name.  Fazoli’s lasagna is layered with ricotta, Parmesan, meat sauce, and baked with mozzarella and provolone cheeses.  The first recorded recipe of lasagna was from the 14th century!

Tortellini – The name tortellini is derived from the Italian word “torta” which means cake.  The first record for tortellini dates back to a cook book from the year 1570!  Fazoli’s tortellini are stuffed with ricotta, Parmesan, and Romano cheeses.