Gravel pasta

plllog

I'm having a hard time appreciating the gravel. I can't remember the Italian word. It was imported very fine pasta of the brass die variety, but I don‘t know how it came to my pantry. The bag got torn, so I boiled up all of it, rather than the bit I was going to use in a dish. I often do that anyway—make a whole package and use it over a few days. It's really weird stuff. Larger than couscous, about a third of the size of “Israeli couscous“, not round. It looks like it was cut or extruded with a square cross section, and sliced, making irregular shaped bits. But also unlike couscous, this is a very firm pasta with eggs (though dried), and doesn‘t soak up extra liquid, so it doesn‘t have a soft or grain like mouthfeel, but is too small to chew effectively. I'm thinking it might soften more in soup....or just make gravelly soup! It did fine in the first dish as a binder with a thick sauce, so I've been wondering about baking it in a custard. Or maybe in a heavy mac and cheese. I used some in a breakfast bake, and it wasn't good. The cheese rejected it, and did its own thing. The pasta didn't even pick up the fat.


I could just think on it until it gets moldy, and toss it (like mold would dare try to make inroads in such high falutin’ pasta!)


Anyone use “gravel” successfully? Or know what it was meant for? (Spaghetti from the same company is outstanding—it's just the gravel shape that's the challenge.)

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Comments (42)
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beesneeds

Whats the company name? What does it say on the package?

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plllog

The package was most efficiently recycled. :) I'll see if I can find the name of the company.

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plllog

I'd thought it was Rustichella d’Abruzzo when I said the spaghetti was good, but I've now learned that there are quite a few brands with similar packaging. Rd’A have grattini (“scratchers”) which don’t look quite the same in the pictures, but it's possible that I got a mistranslation, if it really was them. I couldn't find it under "gravel" or Italian for gravel (though what did come up in Italian was beyond me). I also couldn't find “scratchers”, but did turn up a blog calling grattini egg pasta for soup, so that's still in the running. All of which makes our group a better source than Google.

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gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)

Have you looked at fregula (sometimes spelled fregola)? Is that the same thing? If so, there are various recipes online.........

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donna_loomis

Acini de pepe? Sounds like it to me. I use it in my frog eye salad.

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plllog

LOL! No, they're not fregola, which are basically the same size and shape as Israeli couscous, though a different texture, and I'm pretty sure it's not acini de pepe, which are supposed to be like peppercorns or grape seeds. They're not balls. Definitely cut sides. As I said, they could be grattini, but the shape is different from the pictures. Also, I'm pretty sure there were different letters in the word.


Let's just say pastini. Little pastas.


A friend said to toss the rest, but that seems a shame since it's fine pasta. Maybe I'll make it into more mac & cheese. ;) So far the only thing. That's stuck, other than cheese goo (m&c sauce) is Chinese hot sauce in the breakfast bake. Even butter slides right off. Weird!

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bragu_DSM 5

you could stuff shells with them if you mix em with a protein ...

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donna_loomis

Okay, not acini di pepe. But, acini de pepe are not balls. If you look closely, you can see that they are more like rope, albeit small, that have been cut into very small pieces.



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wednesday morning

Is it pastina? My husband is of Italian/American family and theses tiny pastas are among the first foods for the babies.

I sounds like acini de Pepe. No matter what it was called, these are all much alike.

I just dress them with butter or oil and some grated cheese and have them somewhat like how one would have rice. To put these tiny pastas into any type of soup base would mean that they rather much get lost in it. And they are too small to serve with any sauce.

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plllog

Pastina just means little pasta—it can be any shape, including stars, tubes, cubes, spheres, rice, etc. Yes, it’s a form of pastina. If acini de pepe are Cut from ropes, that’s not it, for sure, but I never meant this to be about the name. Whether it’s gravel or scratchers, the issue is still that it's too big to slurp down and too small to chew. It would have a very nice, firm texture if it were bigger and could be bitten. Dave's suggestion to mix with meat in a filling sounds promising. I also found a reference to using fregola in custard from a chef, confirming that that’s also a good idea. But I asked before my kitchen got upended for a small repair. If it gets used it might be just whatever gets into a bowl and zapped. ;)

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carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b

Acini de pepe means pepper seeds, I believe, which is why they're round, not ragged.

Maybe you could make a salad like with couscous?

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Lars

The name from the title makes me think of Spätzle, but that is obviously bigger than what you are talking about and is fresh instead of dried.

I've bought a lot of small Greek pastas as Papa Cristo's on Pico Blvd, and some of them may be similar to what you are talking about. I do not still have packages of any of them here, however. I think they have to be used fairly quickly, or at least they have short use-by dates.

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plllog

Lars, that was a very interesting article. For sure, the gravel had eggs, in the ingredients. It was interesting to read about the ancient one with milk, especially. I never thought of it, but it makes sense.


There's no bread due to various impediments, so, thinking of Dave's suggestion, I made a sandwich substitute with some of the pasta, a chicken sausage, some hot sauce and a bit of melty cheese. Sure enough, a lot of the pasta stuck to the sausage or cheese pieces, making them chewable. It's really excellent pasta!

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Lars

I've only used that kind of pasta in soups, or in salads instead of bread crumbs, such as a Tuscan kale salad. I may have used it also when stuffing mushrooms as a substitute for bread crumbs.

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twoyur

could it have been tempesta or anchellini

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twoyur

my Barilla box of tempesta describes it as pebbles

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plllog

It looks more like Tempesta than Fregola, but squarer rather than long.

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bbstx


Is this a possibility?

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plllog

What is it? If you meant as an entry in the guess the pasta game, no, that's not it. If you meant the dish, it's not obvious what it is.

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bbstx

It is Hungarian pasta, Tarhonya. I know nothing about it but the picture looked like what you were describing.

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plllog

They're long and wiggly. Mine are squarish and cut. The only Hungarian pasta I've had was twisted flat noodles. :) Those are cool. There's an Italian one that looks kind of similar. I think. That is, I think it was Italian...

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plllog

No. Those are flat and kind of perfectly square. These are more like grattini than any of the others. I haven't seen the word yet. I think there was a medial ‘c’, but that might have been the wrong word.

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bbstx

Googling “grated pasta” I found a recipe at Food52 for Ribana kašica. That has a ”c” in it.


Do you have a photo of the cooked pasta? I have a friend whose sister runs a cooking school in Italy. I could send it to her to see what she has to say.

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plllog

That looks Polish!

I don’t have any raw and cooked it's hard to see the details but I'll see if I can make it look like something other than bumps with my tablet.

Of course the question wasn't what the Italian name for it was (I thought it was gravel, but have looked up all kinds of little rocks and haven't found it) or I could have gotten it wrong and it really was grattini (scratchers) or “scratchers”, which I assumed had to do with being cut small, actually means gravel and I'm mistaken about the ‘c’, but the question was what to do with it to make it pleasant. I don't really think the soup or salad ideas will do it because of how firm it is, but the stuck to sausage wasn't bad. I haven't been able to cook the last couple of days, but I think I'll try the & cheese or custard for the rest.

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bbstx

The name I found was Croatian according to the article at Food 52.

So you are looking for ways to use it, not what it is? I’m sorry. I thought you were trying to identify it. I am no help at all for ways to use it. I’m not a pasta lover. I got pasta’d out in the 90s or was it 2000s when every dish was something with pasta.

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plllog

I think everyone is having fun trying to identify it. :)

Croation makes sense. The spelling, that is. :)

The only non-Italian style pastas I've made, and those from scratch, are Jewish egg noodles (just egg and flour, rolled and sliced, for soup), and spaetzel. And matzah spaetzel. ;)

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plllog

Gravel. Bigger than couscous. Smaller than fregola. Cut edges. Irregular.


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Islay Corbel

Never seen that.

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plllog

It's Italian. ;)

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Islay Corbel

Well, I've sent your pic to an Italian friend in Bologna to see if she can identify it.

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Islay Corbel

My Italian friend says she's never seen it either, but would guess that it would be served in a thin broth.

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bragu_DSM 5

doggone it JC ... just get some motor oil and spackle your driveway with the mix!

^_^

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bbstx

I’ve sent the picture to my friend and asked her to see if her sister recognizes it and knows its best use. 🤞

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bbstx

My friend responded that it reminds her of something made in Puglia. She asked if you had a clearer picture without the quarter (I don’t know why without. I thought it and the Hall’s were good for showing scale).

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sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)

Might fall in the grattini category and obviously will look a bit different via the company or extruder method used.

Interesting that yours did not absorb as it looks like is should benefit from the craggy shape to absorb more and cook quick.

I always think of the tiny pastas to be used in broths for a sick child or 'babies first pasta'. But seems it is common for any soup. And couscous type pasta sides. With herbs and veg.

I usually pass by the smaller sizes and go for 1/2 inch shapes for soups. Prefer the larger Israeli over the smaller couscous size.

This link is homemade using a food processor. Link, HERE

Interesting recipe to make fresh at home.



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plllog

Yeah. As I said above, it could have been grattini, which something translated wrong. What S says about the different cutting apparatus makes sense for why it didn't look quite like the other pictures of grattini I've seen.

The pasta in the picture is cooked and sitting in a container getting stickier, and is as sharp as it's going to get. I think the quarter advice was about the camera algorithms focusing on the shiny, but the pasta wasn't sharper before I found the quarter. Raw, the pieces had sharp edges. Now, they're blobby.

The reason this isn't good soup or salad pasta is it's too firm. And I think that’s because it’s that really good Italian pasta that doesn't return to paste when wet. Except that's not a good texture for soup.

Re sauce, it seems that wet sticks fine, cheese sauce stuck but had starch. It's fatter sauce and butter that slid off. Must be something in the dynamics of what makes sauce cling.

None of it matters because there's only two portions left and it'll be all gone. ;)

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Islay Corbel

Well, I think perhaps we can come to the conclusion that it's not either very nice or very useful so it's not well known or popular!

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Lars

Your pasta looks a lot like my Greek Tranaha pasta (which I just found), which is described as resembling pebbles instead of gravel.

Mine is made from durum wheat semolina, eggs, and milk. As I said, I bought it as Papa Christos deli on Pico Blvd. As you probably know, that deli is across the street from a Greek Orthodox church that has a Greek festival every year. I haven't been back there in over a year. It's also not far from H. Savinar Luggage Company, where Kevin bought some Baggallini luggage and had his Italian briefcase repaired (lock needed to be replaced).

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bbstx

My friend’s sister agrees. It looks like something from Puglia that is made with semolina and is very hard when it dries. She said it is usually served with a soupy seafood sauce. She didn’t expand on the sauce.


This has been a fun culinary mystery tour!

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plllog

Well that does sound like it would work with the gravel. A seafood sauce, as I imagine it, with something red in it, would stick. Thank-you for the chain to Italy!

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