Molloni pasta is a type of pasta shape which resembles a spiral wrapped around a central axis, sort of like a vine climbing a tree. This pasta shape is very sturdy and versatile, and it can be used in a wide range of dishes and with an assortment of sauces. Like other types of artisan pasta, molloni pasta can sometimes be hard to find; an Italian specialty store is a good place to look for it, and you can try contacting pasta companies to see if they directly ship in the event that you have trouble tracking this pasta down. You can also make molloni pasta at home, if you have access to a pasta extruder.
The shape of this pasta is designed to create a very rough surface. This means that molloni pasta can hold delicate, thin sauces. The pasta is also very sturdy, allowing it to support chunkier, thick sauces. The small crevices in this pasta shape will hold sauce, creating a secondary burst of flavor as consumers bite into the pasta; this feature can be very useful with delicate sauces which quickly fade from the palate.
The best molloni pasta is made from durum wheat, a particularly hard version of wheat which has been cultivated in Italy for centuries. When cooked, durum wheat pasta will stay resilient, rather than becoming soft and falling apart. This resilient texture is excellent for people who like their pasta al dente, and it also ensures that a little bit of overcooking will not be harmful to the pasta. Semolina, the starchy endosperm of durum wheat, is often ground and included in durum wheat pasta as well.
Because this pasta shape is thick, it generally takes around 8-12 minutes to cook, depending on the size of the pasta and the company which manufactures it. Because the core of molloni pasta is not readily viewable, cooks may want to cut a piece of the pasta in half to check and see whether or not it is done, ensuring that the core is cooked rather than still hard and starchy.
Like other types of dried pasta, molloni pasta can keep essentially indefinitely if stored under the right conditions. Ideally it should be kept in a cool, dry place which is also dark. When you need to cook some of the pasta, measure it out and pour the measured pasta into the boiling water, rather pouring directly from the package; the humidity from the pot can cause unused pasta to mold.