This Is The Most Difficult Pasta To Make In The World

Italy Magazine estimates that there are roughly 350 unique shapes of pasta in existence, and that estimate quadruples when you take into account that these shapes have different names in different languages, and regional variations within Italy.

Translating pasta names can be an entertaining insight into the Italian language. According to Delish, those squat, squiggly spirals that look like a vintage heater? They're called radiatori or radiators. And the slightly-folded over, concave rounds — they go by orecchiette, or little ears. While most pastas are known by their common Italian names, there are some shapes that are uniquely regional and increasing hard to find. Sicily is home to busiate (via Taste Atlas), small spirals that bring to mind old telephone cords, and according to BBC Travel, the neighboring isle of Sardinia has its own singular pasta shape. Su filindeu translates to threads of god, and there are only three people on the whole island that who know how to craft this delicate, laborious pasta.

The rarest pasta in the world

BBC Travel refers to su filindeu as the rarest pasta in the world, claiming in 2016 there were only three people who knew how to handmake the delicate semolina based noodle. The recipe is over 300 years old and credited to the Abraini family. Paola Abraini, along with her sister-in-law and niece, are the keepers of the family recipe; and for years they only shared it during the twice yearly Feast of San Francesco.

The pasta making process — which can be seen on popular YouTube channel Pasta Grannies – is not unlike Chinese hand pulled noodles, according to SBS. The Italian Sons and Daughters of America say the dough is stretched and doubled until you're left with exactly 256 thread-thin strands that are criss-crossed over a round, flat basket, and then dried in the sun. To serve, the pasta is cooked in mutton broth with a generous amount of local pecorino (sheep's milk) cheese. Many have tried replicating the family recipe (Jamie Oliver didn't have much luck), but one intrepid chef has gotten their hands on the rare Sardinian specialty. Through a specialty importer, chef Rob Gentile of Toronto's Buca Restaurants was able to introduce Toronto diners to what is not only the rarest, but the most expensive pasta in the world. Edible Toronto quotes the price $150 per kilogram for su filindeu.