Before Pashman started his taste testing, he needed a set of criteria so he could fairly judge each pasta shape. No one had ever made standards for reviewing pasta shapes before. So Pashman came up with his own: “Sauceability,” or how readily sauce sticks to a pasta shape; “toothsinkability,” or how satisfying it is to sink your teeth into the pasta; and “forkability,” or how easy it is to get a noodle on your fork and keep it there.
“I went about it with a very scientific approach,” says Pashman. He determined which variables—things that change or can be changed during an experiment—affected his three pasta criteria. “I broke down pasta shapes into their components to figure out which attributes—tubes, round shapes, ruffles, long, short, wavy, curly, flat—I liked the best,” he says.
After trying dozens of pastas, Pashman determined that he liked ruffles, like you’d find on the edge of lasagna. He also enjoyed tube shapes, like penne rigate. Both of these features help capture sauce and provide a chewy bite, so he decided to create a shape that combined the two.