The World's Rarest Pasta Can Only Be Found On This Tiny Island
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Penne, spaghetti, macaroni; all familiar household names. Pasta has truly become a staple across the world and a beloved dish for all cultures. But did you know that there are over 350 different shapes and styles of pasta, each one with a unique story and purpose? Pasta shapes are designed keeping in mind what kind of sauce they’ll be served with, for example, thin pasta should be served with thin sauces, while thicker sauces work better with thicker, heavier pasta.

But even within that wide world of pasta, there are some that stand apart from the others. One such rarity is Su Filindeu pasta which is only crafted on the island of Sardinia, off the coast of Italy. Translated, Su Filindeu means the thread of the gods in the local language and has earned a reputation as the rarest pasta in the world because the secret to getting the impossibly thin strands is known only to one group of people - the Abraini family. 

The true origins of Su Filindeu aren’t known but in the village of Lula, ner Nuoro the practice has been handed down through generations for over 300 years. Since the pasta takes almost 5 hours to create, it’s made only for the biannual Feast of San Francesco. Around this time, the members of the Abraini family led currently by Paola Abraini begin working on new batches for just over a month in order to prepare and store 110 pounds of the rare pasta for the occasion. 

During this time, hundreds of food connoisseurs and pasta devotees make their way to Lula to meet her and try to understand the secrets of this rare pasta. Although it’s made with only three ingredients – semolina wheat, water and salt – the true mastery lies in the technique that the family has perfected and it seems that it cannot be taught. Many companies have tried and failed to replicate the fine strands and even celebrity chef Jaime Oliver couldn’t master the technique when he visited the island. Though proud of their heritage, they’re not opposed to sharing the secrets but perhaps the family holds some genetically honed talents because even now there are only about 10 people in the world who can make it correctly.

The steps include pulling and folding the dough going by feel rather than sight. It’s kneaded by hand and saltwater is added at specific times to develop the optimal elasticity. It’s pulled and folded multiple times and the final product should yield 256 strands of impossibly thin pasta which are then placed on a wooden tray called a fundu in order to dry out. One crisp they’re split into individual pieces and then cooked in a mutton broth and topped with pecorino cheese. Even though it’s world-famous the dish itself is very humble and people come from all over the world for a taste of the dish during the Feast of San Francesco. 

At half the circumference of the already thin angel hair pasta, Su Fillindeu is a marvel of food engineering and a wonder of the culinary world that will hopefully continue to thrive in this one small Sardinian village for many more centuries to come.