MIT Pasta - Detail - © Michael Indresano Production via MIT

Flat Pasta That Curls in Water – But Why?

Well, I’ve heard of a lot of different Pasta shapes and a lot of classic dishes they star in, but this is a new one on me. On everybody, really, because MIT just invented it. It’s flat pasta that changes shape during cooking. But my question is, ‘Why do we need this?” The answer is, WE don’t…

MIT Pasta - © Michael Indresano Production via MITJust a few of the shapes MIT’s new Pasta technology can produce. All ship flat
and take on their various curls and curves when placed in Water…

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is famous for futuristic inventions and technologies. In fact, it’s one of the leading scientific innovators of the higher academic world. But, now, it has gone street level to address a problem that’s been plaguing Pasta makers for some time. Apparently.

MIT announced this past week that it has developed a new flat pasta that curls automatically when it comes in contact with Water. They can even make it curl in a number of different ways, emulating Bow Ties, regular Egg Noodles, shells and more.

“We did some simple calculations, such as for macaroni pasta, and even if you pack it perfectly, you still will end up with 67 percent of the volume as air,” says Wen Wang, a co-author on the Pasta research paper.

The new product is actually 3D printed, with alternate layers of Gelatin and Pasta. How you arrange the layers determines the shape you’ll get when you cook it. Mass production issues have not yet been addressed.

But why do we need this?

The inventors say the product will be great for backpackers and others who need to pack compactly. But what about the rest of the Pasta consuming public?

We consumers don’t need it at all. It’s an innovation for the Pasta makers, allowing them to ship their product flat, using less packaging material. This helps them, on the cost end of things, because they can use smaller packages that cost less. But the new flat-pack Pasta will undoubtedly cost more than the old, regular kind, cancelling out any savings for the customer. The new stuff might even cost so much more, owing to the cost of incorporating the new technology, that prices at the grocery store will rise.

Such a price increase will be especially annoying to American Pasta lovers who are used to getting all their pasta in boxes. We, in Canada, get a lot of ours in plastic bags, which are not only cheaper but lighter than cardboard. Bags also pack more compactly than boxes and, so, save on shipping cartons.

When will we see morphing Flat Pasta in the supermarkets? No predictions, as yet…

~ Maggie J.