Penne for your thoughts - What is Britain’s favourite pasta shape?

Sam FitzPatrickPolitical researcher
Connor IbbetsonData Journalist
August 25, 2020, 9:24 AM UTC

Brits love the classics, with spirals and spaghetti topping the list

Since emerging from 13th century Italy, the durum wheat-based dough we know as pasta has taken the world by storm. A whopping 68% of Brits eat the stuff at least once a week, and 42% do so multiple times.

In its raw form, pasta dough can be shaped and rolled into many forms, to suit a nearly endless variety of dishes, sauces, and bakes. But which shape is the British favourite?

The humble fusilli takes top position, as 19% of British adults point to the corkscrew as their favourite. Spaghetti, which roughly translates from Italian as “thin string”, takes 15% of votes and comes in a close second place.

The sharply cut penne, first invented in 1865 to mimic a pen nib, is the third favourite shape, chosen by 11%. Tagliatelle, the ribbon-shaped pasta from the city of Bologna, comes fourth, picked by one in ten (10%) Britons. There is a disagreement between the generations over tagliatelle, with 13% of those over 65 picking it as their favourite, compared to only 7% of 18 to 24 year olds.

In fifth place is tortellini, the only stuffed pasta to make the top eight. The origin of tortellini is disputed between the cities of Bologna and Modena, but what we do know is that the small pasta parcels are the favourite of 7% of Brits. Once again, there’s a generational dispute; young Brits are big fans (14%) but only 3% of those aged over 65 pick it.

Another 7% of Brits chose pasta shells, or conchiglie to give it the proper name – but adults under 25 are nearly twice as likely (13%) to prefer conchiglie than the general population.

The bow tie-shaped farfalle, which hails from the Lombardy region of Italy, comes in seventh place with 4% of the vote, followed by macaroni with another 4%. 

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