Corkscrew pasta, widely known by its Italian name, “fusilli,” is a delightful and versatile pasta shape that brings a playful twist to a myriad of dishes. This type of pasta is characterized by its spiral, helical shape, which not only makes it visually appealing but also enhances its ability to hold sauces and dressings, making each bite flavor-packed. The origins of fusilli are deeply rooted in the rich tapestry of Italian culinary tradition, where it was originally crafted by rolling and twisting strips of pasta dough around a spindle or rod, creating its signature corkscrew appearance.

Corkscrew Pasta

Fusilli’s unique texture and shape make it an excellent choice for a variety of recipes, from cold pasta salads to hearty, baked casseroles. Its grooves and spirals are perfect for trapping both light, delicate sauces and robust, chunky ones, ensuring a harmonious distribution of flavors throughout the dish. This pasta type is not only beloved for its functional attributes but also for its ability to make any meal feel more festive and fun.

As a testament to its adaptability, corkscrew pasta can be found in kitchens around the world, incorporated into both traditional Italian meals and international cuisines. Its presence in a dish encourages creativity and experimentation, inviting chefs and home cooks alike to explore different combinations of ingredients and flavors, thus elevating the dining experience. Corkscrew pasta, with its whimsical shape and exceptional sauce-holding capabilities, truly stands out in the pasta family, making it a cherished ingredient in the global culinary scene.

Prep time10 minutes
Cook time20 minutes
Total time30 minutes
CourseMain course

Kitchen Tools Needed

  • Large Pot
  • Colander
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons
  • Skillet or Saucepan
  • Chef’s Knife
  • Cutting Board
  • Grater (for cheese, if using)
Corkscrew Pasta

Ingredients for Corkscrew Pasta

  • 12 oz (340g) corkscrew pasta (fusilli)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano or basil
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped (optional for garnish)
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, diced (optional for a protein boost)
  • 1 cup broccoli florets (optional for added veggies)

How To Make Corkscrew Pasta ?

Cooking the Pasta

  • Begin by filling a large pot with water and bring it to a boil over high heat. Add a generous pinch of salt to the boiling water.
  • Add the corkscrew pasta to the boiling water and stir gently to prevent the pasta from sticking together.
  • Cook the pasta according to the package instructions, usually for about 8-10 minutes, until al dente.
  • Once cooked, drain the pasta using a colander and set it aside. Reserve a cup of pasta water for later use to adjust the sauce consistency, if needed.

Preparing the Sauce

  • While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a skillet or saucepan over medium heat.
  • Add the finely chopped onion to the skillet and sauté until translucent and slightly golden, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the minced garlic and cook for another minute until fragrant.
  • Pour in the diced tomatoes (with their juice), and add the salt, black pepper, and dried oregano or basil. Stir to combine.
  • Let the sauce simmer for about 10 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together. If using, add the cooked chicken and broccoli florets at this stage and cook until everything is heated through.

Combining Pasta and Sauce

  • Add the drained corkscrew pasta to the skillet with the sauce. Toss gently with a wooden spoon to ensure the pasta is evenly coated with the sauce.
  • If the sauce is too thick, add a little reserved pasta water to reach your desired consistency.

Finishing Touches

  • Sprinkle the grated Parmesan cheese over the pasta and stir to mix. The heat from the pasta and sauce will melt the cheese, creating a creamy texture.
  • Taste and adjust the seasoning with additional salt and pepper, if necessary.


  • Transfer the cooked corkscrew pasta to a serving dish.
  • Garnish with fresh basil leaves for a pop of color and freshness, if using.
  • Serve hot, allowing guests to add extra Parmesan cheese on top as desired.
Corkscrew Pasta

What To Serve With Corkscrew Pasta?

Roasted Mediterranean Vegetables

A vibrant medley of zucchini, bell peppers, eggplant, and cherry tomatoes, seasoned with herbs like rosemary and thyme, then roasted to perfection. These vegetables introduce a delightful array of textures and tastes that complement the pasta’s savory notes.

Citrus and Herb Salad

A light, refreshing salad made with mixed greens, slices of orange and grapefruit, tossed in a lemon-herb vinaigrette. This salad brings a zesty freshness that cuts through the richness of a saucy corkscrew pasta, making each bite of pasta feel more invigorating.

Garlic and Parmesan Stuffed Artichokes

Artichokes stuffed with a fragrant mixture of garlic, breadcrumbs, and Parmesan cheese, then steamed or baked until tender. This dish adds an elegant touch to the meal, with the stuffed artichokes offering a creamy, nutty complement to the pasta.

Herbed Focaccia Bread

A homemade focaccia, infused with rosemary, thyme, and garlic, provides a delightful crunch and a soft interior that’s perfect for sopping up any leftover sauce from the pasta. It’s a comforting addition that enhances the Italian dining experience.

Grilled Seafood Skewers

Skewers of marinated shrimp, scallops, and squid, grilled to perfection, offer a smoky, oceanic flavor that pairs beautifully with the pasta, especially if it’s served with a seafood or tomato-based sauce.

Balsamic Glazed Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts, roasted until crispy and then glazed with balsamic vinegar, provide a sweet and tangy counterpart that contrasts nicely with the savory pasta. This side adds a burst of flavor and a nice textural contrast.

Antipasto Platter

An assortment of Italian antipasti, including cured meats, cheeses, olives, and marinated vegetables, can start the meal on a high note. This platter allows diners to explore a variety of flavors and textures, preparing the palate for the main course.

Ricotta and Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms

Mushrooms filled with a creamy blend of ricotta cheese, spinach, and herbs, baked until golden. This side dish offers a melt-in-your-mouth texture and a rich flavor profile that nicely complements the pasta.

How to store leftover corkscrew pasta ?

Immediate Storage

  • Cool Down: Allow the corkscrew pasta to cool to room temperature after cooking. Spread it out on a large plate or baking sheet to expedite cooling and prevent it from continuing to cook from residual heat.
  • Lightly Oil: If you’ve cooked the pasta without sauce, toss it with a teaspoon of olive oil. This light coating helps prevent the noodles from sticking together.
  • Portion and Pack: Divide the pasta into serving-sized portions. This step is especially helpful if you plan to use the pasta in different meals. Use airtight containers or resealable plastic bags to pack the pasta. If you’ve mixed the pasta with sauce, it’s best to store it in the sauce to keep the pasta moist.

Long-term Storage

  • Refrigerate: Place the airtight containers or sealed bags in the refrigerator if you plan to use the pasta within three to five days. The cool temperature slows down bacterial growth, keeping the pasta safe to eat.
  • Freeze for Later: For longer storage, freezing is an effective option. Make sure the containers or bags are tightly sealed to prevent freezer burn. Frozen corkscrew pasta can last for up to two months. Label the containers with the date of storage to keep track of freshness.


  • Thawing: If frozen, thaw the pasta in the refrigerator overnight. For a quicker method, you can also reheat directly from frozen, although this may require a bit more time or liquid to ensure it heats evenly.
  • Reheating Methods: The best way to reheat corkscrew pasta is by using a microwave or stovetop. For microwave reheating, sprinkle a few drops of water over the pasta to prevent it from drying out. Cover with a microwave-safe lid or plastic wrap and heat on medium power, stirring occasionally. On the stovetop, reheat the pasta over low heat in a saucepan with a splash of water or additional sauce, stirring frequently to distribute heat evenly.
Corkscrew Pasta

Health Benefits Of Corkscrew Pasta

  • Energy Provision: Corkscrew pasta, like other forms of pasta, is a carbohydrate-rich food that provides the body with glucose, the preferred energy source for our brains, muscles, and central nervous system. This makes it an excellent choice for fueling up before physical activities or replenishing energy stores after exercise.
  • Digestive Health: Whole grain corkscrew pasta options are high in dietary fiber, which is beneficial for digestive health. Fiber aids in bowel regularity and helps to prevent constipation. It can also contribute to a feeling of fullness, which can assist in weight management.
  • Low Sodium and Fat Content: Pasta, including corkscrew shapes, naturally contains very low levels of sodium and fat. This makes it a heart-healthy food option when consumed as part of a balanced diet, especially when paired with nutrient-rich sauces and toppings like vegetables and lean proteins.
  • Source of B Vitamins: Pasta is a good source of several B vitamins, particularly folate (in fortified versions). B vitamins are vital for converting food into energy, maintaining healthy skin and brain function, and producing red blood cells.
  • Plant-based Protein: While pasta itself is not a high-protein food, when combined with legumes, cheese, meat, or seafood, it can contribute to a protein-packed meal. Whole grain pasta varieties offer more protein compared to refined versions, making them a better option for muscle repair and growth.
  • Iron and Other Minerals: Whole grain pasta is a source of iron, which is essential for transporting oxygen in the blood. It also provides other minerals like magnesium and zinc, important for bone health, immune function, and overall metabolic health.
  • Versatile in Healthy Diets: Corkscrew pasta can easily be incorporated into various healthy diets, including vegetarian, vegan, and Mediterranean diets. By choosing whole grain options and pairing with vegetables, healthy fats, and lean proteins, it can be part of a nutritious meal that supports long-term health.
  • Antioxidants in Colored Varieties: Some corkscrew pasta is made with additional ingredients like spinach, tomatoes, or beets, providing natural antioxidants such as lycopene in tomato-based pasta. These antioxidants can help combat oxidative stress and may contribute to reduced risk of chronic diseases.


  • Whole Wheat Fusilli: For a healthier twist, whole wheat fusilli offers a nuttier flavor and higher fiber content, making it an excellent option for those looking to incorporate more whole grains into their diet.
  • Tri-Color Rotini: This colorful pasta variation, typically colored with natural ingredients like spinach and tomato, adds a vibrant touch to dishes and can make a simple pasta salad more visually appealing.
  • Gluten-Free Options: With the rise of gluten sensitivity and celiac disease, gluten-free corkscrew pastas made from rice, corn, or quinoa flour provide a great alternative that allows everyone to enjoy these dishes without concern.
  • Vegetable-Infused Spirals: Vegetable-infused pasta, such as zucchini or carrot spirals, can be a low-carb alternative or a way to sneak more vegetables into your diet. These can either supplement or entirely replace traditional pasta in a dish.


  • Gemelli: Though not identical, gemelli pasta’s twists resemble the helical shape of corkscrew pasta and can similarly trap sauce well, making it a suitable substitute in most recipes.
  • Rotini: Slightly tighter in its spiral form than fusilli, rotini still offers a similar texture and sauce-catching ability, making it an easy swap in salads, bakes, and sautéed dishes.
  • Penne Rigate: With its ridged sides, penne rigate can also hold onto sauces fairly well. While it doesn’t offer the same visual appeal as corkscrew pasta, it’s a good alternative for hearty sauces and casseroles.
  • Rigatoni: Larger than penne, rigatoni’s ridges and hollow center make it another option for thick sauces and meaty dishes, providing a satisfying bite that complements robust flavors.
  • Homemade Vegetable Noodles: For a completely different approach, spiralized vegetables like sweet potatoes, beets, or squash can stand in for pasta in lighter dishes or for those following specific dietary guidelines.
Corkscrew Pasta

Tips and Tricks

Salt Your Water Generously

When boiling water for pasta, don’t shy away from adding salt. It should taste as salty as the sea. This is your only chance to season the pasta itself, and it makes a significant difference in the final flavor of your dish.

Don’t Overcook

Corkscrew pasta’s charm lies in its firm texture that holds up well against hearty sauces. Aim for ‘al dente’—cooked through but still with a slight bite. Start testing a couple of minutes before the package’s suggested cooking time to ensure perfection.

Reserve Pasta Water

Before draining your pasta, reserve a cup of the starchy cooking water. This liquid gold can be added to your sauce to help it cling to the pasta more effectively, creating a more cohesive dish.

Cool Pasta for Salads

If you’re making a pasta salad, rinse your cooked corkscrew pasta under cold water to stop the cooking process immediately. This keeps the pasta firm and prevents it from absorbing too much dressing, ensuring a perfect texture in every bite.

Embrace the Oil

For pasta dishes that won’t be served with sauce immediately, toss the drained pasta with a little olive oil. This prevents the spirals from sticking together and maintains their beautiful shape until it’s time to serve.

Layer Flavors

When preparing your sauce, build layers of flavor by sautéing onions and garlic before adding other ingredients. Herbs, spices, or a splash of wine can add depth and complexity that will infuse your corkscrew pasta with irresistible aromas and tastes.

Use the Right Sauce

The spiral shape of corkscrew pasta makes it ideal for thicker, chunkier sauces. Whether you opt for a rich meat sauce, a creamy Alfredo, or a rustic vegetable ragout, choose a sauce that the pasta’s grooves can grab onto.

Experiment with Ingredients

Corkscrew pasta is incredibly versatile. Don’t hesitate to mix in fresh vegetables, lean proteins, or various cheeses. The pasta’s crevices are perfect for capturing small bits of your added ingredients, ensuring a flavorful experience with each forkful.

Serve Immediately

Pasta is best served fresh. Once combined with your sauce, serve your corkscrew pasta immediately to enjoy its texture and warmth. If waiting is unavoidable, a quick reheat with a splash of pasta water can help revive it.

Presentation Matters

Take a moment to garnish your dish. A sprinkle of fresh herbs, grated cheese, or even a few edible flowers can elevate your corkscrew pasta from a meal to an experience, delighting both the palate and the eye.

Corkscrew Pasta

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQ’s

Corkscrew pasta, also known as fusilli, is distinguished by its spiral, twisted shape that resembles a corkscrew. This unique design is not just for aesthetics; it allows the pasta to hold onto sauces and small ingredients better than smoother, straighter shapes. This makes corkscrew pasta ideal for capturing every bit of flavor in dishes with rich, chunky sauces or dressings.

Absolutely! Corkscrew pasta is exceptionally versatile and performs wonderfully in cold dishes like pasta salads. Its spirals are excellent at trapping dressing, ensuring that every bite is flavorful. Additionally, the pasta’s texture holds up well, even when dressed for a while, making it a popular choice for picnics and potlucks where it may sit out for some time.

Yes, there is. Whole grain corkscrew pasta offers the same fun shape and texture as its traditional counterpart but with the added benefits of whole grains. This includes more fiber, vitamins, and minerals, making it a healthier option for those looking to incorporate more whole grains into their diet.

To achieve the perfect ‘al dente’ texture, which is firm to the bite but cooked through, it’s important to follow the package instructions as a guideline but also to start testing the pasta a few minutes before the suggested cooking time ends. Remember to use plenty of water and salt it generously to enhance the pasta’s flavor. Once cooked, drain it immediately to stop the cooking process and prevent it from becoming mushy.

Yes, corkscrew pasta can be frozen after cooking, making it a convenient option for meal prep. To freeze, let the pasta cool down after cooking, then toss with a bit of olive oil to prevent sticking. Portion the pasta into airtight containers or freezer bags. When ready to use, thaw in the refrigerator overnight or reheat directly from frozen, adding a splash of water or sauce to help it loosen up. This method is great for retaining the quality and texture of the pasta.

Suggested Recipes

Perfect Lemon Pesto Pasta Recipe

Perfect Cottage Cheese Alfredo Pasta| 30 Minutes Recipe

Super Tasty Bucatini Pomodoro Recipe| Just 25 Minutes And Dinner Is Ready


Corkscrew pasta, with its distinctive spirals and versatile nature, stands as a testament to the creativity and richness of Italian cuisine. It’s not just a pasta shape but a canvas for culinary artistry, allowing sauces, vegetables, cheeses, and proteins to intermingle in its grooves, delivering a symphony of flavors and textures with every bite. Whether dressed in a simple pesto, a hearty Bolognese, or tossed in a vibrant salad, corkscrew pasta adapts, making each dish memorable.

Its ability to enhance the dining experience, from casual meals to sophisticated gatherings, underscores its enduring popularity. Beyond its culinary flexibility, corkscrew pasta offers nutritional benefits, especially in its whole grain form, contributing to a balanced and healthful diet. Embracing corkscrew pasta is to embrace a world of gastronomic possibilities, where tradition meets innovation in the heart of the kitchen.

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