Barilla’s New Piccolini: Mini Wagon Wheel Pasta

20081007-miniwheels.jpgWhen I think of the success of the Mini Cooper or the Smart car across the pond, I realize how much those Europeans love everyday essentials in miniature. And now Italian pasta company Barilla takes the trend one step further with its Piccolini, five old pasta shapes that newly come in "mini-me" sizes.

To go with the little cars, Barilla now makes little wheels, my absolute favorite, but hard to find, pasta shape. When craving wagon wheels, I have to walk to the gourmet market to buy De Cecco's, but the trip is a hassle when I want a quick pasta dinner, and frankly, no matter how much I try to retain their al dente integrity, they come out mushy.

Barilla, however, has brought wagon wheels to my everyday supermarket, and promises that its pasta remains "always perfectly al dente," saving me, like those European cars, a good deal of precious energy. Looks like my little wheels have finally entered the fast (checkout) lane.