Farfalle are a type of pasta. Commonly known as "bow-tie pasta", the name is derived from the Italian word farfalla (butterfly). The "e" at the end of the word is the Italian feminine plural ending, making the meaning of the word "butterflies".
Farfalle date back to the 16th century in Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna in Northern Italy.
Farfalle come in several sizes, but have a distinctive bow tie shape. Usually, the farfalle are formed from a rectangle or oval of pasta with two sides trimmed in a ruffled edge, and the center pinched together to make the unusual shape of the pasta. They are sometimes ridged, known as farfalle rigate. Different varieties are available: plain, tomato
, and spinach
. These are often sold together in a mix, recalling the colors of the flag of Italy.
Though usable with most sauces, farfalle are best suited to cream
In addition to plain and whole wheat varieties, as with any pasta, other colours can be made by mixing other ingredients into the dough, which also affects the flavour; for example, beetroot
for red, spinach for green and cuttlefish ink for black.
A larger variation of farfalle is known as farfallone, while there is a miniature version called farfalline. In Modena, farfalle are known as strichetti.
Farfalle are not related to the similar-sounding farfel, a kind of egg-barley pasta in Jewish cuisine.