Where else but Italy can food and design have conspired to produce hundreds of playful pasta shapes, each perfectly suited to a sauce? That marriage is the subject of The Geometry of Pasta (Quirk Books, 2010) by Jacob Kenedy and Caz Hildebrand, an illustrated guide to macaroni and its mates. Equal parts cookbook and culinary history, it explains how to exploit the curves of cavatelli and the ridges of rigatoni, and offers recipes from classical tagliatelle with veal and pork ragu to cozz' e fasule, made with pasta mista, the leftover bits from pasta barrels, cannelini beans, and cherry tomatoes. Like many pasta dishes, it's simple but utterly gratifying.
The Geometry of Pasta, $15.57 at Amazon.com