IN PICTURES: A Spaghetti eastern

Italy didn't qualify for the 2018 World Cup currently taking place in Russia, but a taste of the country is nevertheless making its mark in a small town in the world's largest country.

IN PICTURES: A Spaghetti eastern
A pasta sculpture by Serghei Pakhomoff. Photo: Serghei Pakhomoff.

What do Peter the Great, the Leaning Tower of Pisa and classic cars have in common? It might sound like the beginning of a joke, but all in fact are pasta art made by sculptor Serghei Pakhomoff in the central Russian town of Krasnokamsk in the Urals on the Kama River. 

“It began as an advertising idea for a local pasta factory in my hometown,” Pakhomoff told The Local. “Then the factory closed so I decided to continue as a hobby,” he says. 

Pakhomoff's pasta sculpture of The Leaning Tower of Pisa. All photos: Serghei Pakhomoff. 

Pakhomoff uses penne, spaghetti, fusilli and other pasta contortions to create sculptures for galleries and private art collectors. Prices start at €20 for smaller models, says Pakhomoff, but more intricate designs can cost over €200. 

Pakhomoff's sculpture of Russian Tsar Peter the Great. 

While Italians swear religiously by certain kinds of pasta, Pakhomoff says he is happy to work with all kinds. “I've used pasta from supermarkets, nothing special,” says the sculptor. “Sometime I get Barilla, but it could also be unfamiliar brands. Now I have over 40 kinds of pasta on my shelf.”

Various pasta sculptures. 

Pakhomoff patented his sculptures in 2008 but he is keen for others to learn his trade. In 2013, the sculptor published a book, Models from Macaroni (published by AST Press), in Russian with master classes for beginners to learn his pasta art. 

Sculptor and author Serghei Pakhomoff holds a copy of his book, 'Models from Macaroni,' published in 2013. 

Pakhomoff works out of his gallery in Krasnokamsk, where many of his sculptures can be seen on display. Some models have also featured in other exhibitions. Enthusiasts wondering whether the sculptures are edible however might not find the taste exactly to their liking.

“The most popular question people ask me is: 'Can I cook and eat it?'” Pakhomoff told The Local. The sculptor suggests a better sauce might be preferable.

“I don't think it's the best idea for dinner because I use a crazy glue in my designs,” says the sculptor. 

A pasta tram sculpture. 

Pakhomoff has also created a Statue of Liberty pasta figurine.

Pasta sculpting in itself however is not an entirely new art form. Pasta penises, for example, are sold as a souvenir in Italy. Even nativity scenes have been made out of pasta. 

READ MORE: Ten surprising pasta facts in honour of Italy’s favourite food


Italian recipe of the week: The perfect spaghetti carbonara

It has just three ingredients, but a lot of bite: artisan pasta maker Silvana Lanzetta shares her recipe for the perfect carbonara sauce.

Italian recipe of the week: The perfect spaghetti carbonara
An authentic carbonara sauce has only three ingredients. Photo: Flickr/Wine Dharma

Pasta alla carbonara (literally translated as 'coal workers’ pasta') is one of the most well-known and loved Italian delicacies: the creaminess of the eggs contrasting with the crispy guanciale makes it a pleasure to eat.

The origins of carbonara sauce are still uncertain. However, the recipe doesn’t appear until 1944, which prompts some speculations on how this delicious recipe came to be.

READ ALSO: The original recipe for authentic bolognese sauce

The most widely recognized theory is that this beloved Italian dish is an American adaptation of the traditional cacio e ova: when the Allied troops were stationed in Italy toward the end of World War Two, they got fond of pasta cacio e pepe, but to give them a “back home” flavour, they added smoked bacon to the recipe.

Roman people enthusiastically adopted the new dish, and quickly added it to their cooking.

They swapped the bacon for guanciale (the fat from a pig’s cheek) as they already had pasta recipes using guanciale and Pecorino cheese, the other two being pasta alla gricia and bucatini all’amatriciana.


Don't use Parmesan cheese for this recipe. However, if you're having difficulties finding guanciale, pancetta can be used instead.

Never add cream to the recipe: the creaminess is given by the sheer amount of grated Pecorino – so don't skimp on it! 

READ ALSO: Silvana's ten golden rules for cooking pasta like the Italians


  • 360 g spaghetti
  • 120 g guanciale
  • 4 eggs yolks
  • 1 whole egg
  • 150 g Pecorino Romano cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste


Step 1:
In a non-stick pan, fry the guanciale in its own fat until slightly crispy, taking care not to brown it too much.

Step 2:
In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks and the whole egg with salt and pepper. Stir in the grated cheese until a thick cream is obtained. Add the cooked guanciale and reserve.

Step 3:
Cook the spaghetti al dente. Reserve about 100 ml of the cooking water. Drain the pasta well, and immediately pour the pasta into the bowl with the eggs. The heat of the pasta will cook the egg.

Step 4:
Add a little bit of the reserved cooking water, and mix well so as to coat all the pasta. If the sauce is still too dense, add some more cooking water. If too runny, stir in more cheese.

Step 5:
If necessary, season with more salt and pepper. Serve immediately sprinkled with extra grated Pecorino cheese.

Silvana Lanzetta. Photo: Private

Silvana Lanzetta was born into a family of pasta makers from Naples and spent 17 years as a part-time apprentice in her grandmother’s pasta factory. She specializes in making pasta entirely by hand and runs regular classes and workshops in London.

Find out more at her website,, including this recipe and others.