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The Ultimate Italian Noodle Guide

The Ultimate Italian Noodle Guide

24 September, 2017Italian food is world-renown for being so delicious, and we agree. There's only one slight catch to navigating Italian pasta menus- it's so hard to tell the different types of noodles apart! If all of the different noodle names have your head spinning, read on. Note: For the purposes of this article, we'll define "noodle" ...
The Ultimate Italian Noodle Guide
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Italian food is world-renown for being so delicious, and we agree. There's only one slight catch to navigating Italian pasta menus- it's so hard to tell the different types of noodles apart! If all of the different noodle names have your head spinning, read on.

Note: For the purposes of this article, we'll define "noodle" as a long, stringy dough-based carbohydrate.

  • Angel Hair

This super-thin pasta cooks and absorbs sauces very quickly. It is best with a thin broth, a light tomato sauce, butter and oil, or a delicate cream sauce.

  • Spaghetti

Made of durum wheat semolina, spaghetti is said to have originated in China, and then spread to Italy through Marco Polo. These noodles are long, thin, and round, and they pair well with a broad range of sauces.

  • Fettuccine

With a name literally meaning "little ribbons", it's hard to see how someone wouldn't like fettuccine! These are flat egg noodles which are great for heavier cream or cheese sauces without too many chunks in them (i.e. chopped veggies).

  • Linguine

This pasta is long, thin, and ribbon-like, and its name means "little tongues". It goes really well with seafood sauces, as well as arrabbiata and marinara sauces.

Image: Wikipedia

  • Pappardelle

Pappardelle is made by cutting fresh pasta sheets into strips, resulting in wide, flat egg noodles. This type of pasta goes well with hearty, heavy sauces, and is especially popular during the winter because of that.

Image: Wikipedia

  • Tagliatelle

Most often paired with ragu sauces, tagliatelle is a popular pasta that typically goes with meat. The creative veggie, however, will pair it with some wholesome, heavy plant protein instead.

  • Bucatini

Think of thicker, hollow spaghetti, and you've got yourself some bucatini. This goes well with most sauces and is a delight when baked in casseroles.

  • Scialatelli

This appears similar to fettucine or linguine, but it's actually shorter. This goes well with seafood, but there are, of course, plenty of veggie-based options.

Image: Nonna Box

  • Pici

Think of this as spaghetti's slightly chubbier cousin. Pici is a handmade pasta that often goes with thicker sauces.

  • Canule

This long, corkscew-shaped pasta goes well with most sauces.

  • Vermicelli

This pasta is short and thin, like chopped up spaghetti. It is versatile and pairs well with many types of sauce.

  • Bigoli

These noodles are long, thick, and tube-like, and made from buckwheat or whole wheat flour. It goes well with thick sauces.

  • Bavette

This noodle is similar to spaghetti, and it is served with pesto sauces and/or vegetables. Perfect for anyone who is #VEGGIEBUZZING all day long!

  • Tonnarelli

A good way to think about this pasta is as square spaghetti. It can be made with a guitar-like instrument that is used to cut the dough into thin strips. This pasta is very similar to troccoli and spaghetti alla chitarra.

Image: De Cecco

Italian Pasta Sauces

Because there is so much overlap between Italian pastas and because most people are so familiar with cooking pasta, we have included some of the most common pasta sauce recipes here for you to use.

  • Easy Hearty Vegetarian Bolognese (this is vegan too!)

Image & Recipe: Ceara's Kitchen

  • Creamy Vegan Basil Pesto

Image & Recipe: She Likes Food

  • The Ultimate Vegan Cheese Sauce

Image & Recipe: Chocolate Covered Katie

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