The Ultimate Italian Noodle Guide
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Think of this as spaghetti's slightly chubbier cousin. Pici is a handmade pasta that often goes with thicker sauces.
This long, corkscew-shaped pasta goes well with most sauces.
This pasta is short and thin, like chopped up spaghetti. It is versatile and pairs well with many types of sauce.
These noodles are long, thick, and tube-like, and made from buckwheat or whole wheat flour. It goes well with thick sauces.
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!
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.
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 KatieSumati Menda
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