The word spaghetti comes from the Italian word to describe ‘little strings’. These ‘little strings’ are long, rounded and there are a whole host of different sizes in the spaghetti family.
Each spaghetti size has its own name and here some of which you may recognise:
Typical of the Tuscan region, pici also referred to as ‘pinci‘, is the thickest of the spaghetti pasta. Around the region of Veneto, you can find a whole wheat version of pici which is called ‘bigoli‘.
Here at Pasta Nostra USA, we love pici. The Pasta Maker tells us that it extrudes quickly and easily as well as behaving perfectly when made using our gluten free pasta dough recipe. We create our pici in plain as well as a wide range of natural flavours which can also be added to our whole wheat ‘bigoli’ or gluten free pici.
We have not made spaghettoni yet but believe that it is slightly less thick than pici but thicker that your everyday spaghetti.
Arguably the most popular pasta eaten across Italy and the world. No matter the thickness of your spaghetti, authentic Italian spaghetti is always made with semolina flour and water. In fact, in Italy this is required by law. Therefore, here at The Big Dream Factory, we follow the law (other than our whole wheat and gluten free).
The Pasta Maker tells us that semolina flour is extremely important in making good pasta and especially spaghetti. You need to create a dough with high elasticity. Semolina is made only from durum wheat which is high in protein and gluten. It’s the gluten that is required to form these long strands of pasta that keep their shape when cooked.
By now you should be seeing a pattern … spaghettini is a little thinner than spaghetti but not as thin as our next member of the spaghetti family.
Many of the long pasta are often designated by number rather than name. For example, number 12 is spaghetti, spaghettini is number 11 and fedelini is number 10. We agree with The Pasta Maker that numbering pasta denudes its immense history and prefer to call all of our pasta by their rightful given names (even if we do get it wrong from time to time).
Fedelini means ‘the faithful ones’ possibly due to the wide range of dishes that it is used for. From Genoa, to Rome, to Naples, Fedelini is broken into broths, served with very simple sauces or with butter, oil and herbs. In Naples, it is especially popular baked as a pie!
Vermicelloni or ‘thick little worms’, originates in Pulgia and is in fact a traditional shape from southern Italy where it is traditionally broken into simple soups like ‘pesce fuggito’. When pasta is cooked in this way, it takes on the flavour of the soup.
As you make your way through the list of spaghetti you are learning one of the most beautiful languages in the world. In fact many of these pasta names date back centuries. Take this edict issued by the Count of Ripa Cursia, Viceroy of the kingdom of Naples on January 25th, 1509:
“When the price of flour rises because of war, or famine or bad weather by five carlini or more per tomolo, taralli, susamelli, ceppule, maccarune, trii, vermicelli or other things of pasta must not be made except in case of need for the sick.”
Capellini means ‘fine hair’ and is perfect broken into broths and minestrone. Interestingly, it wasn’t until the invention of pasta machines that pasta as fine as capellini could be produced.
Capelli d’Angelo we know around the world as ‘angel hair’. It is the most delicate of all the pasta we make and cooks very quickly. The Pasta Maker creates a range of naturally flavoured angel hair including, fresh dill, basil and basil pesto. If you have a favourite flavour you would like The Pasta Maker to create for you, simply ask.
We hope you enjoyed your stroll through Italy with the spaghetti family. As we begin to expand our product line and The Pasta Maker knuckles down to making a more full range of spaghetti, we will share those photographs with you here and on our Facebook page. Unless of course you have a few of your own you would like to share with us …