By Lucy Yanckello, Ph.D.
Pasta comes in many forms and each pasta type is unique, varying in terms of width, length, and texture. Let’s learn about several classic pasta types, including tonnarelli, fettuccine, tortellini, and spaghetti.
What is tonnarelli pasta? How is tonnarelli pasta made?
Tonnarelli pasta is a long noodle similar to the classic spaghetti noodle. Traditionally, tonnarelli is made by a tool called a La Chitarra (which means guitar in Italian); it’s made from strings stretched across a wooden frame. A sheet of pasta is placed on top of the strings and a pin is then rolled over the pasta, creating the thin, long tonnarelli noodles with a square cross section.
What popular dish can you make with tonnarelli pasta?
Cacio e pepe, meaning “cheese and pepper,” is one of the most famous dishes in Roman culture. Traditionally, cacio e pepe involves just three ingredients: peppercorns, Pecorino Romano cheese, and tonnarelli. The thicker width and square shape of tonnarelli makes it perfect for this peppery cheese sauce. Tonnarelli pasta is easy to find in stores in Rome of course, but in the United States, tonnarelli is much easier to find online, especially from companies like Wildgrain.
What is fettuccine?
Pasta shapes were first made by hand in Italy, and fettuccine is one of the first types of those pasta shapes. To make fettuccine, flat sheets of pasta are cut into ribbon-shaped strands known as fettucce. Because fettuccine is thicker than other long noodles, it is great to pair with robust sauces, like the cream-based Alfredo sauce.
What is tortellini? What is tortellini filled with?
Tortellini is a filled pasta in a distinctive ring shape and is one of the more well-known Italian pastas. Tortellini can be filled with a variety of ingredients; traditionally it’s filled with cheese and meats, such as pork or beef, but tortellini can also be filled with vegetables, such as spinach, as well. Tortellini is often served in a broth, but also it pairs well with cream or tomato-based sauces.
What is the difference between tonnarelli and spaghetti?
The difference between tonnarelli and spaghetti is the thickness and cross section of the noodles. Tonnarelli is a thicker noodle than spaghetti. Additionally, the cross section of tonnarelli is square, instead of round like spaghetti. Spaghetti comes from the word spaghi, which means “lengths of a cord”.
What is the difference between tonnarelli vs. bucatini?
Bucatini is a long pasta that is similar to tonnarelli. The difference between bucatini and other long pasta shapes, such as tonnarelli, is that bucatini has a hollow center. Buco translates to “hole” in Italian. While tonnarelli is best paired with creamy sauces, tomato-based sauces work best with bucatini.
What is the difference between spaghetti noodles and fettuccine?
Whereas spaghetti is round and cylindrical (spaghi meaning length of a cord in italian), fettuccine is flat and wider, more similar to a ribbon shape. Although fettuccine pairs well with creamy sauces such as alfredo, the wide nature of the noodles allows it to also fit well in dishes that call for other types of robust sauces that include ingredients such as meat, seafood, or vegetables. Spaghetti and fettuccine are both very versatile in terms of the sauces that the noodles can handle. Fettuccine and spaghetti are interchangeable in most recipes depending on what you have on hand.
What is the difference between tortellini and tortelloni?
Both tortellini and tortelloni are stuffed Italian pastas in the shape of a ring. Tortelloni is a larger-sized pasta than tortellini. The main flavor difference between tortellini and tortelloni is the traditional stuffing used in each. Tortelloni is filled with a vegetarian mixture, often ricotta cheese mixed with vegetables or pumpkin. In contrast to tortelloni’s vegetarian stuffing, tortellini has a meat based filling. In addition, tortellini and tortelloni are often prepared differently. Tortellini is traditionally served in broth while tortelloni is typically served with melted butter, sage, or a ragu sauce.
Where can I buy tonnarelli pasta? Fettuccine pasta? Tortellini pasta?
At Wildgrain, we specialize in making high-quality, fresh pastas that are delivered directly to your door. Wildgrain is the first bake-from-frozen delivery subscription service for breads, pastries, and fresh pastas. Some of our popular pastas include cheese tortellini, fresh fettuccine, and fresh tonnarelli. Learn more about Wildgrain and our artisanal baking and cooking methods.
About the Author
Lucy Yanckello received her Ph.D. in nutrition from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine. She currently works as a medical writer and enjoys being able to help people better understand nutrition and science.
This content is for informational use only and does not replace professional nutrition and/or medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is not a substitute for and should not be relied upon for specific nutrition and/or medical recommendations. Please talk with your doctor about any questions or concerns.