Food & Drink Magazine

Pasta Names Explained

By Paolo @quatrofromaggio
In this atypical post, we will go over some of the most common pasta cuts, and describe the origins of their names. We will use the following template:

Italian Name (Literal Translation)

Pasta Names Explained

[sounds like]2
root word3
- main use(s) -4


Notes:
(1) A photo* of a pasta sample; the sizes are relative to each other.
(2) Approximately how the pasta name sounds; the accent goes on the syllable in bold.
(3) The root word that inspired the shape; usually the actual pasta name includes a modifier that hints to the cut's size:
  • -ini/-ine - small;
  • -oni/-one - large;
  • -etti/-ette - cute little.
(4) The main use(s) of each pasta type:
  • dry - boiled in salty water, drained and served with a sauce (e.g.: penne, rotini);
  • baked - possibly lightly boiled, then baked in the oven with filling and sauces (e.g.: cannelloni);
  • broth - added to a soup or a broth (e.g.: tubetti, or cut spaghetti).

Bucatini (Little Hollowed Ones) Cannelloni (Big Cute Hoses)

Conchiglie (Shells) Farfalle (Butterflies)

Fettuccine (Small Ribbons)Filini (Little Threads)

Fusilli (Little Spindles)Linguine (Small Tongues)

Mezze Penne Rigate (Striped Half Quills)Orecchiette (Cute Little Ears)

Pennette Integrali (Small Whole-Wheat Quills)Rigatoni (Large Striped Ones)

Rotini (Small Twirled Ones)Spaghettoni (Big Cute Twines)

Tortiglioni (Big Twisted Ones)Tubetti (Cute Little Tubes)

Pasta Names Explained

[boo-ca-tee-nee]
from 'bucato' = holed, hollowed
- dry -

Pasta Names Explained

[can-el-low-nee]
from 'canna' = hose
- baked -

Pasta Names Explained

[con-keel-yay]
from 'conchiglia' = shell
- dry, broth -

Pasta Names Explained

[far-fal-lay]
from 'farfalla' = butterfly
- dry -

Pasta Names Explained

[fay-too-chee-nay]
from 'fettuccia' = ribbon, tape
- dry, broth (cut) -

Pasta Names Explained

[fee-lee-nee]
from 'filo' = thread, wire
- broth -

Pasta Names Explained

[foo-sil-lee]
from 'fuso' = spindle
- dry -

Pasta Names Explained

[lin-gween-aye]
from 'lingua' = tongue
- dry -

Pasta Names Explained

[met-zay pen-aye ree-gah-tay]
from 'penna' = quill
- dry -

Pasta Names Explained

[o-ray-kee-ette-aye]
from 'orecchio' = ear
- dry -

Pasta Names Explained

[pen-ette-aye in-tay-gral-ee]
from 'penna' = quill
- dry -

Pasta Names Explained

[ree-gah-tow-nee]
from 'rigato' = striped
- dry -

Pasta Names Explained

[ro-tee-nee]
from 'roteare' = to twirl
- dry -

Pasta Names Explained

[spah-get-tow-nee]
from 'spago' = twine, string
- dry, broth (cut) -

Pasta Names Explained

[tor-teel-yo-nee]
from 'ritorto' = twisted
- dry -

Pasta Names Explained

[too-bet-tee]
from 'tubo' = tube
- broth -


* All photos © Quatro Fromaggio. All rights reserved.

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