Cellentani Vs Cavatappi: Difference, History and Recipes

Pasta comes in a variety of forms and sizes that work well for many different meals. Cellentani and cavatappi are a couple of common pasta forms.

If you’ve ever explored the pasta section of your neighborhood grocery store, you’ve probably seen cellentani or cavatappi pasta someplace on the shelf, even if you haven’t heard of it or can’t immediately imagine it.

In fact, there’s a high possibility cellentani or cavatappi pasta was utilized in each great pasta salad you’ve ever eaten.

But who wins in the cellentani vs cavatappi debate? Let’s look at their differences, history, and some delicious recipes.


Cellentani: What is it?

Pasta known as cellentani, is a highly delicate and thin kind. Typically, it is served with herbs, cheese, and tomato sauce.

Since it is cooked with ricotta cheese, it is sometimes referred to as “pasta filata.” Usually, it is prepared al dente, or just hard enough to bite through. Cellentani is a thinner variation known as cavatappi.

Although bigger, it is comparable to cavatelli. Typically, it is included in stews and soups.


Cavatappi: What Is It?

The thick, short noodle known as cavatappi has its origins in Tuscany, Italy. It is somewhat thinner than fettuccine but otherwise comparable. It is often offered as a dish with meat-based sauces such as carbonara, bolognese, and ragu.


Difference Between Cellentani and Cavatappi

Cavatappi or cellentani are incredibly similar to one another, and unless you look very carefully, you probably won’t be able to determine them apart. The primary distinction between the two is that cavatappi has fewer ridges while cellentani has more.

Several pasta companies often use the two interchangeably regardless of their little variances. In reality, cavatappi is also referred to as toriglione, cellentani, and spirali in other parts of Italy.


How to Use Cellentani and Cavatappi

Cavatappi or cellentani may often be utilized interchangeably even in the same recipes because of how similar they are in size and form.

Both forms of pasta are perfect for all sorts of light and thick sauces because of their tubular and spiral shapes, albeit the richer the sauce, the easier the pasta will retain it.

The curves and ridges in cavatappi or cellentani make them a popular option for preparing pasta salad because they enable them to integrate minor elements like finely chopped veggies and vinaigrette into each mouthful.

For potlucks or catering occasions, cavatappi or cellentani both hold their form considerably longer than other pasta varieties, preventing mushy pasta from occurring.

You can choose between any of the two if you want to make macaroni and cheese while experimenting with unique forms. Even after being cooked in the oven, the pasta will retain its shape, and the creamy sauce and cheese will adhere to it.

The sauce will soak into the pasta since cavatappi and cellentani are both tubular and have a sizable hole running through the middle.

This ensures that every spoonful of food has every flavor you’ve added to the meal, so there will never be a dry mouthful.

Using either cellentani or cavatappi will provide a similar taste profile and serve as a fantastic foundation for your preferred pasta recipe.

Since cellentani contains more ridges than cavatappi, the texture you want will ultimately determine which of the two you choose.

Therefore, we advise choosing cavatappi if you like a smoother texture. However, because of its ridges, cellentani is a better option if you want additional texture.


History of Cellentani

The pasta design known as Cellentani was introduced in Barilla in honor of a well-known and adored pop singer in Italy during the 1960s.

Adriano Celentano was known as “springs” or “moleggiato” because of the way he moved on stage. This all made sense since the form resembled a coiled spring.

Cavatappi, another name for cellentani, is an Italian word that means “corkscrew,” which is another typical item that this cut mimics.

Among the most adaptable pasta cuts, Cellentani can hold every droplet of sauce and even trap meat, vegetables, or seafood in every forkful, thanks to its tubular core and ridged surface.

Cellentani can accommodate elaborate and simple sauces because of its twists and spirals. For pasta salads, light tomato sauces (without or with finely chopped veggies), pestos, or even mac and cheese, Cellentani is a great option.

It is a great pasta for catering or buffet service since it also maintains texture and bites for extended periods of time.


History of Cavatappi

Cavatappi was developed in southern Italy and was given the Italian nickname for a corkscrew because of its S-shaped spiral. Each spiral in a cavatappi hollow is approximately an inch long and sometimes has grooves or ridges on its surface.

The sauce is held in place by these ridges. It is a “short” pasta that may be eaten by vegans since it is manufactured without eggs.

Cavatappi is offered in the Rockledge Gardens market in our small slice of Italy.

Due to its thin, spiral form, it tastes fantastic when served with sauces, added to salads, and even baked in casseroles.

Any sauce goes well with cavatappi, but tomato-based sauces with vegetables or lean meats match particularly well.


Cellentani and Cavatappi Alternatives

In any pasta recipe, cellentani may be readily swapped out for cavatappi or vice versa.

However, if you can’t find either, you may use another kind of pasta with a similar tubular or hollow form, like:


Elbow Macaroni

Cavatappi or cellentani may be replaced with elbow macaroni, a readily available pasta. It is a small, curved, semicircular tube that comes in various diameters.

It may be cooked quickly and used in various dishes, including salads, casseroles, and soups.

In America, elbow macaroni is often used to prepare the wildly famous macaroni and cheese dish because it goes pretty well with a multitude of sauces.



Gemelli, which is Italian for “twins,” is a fantastic substitute for cellentani and cavatappi because of its unique form, which resembles two independent strands of pasta that have been coiled and twisted together.

The pasta sauce holds well in the swirls and crevices of the dish because it is really one single strand of spaghetti that has been folded in two and knotted together.

Gemelli is a widely-liked option for pasta salads and baked pasta meals since it goes well with various types of sauces, including tomato sauces, meat sauces, and cream sauces.



Fusilli, whose term is derived from “fuso,” an Italian word, which means “spindle,” is made by spinning a short rod around them, giving them the appearance of springs

It falls under the category of quick pasta, and because it can hold onto dressings, sauces, and other ingredients in its grooves, it is a perfect alternative to cellentani or cavatappi.

It comes both in dried and fresh versions and is offered in various hues and variations. Due to its distinctive form, it is the best option for cold salads and baked dishes with layers of cheese, spaghetti sauce, and meat.



Due to its distinctive corkscrew-like form, rotini, which in Italian means “little wheels,” is comparable to fusilli besides the tightness of its spirals.

Rotini comes in a variety of 2-edged and 5-edged spiral shapes that are spun into a twisted form.

Due to its form, rotini is one of the greatest alternatives for cavatappi or cellentani since it can hold tastes better and is often used in salads and tomato-based sauces.



Campanelle, a pasta with a bell-like form, petal-like borders, and a hollow center, is translated literally as “little bells.”

Although it has a delicate appearance, it is a robust pasta that is excellent for soaking up tomato-based, meat-based, dairy-based, and vegetable-based sauces.


2-Step Tex-Mex Cavatappi Recipe


  • Cooking oil, two teaspoons
  • 100 grams of ground beef
  • Chili powder, 1 1/2 tablespoons
  • Salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons
  • Freshly ground black pepper, 1/4 teaspoon
  • 2 cups of chunky tomato salsa (one 16-ounce jar)
  • Cavatappi, 3/4 pound
  • Red wine vinegar or lime juice, 2 tablespoons
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley or cilantro
  • 1 and a half cups of shredded 6 ounces of cheddar cheese
  • Serving slices of lime (optional)


  1. Oil should be heated over a fairly high flame in a large frying pan. About 3 minutes after adding the ground beef, brown it. Add the salt, pepper, and chili powder by stirring. For approximately 10 minutes, add in the salsa and simmer the dish over low heat to let the flavors meld.
  2. Cook the cavatappi for approximately 13 minutes or until they are just al dente in a big saucepan of salted, boiling water. Pasta should be drained before being combined with the sauce, cilantro, lime juice, and 1 cup of cheese. Cheese must be stirred until it melts. If desired, serve with lime wedges and the leftover 1/2 cup of cheese.


Baked Meatballs with Cellentani


  • A spoonful of extra virgin olive oil
  • Pasta water with kosher salt
  • One bag of Cellentani Pasta, 16 ounces.
  • Meatballs with sauce (frozen, canned, or homemade)
  • Fifteen ounces of ricotta cheese made with whole milk
  • Sliced and halved twelve ounces of fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup Romano cheese, grated
  • One whole egg
  • Kosher salt, as desired
  • Freshly ground pepper, if desired
  • Freshly chopped parsley
  • Freshly minced basil


  1. Heat up your oven to 375 degrees.
  2. The ricotta cheese, whole egg, Romano cheese, fresh black pepper, and kosher salt should all be combined in a separate glass dish. Combine ingredients by stirring.
  3. To stop the cooking of the Barilla Cellentani pasta, drain it and rinse it under cold water.
  4. Add the Cellentani pasta and toss to blend in the dish with the Ramano and ricotta cheese combination.
  5. Mix in one-third of the sauce from your meatball sauce.
  6. Place half of the coated pasta in a large lasagna or casserole dish. Add a layer of homemade meatballs, half of them. Add another third of the red sauce, followed by half of the freshly sliced mozzarella cheese.
  7. Repeat with a second layer of the pasta that has been coated and the remaining red sauce.
  8. Place the remaining fresh mozzarella and the other half of the Italian meatballs on top of the dish.
  9. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until bubbling.  Before serving, remove the dish from the oven and allow it to rest for five minutes.
  10. Before serving, garnish with freshly minced parsley and freshly chopped basil.



There isn’t much to the cellentani vs cavatappi debate since they are quite similar and can be used interchangeably for any recipe.

Read more: Rice vinegar vs white vinegar.