For the layman, spaghetti and linguine may be identical, but they are quite distinct. In any case, they are both composed of the same type of pasta dough, and both are thin and long.
At first look, it seems that the debate between linguine and spaghetti is limited to whether traditionalists prefer the familiar form of their beloved childhood noodle or if others like the slightly distinct texture that linguine offers.
Spaghetti Vs Linguine
Let’s look more closely at both these kinds of pasta and more!
Linguine: What Is It?
A basic water and flour combination is used to make the pasta known as linguine, with roots in the Italian region of Genoa.
The Italian word for long spaghetti noodles is linguine, which translates to “little tongues.”
Whole wheat flour, white flour, and sometimes potato and almond flour are the types of flour that chefs use to produce linguine.
Compared to spaghetti, angel hair, and bucatini pasta noodles, linguine noodles are flatter.
Spaghetti: What Is It?
Pasta, known as spaghetti, is created from water and durum wheat or semolina flour. Spaghetti is a round, long noodle that gets its name from the Italian word “Spago,” which also means “twine” or “thread.”
Typically, the long strands are 10 inches long. Spaghetti comes in a variety of thicknesses; for instance, spaghettini is thinner spaghetti strands.
Differences Between Spaghetti and Linguine
- Shape: The most significant distinction between spaghetti and linguine is that the former is a flat noodle, and the latter is a circular one.
- Wheat: Semolina and Durum flour is often used to make linguine and spaghetti. Although theoretically, any kind of flour, including rice or potato, may be used to make this sort of pasta, wheat has long been the preferred ingredient.
- Long pasta: There are several varieties of pasta available in a variety of forms, including macaroni, lasagna, penne, farfalle, rotini, ziti, and tagliatelle. The kind of pasta known as a long pasta includes spaghetti and linguine. The pasta varieties fettuccine, capellini, and angel hair also have long noodles.
- Preparation: The noodles should be cooked “al dente,” which means that they should be taken out of the boiling water while they are still somewhat firm. This method of cooking is often used for spaghetti and linguine recipes.
Which Sauces Go Best with Spaghetti and Linguine?
Due to its somewhat bigger surface area than spaghetti, linguine pairs nicely with richer sauces like cream sauces and is very adaptable. It may be served with both thin and thick sauces.
Given that the protein is frequently lighter than many meatier alternatives, linguine pairs nicely with seafood. Consider serving the noodles with clam sauce and a thin layer of butter on top.
Linguine also goes well with mild tomato-based pasta sauces, white wine and garlic concoctions, and pestos.
Smooth, light sauces like cacio e pepe, marinara, carbonara, and garlic with olive oil are all suitable for serving with spaghetti. Thicker spaghetti may be served with heartier meat sauces like ragù or bolognese.
A well-known pasta meal is a spaghetti with meatballs, Parmesan cheese, and marinara sauce.
The History of Spaghetti
Although some historians assert that pasta has its roots in Italy, the majority of them are certain that Marco Polo came back from his incredible adventure through China with the recipe (1). Rice flour was a key ingredient in the oldest known pasta, popular in the east.
Pasta was a traditional meal in Italy that was produced with hard wheat and formed into long strands, making it quite similar to spaghetti today. The original Italian rendition, though, was probably a little more like vermicelli, a pasta kind whose name translates to “tiny worms” in English.
Spaghetti derives from the Italian word spago, which means “twine” or “string” in English. In Italy, pasta is often cooked only to al dente, which translates to “to the teeth,” to give it a little chewy texture as opposed to an excessively smooth one.
Spaghetti’s form and texture — which are neither too light nor too heavy — allow it to readily withstand both tomato and a sauce made with extra virgin olive oil.
A considerable amount of freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese is sometimes sprinkled on top of spaghetti after it has been prepared with a sauce, vegetables, or meat.
History of Linguini
Linguini is a kind of string pasta that is broader than spaghetti but not as wide as fettuccini. Italian for “little mouths,” linguini (or linguine) is a reference to its flat appearance.
It seems that this pasta form initially originated in the 1700s. In his book about Genoa’s economy during the 1700s, Giulio Giacchero mentions trenette, a dish that is similar to linguini and is served with green beans, potatoes, and pesto.
According to him, it was the traditional holiday dinner of Ligurian households at the time. Naturally, making pasta back then would have involved a lot of manual labor and very certainly included eggs.
The fact that linguini with beans, potatoes, and pesto is still a favorite meal in Liguria today is, nonetheless, intriguing.
The historic port city of Genoa serves as the focal point of Liguria, a coastal area with the Ligurian Sea in far-northwest Italy. Another impact of linguini’s coastal Ligurian origins is the famous dish called the Linguini Misto Mare, which often pairs linguini with seafood.
Making Pasta by Hand at Home
You can make both kinds of pasta from the same recipe; the difference is just how you shape them at the end. To make great pasta at home, you just need four ingredients, and the chances are strong that you already have these ingredients on hand.
- All-purpose flour: Conventional all-purpose flour consistently produces bouncy, chewy noodles.
- Eggs: Essential for giving the dough richness and moisture.
- Olive oil: The dough is moistened and brought together by a little olive oil in addition to the eggs.
- Salt: For the finest taste, salt should be added to the pasta water and dough.
- Make a nest out of the flour in a tidy work area. With a fork, carefully crack your eggs right into the middle while preserving the integrity of the flour walls, and then add the salt and olive oil. To carefully move the flour inside for blending, use your hands. To form a shaggy ball, continue kneading the dough.
- The dough should be worked for 8 – 10 minutes. The dough should first feel rather dry but persevere! Even while it may not seem to be coming together, after 8 – 10 minutes of kneading, it ought to be smooth and cohesive. Use a little water to integrate with your fingertips if the dough continues to appear too dry. Dust extra flour onto the work surface if it becomes too sticky. The dough should be formed into a ball, wrapped in plastic film, and allowed to rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.
- Flour 2 large baking sheets, then put them aside.
- Cut the dough into four equal halves. Flatten one gently in the shape of an oval disk. Run your dough three times through level 1 of the pasta roller attachment at the widest setting.
- Place the dough fragment on a tabletop or work surface. Fold your dough in half to create a rectangle by bringing the two short ends together in the middle (see photo above).
- Use the pasta roller with the dough thrice on level 2, then thrice on level 3, and once on levels 4, 5, and 6 individually.
- Fold the second half of a pasta sheet onto the first half, which has been laid out on the floured baking sheet. The second half should be topped with more flour. To prevent the finished spaghetti noodles from sticking to one another, flour each side well.
- Continue with the remaining dough.
- Use a pasta cutter attachment to run the spaghetti sheets through.
Recipe for Spaghetti Carbonara
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter or olive oil (extra-virgin),
- 1/2 lbs. of thick-cut bacon or chopped pancetta,
- Optional: 1-2 minced garlic cloves (approximately 1 teaspoon)
- 3-4 eggs
- 1-pound of spaghetti, fettuccine, or bucatini
- 1 cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese
- Kosher salt to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper or kosher salt to taste
- Boil water for the pasta first
- Add salt to it
- While the water is boiling, you should take a sauté pan and add butter or olive oil to it.
- Cook the pancetta or bacon until crispy.
- After one more minute, throw in the garlic, turn the heat off, and transfer the garlic and pancetta to a bowl.
- Beat half the cheese into the eggs: In a separate bowl, combine half of the cheese with the eggs that have been beaten.
- Add the dried pasta to the boiled water and cook without the lid at medium heat once the water has reached that temperature.
- Using tongs, transfer the pasta to the bowl containing the garlic and bacon when it’s al dente (still a bit firm but not mushy). Allow it to be sopping wet. Save a portion of your pasta water.
- You want the spaghetti to be hot, so transfer it immediately from the saucepan to the bowl. The pasta’s heat will warm the eggs just enough to cook them and turn them into a delicious creamy sauce.
- Mix everything together, letting the pasta cool just enough to prevent the eggs from curdling when you add them.
- Add the cheese and beaten eggs and toss to incorporate. To taste, add salt. To keep the pasta from drying out, pour some salty pasta water back into it.
- Black pepper and the remaining parmesan should be added right away. Add some finely chopped fresh parsley, if desired.
Recipe for Garlic Shrimp Linguini
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil,
- 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter,
- 2 pounds of large shrimp that have been peeled and deveined,
- 6 minced garlic cloves,
- 1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice,
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt,
- 1/8 teaspoon of black pepper,
- 1 pound of linguine pasta,
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley.
- Begin to add 1 pound of salted, boiled linguine pasta to the saucepan. Cook until firm.
- In the meanwhile, put 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter and 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a big pan. Set the temperature to medium-high.
- After the butter begins to sizzle, add 6 minced garlic cloves. Stir quickly for 10 to 15 seconds.
- Turn up the heat to a higher level and add 2 lbs of big, uncooked, deveined, and peeled shrimp.
- Stir the shrimp for approximately 5 to 6 minutes, or until they are well cooked. Add 1/8 teaspoon of black pepper and 1/2 teaspoon of salt to season.
- Add 1/4 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice next. For approximately a minute, stir.
- Drain and add the cooked pasta to the pan. Add 1/4 cup of finely chopped parsley on top after turning off the heat.
Now you know everything about spaghetti vs linguini! The main difference is just the shape and how they are used in recipes.
Further reading: Cellentani vs cavatappi