If you’re not Italian by birth, like us, you might not know the difference between spaghetti, spaghettini, spaghettoni, and capellini.
They are all types of long pasta and differ in terms of thickness and cooking time. All these noodles pair perfectly with specific meats and sauces.
Spaghettini is thicker than capellini but finer than spaghetti.
What is Spaghettini?
Spaghettini, pronounced “spuh-get-ee-nee,” is a form of long pasta that looks like regular noodles but is more refined than spaghetti. This Italian staple is not as commonly known as spaghetti, but you can find it online and in retail and grocery stores.
Eating spaghettini is as satisfying as any other pasta dish.
Slurping the long lone strand, listening to that oh-so-satisfying sound, and feeling the splash of the sauce on your lips and mouth, the tangy and sweet flavor of pasta sauce all make for a delightful sensory experience.
Comparing Spaghettini to Spaghetti
Let’s compare spaghettini and spaghetti – although we won’t mind twirling either around a fork and slurping them!
Thickness: The most significant difference between spaghettini and spaghetti is the thickness of the pasta. Even though both are thin and long noodles, spaghettini is finer than spaghetti.
Time to Cook: Spaghettini is thinner than spaghetti, so it takes less time to cook. The cook times slightly vary between pasta brands; however, this is the estimated cooking time when the pasta just becomes done:
- Spaghettini: 8 to 9 minutes
- Spaghetti: 11 to 12 minutes
Flour: Semolina, milled wheat, and durum flour can be used to make spaghettini and spaghetti. Even though you can use rice or potato flour to make this pasta shape, ready-to-boil pasta has long been made out of wheat.
Both these pasta forms are often enriched with vitamins.
Which Sauces Go Best with Spaghettini?
Spaghettini is a versatile dish, a favorite among adults, children, picky eaters, and die-hard foodies. Spaghettini can be paired with hearty and light sauces, but heavy meat sauces sometimes slide off the thin spaghettini strands.
Therefore, when cooking meatballs or carbonara, it is advised to pair them with traditional spaghetti noodles.
Spaghettini adds a delicious element to soups or minestrone when crushed up (while dry) and mixed in.
Spaghettini tastes best in fish-based dishes (salmon or tuna) with oil-based sauces (parmesan sauce or Olive oil and garlic – Aglio e Olio).
A few other combinations where spaghettini becomes the star of the dish are:
- vegetable-based sauces (caramelized mushroom sauce, tomato sauce)
- dairy sauce (parsley)
- broths or soups (consomme – a clear soup made with chicken, mutton, or beef stock).
- garlic and herb sauce
- buttery spinach sauce
- blush sauce (made by mixing Alfredo and marinara sauces)
Nutritional Value of Spaghettini
Spaghettini is an excellent energy source, and a bowl can provide 15% of your daily RDI (Recommended Dietary Intake) (1). Paired with other protein sources, oils, and sauces, it can also provide iron and B vitamins.
With a low glycemic index, it stays in your digestive tract for long, keeping the body feeling fuller for longer. The glycemic index (GI) lists carbohydrates according to their effect on glucose levels in the blood.
- Calories: 300
- Total Fat: 1.50g
- Trans Fat: 0
- Saturated Fat: 0.400g
- Sodium: 4mg
- Cholesterol: 0mg
- Total Carbohydrate: 63g
- Sugars: 2.00g
- Dietary Fiber: 5.0g
- Protein: 11.00g
How to Cook Spaghettini?
Al-dente is the term used for perfectly cooked pasta. This is when the pasta is just boiled, soft yet firm to the bite. Follow these steps for perfectly boiled spaghettini each time:
- Take a large pot, add water, and bring it to a boil.
- Add half a tsp. of olive oil and a pinch of salt to the water.
- Add spaghettini to the boiling water.
- Stir occasionally, so it doesn’t stick to the bottom or sides of the pan.
- Check the strands after 8 minutes. If they’re still hard, continue to boil for another minute.
- Drain in a colander when the pasta is tender but firm when eaten.
- Sprinkle some salt and add a little olive oil to prevent the spaghettini strands from clumping.
Common Mistakes To Avoid When Cooking Spaghettini
Cooking spaghettini is an art.
If you can’t seem to do it right, check to see that you’re making any of these common mistakes while cooking pasta:
Not using enough water – If you underfill your pot, your pasta will not boil well. Less water results in a high water to starch ratio, making your pasta soft and sticky.
Using a small pot – Adding pasta to a small pot will reduce the water temperature, resulting in mushy and clumpy pasta.
Not adding salt – If you think salt is added to boiling water only to flavor the pasta, think again! Salt adds a coarse texture to the spaghettini strands, ensuring the pasta won’t stick together.
Not stirring soon – Spaghettini will start to form clumps if you don’t stir as it cooks.
Overcooking – Drain the pasta as soon as it turns al-dente. Overcooked pasta not only turns soft but also loses its flavor.
What Happens If You Overcook Spaghettini?
Spaghettini is a bit tricky to cook due to its thinness compared to spaghetti.
The thin noodles require less cooking time, making it hard to achieve the perfect al-dente state. If you’re not standing over the stove, keeping a vigilant eye on the clock, and checking the doneness of the spaghettini, you can easily overcook it.
Overcooked spaghettini is every cook’s nightmare.
You can’t serve an inedible sloppy, mushy blob of food to your family and guests. Even if you try to drain it and keep the noodles intact, the overcooking leads to spaghettini losing flavor, and your plans to enjoy your Italian night might go down the drain with the pasta water.
Spaghettini is cooked without keeping the lid on for about eight to ten minutes. It is recommended to stir occasionally, so the pasta doesn’t clump together or stick to the pan’s bottom or sides.
Follow these recipes to make quick, easy, and delicious spaghettini meals:
Prawn and Chorizo Spaghetti
- 150g chopped crusty bread
- 125g coarsely chopped chorizo
- 300g spaghettini noodles
- 125ml extra virgin olive oil
- 300g peeled and chopped green prawns
- 3 finely chopped garlic cloves
- Pinch of dried chili flakes
- 1 cup of fresh basil leaves with large leaves torn
- Blitz the bread in a food processor to make coarse breadcrumbs. Remove and repeat the process with chorizo until finely chopped.
- Warm 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil in a large frying pan. Keep the heat medium-low.
- Stir in chopped chorizo and cook for 5 minutes till golden. Stir often. Add breadcrumbs and keep stirring. Cook for 2 minutes or until a change of color.
- Remove from oil and use a paper towel for draining.
- Use a large saucepan to boil water. Add pasta and salt and cook as directed by the instructions on the pack. When al-dente, drain and let cool.
- Put the frying pan over low heat and heat the leftover oil. Add chili flakes and garlic and cook until aromatic. Add the prawns and increase the heat to high. Cook for 2 minutes and keep stirring. Add the breadcrumb mixture, cooked pasta, and large basil leaves. Combine everything. Top with small basil leaves, season with salt and serve.
Spaghettini with Pipis
- 650 gm rinsed and drained pipis
- 70 ml extra-virgin olive oil
- 400 gm dried spaghettini
- 1 finely chopped garlic clove
- Pinch of dried chili flakes
- 100 ml dry white wine
- 2 finely chopped ripe tomatoes
- Chopped flat-leaf parsley
- Bring water to a boil and add spaghettini and salt. Follow the cooking instructions on the pasta pack and boil till al dente. Drain when done.
- Cook the pipis in a covered frying pan, frequently shaking on medium heat for 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a bowl when they open.
- Return the frying pan to heat, add oil, chili, and garlic, and stir for 1 minute.
- Add chopped tomatoes and stir until soft, then add wine to the frying pan. Cook until wine reduces and sauce thickens (approximately 2 minutes).
- Add pipis and 125ml juices to the mix and remove from heat when the sauce starts simmering. Toss spaghettini into the sauce and let it sit to soak it up.
- Drizzle oil and top with parsley before serving.
Spaghettini With Chili and Parsley
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 4 finely chopped garlic cloves
- 1 deseeded and chopped red banana chili
- 2 small deseeded and chopped red bird’s eye chilies
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 500g spaghettini noodles
- 60g of rocket leaves
- Follow packet directions to cook pasta in boiling salt water. Drain when just done and return to the saucepan.
- Take a large saucepan to boil water, and follow packet directions to cook until just tender.
- Heat the oil in your frying pan. Add chilies and garlic and cook for 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Add the chili garlic oil, salt, and pepper to the pasta and combine over low heat. Add rocket leaves, ground black pepper, and 3/4th of the shredded parmesan. Top with leftover parmesan and serve hot.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can I substitute spaghetti for spaghettini?
Spaghettini and spaghetti are similar and can be used interchangeably in many recipes, but spaghettini is a better choice for seafood-based dishes and in soups and broths.
Where does spaghettini stand on the pasta scale?
Spaghettini has been assigned number 5 on the pasta scale – the scale measuring the thickness of the pasta. For reference, spaghetti is on number 3, and capellini ranges between 1 and 2, depending on how fine its noodle strands are.
What’s the difference between spaghettini and spaghettoni?
Spaghettini and spaghettoni are both long pasta, meaning they are both shaped in round noodle forms. But, spaghettoni is a considerably thicker and chunkier noodle and tastes best with shellfish, lamb sauce, or chicken liver.
Pasta dishes give a sense of homeliness and comfort to people.
Once you’ve understood the different types of pasta and how best to pair them with proteins, sauces, and wines, you’ll be whipping up delicious Italian dishes in no time.
Keep experimenting with different pasta recipes and see how each one tastes differently paired with the same sauce.