Types of pasta


Italy is known all over the world, as well as for the beauty of its nature and the immense artistic heritage, for the infinite variety and the absolute quality of its food and wine offer. The Italian cuisine for decades now it has become an indispensable reference on the world and our products we find on the shelves of the small and the large retailers everywhere.

In this endless quality proposal, a prominent role is certainly that played by Italian Pasta, now recognized as the worthy ambassador of our gastronomic excellence.

Each region of our beloved peninsula has its traditions, its peculiar characteristics and therefore, inevitably, also its typical pasta. In telling about some types of pasta we will not follow a direction that would reasonably take us from north to south of the boot, but we will jump from one region to another.

On this journey of taste let us start with a very dear pasta for us Tuscans, the Pici.


Pici is a type of pasta generally made by hand, similar to spaghetti but wider, typical of southern Tuscany. The name Pici derives from the verb "to stick", for how they are pulled by hand. However, there is also the dry version of this pasta with the most prolonged cooking. There is a typical recipe called "Pici all'Aglione" with the use of a specific type of garlic. We also have an easy-to-make version of this recipe on our website.

A couple of hundred kilometers in North and we are in the Veneto region, the land of Bigoli pasta. The name seems to come from the dialect term "bigàt" which means caterpillar and recalls their elongated shape. The story originates in the times of the Serenissima Republic of Venice when in 1604 a pasta maker from Padua filed a patent to register the machine of his invention. With his machinery, he managed to produce different types of pasta, but one, in particular, had universal success, Bigoli. Traditionally Bigoli is eaten with anchovy sauce.

A race headlong south and we arrive in Sicily, in the province of Trapani, where the Busiate welcome us. Their shape is that of thin tubes twisted on themselves and regarding the origin of the name there are two hypotheses in the field: the first maintains that this traditional format of pasta would be so-called because of the similarity with the "buso", a particular knitting iron commonly used in Trapani, while the second explains the term regarding the "busa", or the stem of a typical Mediterranean grass typical that the peasants used in ancient times to tie the bundles of ears of grain. Excellent with "Pesto alla Trapanese", based on tomato, almonds, garlic, basil, and aged Pecorino cheese.

In this frenetic range from north to south and vice versa, here we are now in the Emilia region, the land of Tagliatelle. Their name derives from the verb "to cut" or "to slice", since the finished product is obtained by rolling out the dough into thin sheets and cutting it, after having rolled it up.

Close relatives of Tagliatelle are Taglierini, traditional fresh egg pasta of Molise and the Piedmont, where they are commonly known under the name of Tajarin. There are endless uses of these types of pasta but the pairing by exception is Tajarin with White Truffle.


Back in Tuscany, the land of Pappardelle. This wider version of the Tagliatelle was eaten in eastern Tuscany as early as the late Middle Ages, which is mentioned later in writings of the thirteenth century. Boccaccio names them in The Decameron (VIII, 3) talking about the country of Bengodi where they were cooked in capon broth. Perfect with meat ragout like wild boar or other Tuscan traditional game.

Now a moment of recollection, Spaghetti enters the scene. Rivers of ink could be consumed for the king of pasta, the best-known product whose origin is distant in time. Just think that they originated in the 6th century BC. in the Indus valley, a territory located in western Asia that largely corresponds to that occupied by today's Pakistan. In the early days, they were a simple waste, produced by the processing of pasta, in the royal kitchens of the Sultan of Bahawalpur. The name seems to derive from their shape once dried, which made the son of the Sultan exclaim at their sight: "What is it? It stands up like my father's soldiers!" In that region, the term "sipahee" was used to indicate a soldier and this name was immediately attributed to that particular type of pasta, Spaghetti.

But how did they get to our peninsula? The person responsible for this wonderful gift was our beloved Marco Polo. As the site of the Fabianelli pasta factory - Pasta Toscana reminds us, "Returning from Catai, the Italian explorer was hosted by a Turkish merchant, who offered him a local dish with a delicious flavor, spaghetti with prawns, called in that place "spahi". The author of "Il Milione" was so impressed that he had the recipe left and once he returned to Venice he did everything he could to spread it. The original word "spahi" was later changed from the Italian language to "spaghi" and from there to affectionately call them "spaghetti" the step was short.
Finally a jump in the Campania region, a land of rich traditions. Here two types of pasta stand out over the others: Macaroni and Paccheri

The etymology of the word Macaroni is somewhat controversial. For some, the term "maccherone" derives from the Latin "maccare", with the meaning of crushing. For others, the root of the term would originate from "Maccus", one of the characters of the "Atellane", a primitive theatrical play, playful and licentious, which arose in Atella, an ancient city in Campania. It was an ante-litteram Pulcinella, who like him dreamed of nothing but food and to eat was always ready. It could also derive from the Greek word "makar", as claimed by Agnolo Morosini, a philologist who lived in the fifteenth century, whose meaning is "blessed, happy": how does it feel after eating a good plate of macaroni!

Last but not least the Paccheri. They are a typical pasta of the Neapolitan tradition, with the shape of giant macaroni. The term derives once again from ancient Greek (from πας, "all" and χειρ, "hand") of the founders of Parthènope, ancient Naples. A "pat", or a slap in the open hand. Hence the name of the type of pasta, much larger than normal in size.

We have finished this short and absolutely incomplete journey. Many other types of pasta could attract our attention, from Trofie to Fusilli, from Orecchiette to Penne and many more but for now, let's be satisfied and ... good pasta to all of us!


Share on:

Powered & Designed by Passepartout