Spotlight Series: All About Capellini

Spotlight Series: All About Capellini

Capellini gets its name from the Italian word “capelli,” which means “hair.” Capellini is a long, thin, cylindrical noodle that can be described as super thin strands, like a head of golden hair. Thinner than its most famous cousin, Spaghetti, Capellini is a beloved pasta shape in its own right. In the United States, Capellini is often called “angel hair,” but the two pasta shapes are slightly different in their birthplace of Italy. Traditionally, Capellini pasta is a bit thicker than what is classified as angel hair pasta.

DeLallo Capellini next to a jar of semolina flour

No matter what you call it, Capellini is a sophisticated pasta ready to take on everything from a casual pasta night to a dinner for a special occasion. Its unique texture and delicate presence is best suited for simpler, lighter sauces.

Delallo Capellini: Fast Facts

  • Category: Long, cylindrical pasta
  • Meaning: “Hair” in Italian
  • Cook Time: 3 to 4 minutes
  • Place of Origin: Naples region, Italy
  • Main Ingredients: Durum wheat, water
  • Alternative Names: Angel hair pasta
  • Possible Substitutes: Angel hair pasta nests, spaghettini

Shop DeLallo Capellini:

What Is Capellini?

Capellini is a long, very thin cylindrical pasta. It is similar in length and shape to Spaghetti, but much thinner, giving it a different texture. Because of its delicate strands, Capellini cooks quickly and is often paired with light sauces like simple butter, olive oil and garlic, seafood and tomato sauces.

Bundle of Capellini pasta

The Origin Of Capellini And Its Brief History

Capellini has long been enjoyed in Italy, with its origins in Naples. While pasta has been enjoyed in the region for hundreds of years, hard-to-make shapes like Capellini have become much more common after industrialization. Pasta factories around Naples could easily produce the extremely thin strands, and then, dry and package them. Now the shape is enjoyed throughout Italy and the world.

How Is Capellini Pasta Made And What Is It Made Of?

Capellini pasta is made by creating a pasta dough with semolina flour and water. DeLallo Pasta is made with superior Italian durum wheat and fresh mineral-rich spring water. The pasta dough is pushed through dies, forming its very thin, cylindrical shape.

Pasta noodles are cut and then hung to dry before being packaged for sale. DeLallo utilizes slow drying methods at low temperatures to mimic natural air-drying. This allows pasta to retain its nutrients, fresh bread flavor and al dente texture when cooked. Occasionally, you will find Capellini pasta swirled into portioned nests and sold in bags. This pasta is often called “angel hair” in the U.S.

Close-up view of DeLallo Capellini

How To Cook Capellini

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and season generously with salt. (We like the ratio of 5 quarts of water to ¼ cup of salt. “Salty like the sea,” as Italians say. Add the pasta to the water once it is boiling. Be sure to bring the water back to a rolling boil. Set a timer for the al dente cook time specified on the package instructions. Once the pasta softens a bit (about 30 seconds), give it a stir to fold in the noodles and to prevent the strands from sticking to the pot.

Once the cook time is almost up, taste a strand to test. It should be tender but with a slight bite—this is what we call “al dente.” Immediately drain the pasta and toss the hot pasta with your favorite sauce right in the saucepan. With such a short cook time, Capellini pasta is easy to overcook, so it is best to keep an eye on it and move quickly.

The Best Capellini Pasta - The Delallo Difference

DeLallo Capellini is made in Italy with the specially milled, high-quality durum wheat and mountain spring water. This premium durum wheat is chosen for its high gluten index and protein content. These all affect how the Capellini cooks up—taste and texture. The strands are dried slowly and at low temperatures to preserve the flavor and texture of the pasta. DeLallo Capellini is available in whole-wheat and organic varieties, the quality is apparent in every bite of this capellini pasta.

DeLallo Capellini Pasta

Capellini Recipes And Usage Ideas

Capellini is traditionally paired with lighter sauces, more springtime and summery sauces with ingredients like fresh tomatoes, seasonal vegetables (as in a primavera) and vibrant lemon. Lighter meats are common too, especially seafood like lobster. Consider pairing Capellini with ingredients that will coat the delicate strands and incorporate into the pasta without overwhelming it like Chicken Capellini and Seafood Capellini.

For the best results, toss hot Capellini with a warmed sauce immediately after cooking and draining. This will allow the sauce to properly adhere to each strand. For more Capellini pasta recipe ideas, click here.

The Best Sauces For Capellini

Lighter sauces are best for the thin, delicate strands of Capellini. A simple garlic and butter sauce is a nice option, as is an olive oil and lemon sauce. In summer fresh tomato sauces, like Pomodoro, are a great way to use garden tomatoes. Try tossing Capellini with a zesty pesto for a stunning dish, both in flavorful and in appearance.

Capellini Substitutes

Although angel hair and Capellini are slightly different in Italy, they tend to be the exact same pasta in the U.S. and much of the rest of the world. If you can’t find Capellini, reach for pasta labeled “angel hair” instead. Spaghettini is another good option. Spaghettini is thicker than Capellini but thinner than Spaghetti. Regular Spaghetti will work in most recipes that call for Capellini, but the cook time and texture will be different since the strands are much thicker.

Delallo Capellini: FAQ

How Do I Pronounce “Capellini”?

Capellini is pronounced “ka-puh-lee-nee.”

What Does “Capellini” Mean?

Capellini literally means “little hair” in Italian. It comes from the Italian word for hair, “capelli.”

What Pasta Is The Closest To Capellini?

Capellini is often called angel hair pasta, even though the two pastas are slightly different in their home country of Italy. That being said, the two shapes are very similar. They are both long and very thin and can be used interchangeably. Beyond angel hair, Spaghettini is the most similar to Capellini.

Capellini Vs Angel Hair Pasta - What Is The Difference?

In Italy, angel hair pasta is slightly thinner than Capellini and is commonly sold in portioned bundles. In the U.S., Capellini is called angel hair pasta and vice versa, and the two are one and the same. If a recipe calls for either pasta, you can use Capellini or angel hair in the exact same way with identical or near-identical results.

Capellini Vs Vermicelli - What Is The Difference?

In Italy, Vermicelli is a type of pasta very similar in shape to spaghetti, making it thicker than Capellini. In various parts of the world, Vermicelli is a catch-all word for thin, long pasta used in Indian, Asian, and other cuisines. It can have varying widths and be made of wheat, rice, and other ingredients. Capellini is an Italian wheat-based pasta that is similar in length to spaghetti but is much thinner.

Capellini Vs Spaghetti - What Is The Difference?

Capellini and Spaghetti are both long, thin, cylindrical pasta shapes. Capellini is thinner than spaghetti, with more delicate strands that cook faster. The two can be used similarly in dishes; however, Capellini is commonly paired with lighter ingredients and sauces.

Capellini Vs Spaghettini (Thin Spaghetti) - What Is The Difference?

Spaghettini is a thinner version of classic Spaghetti. Capellini is a similar long pasta, but the strands are even thinner than Spaghettini. The two pastas make a good replacement for each other in recipes, and both go well with seafood and fresh vegetables.

Capellini Vs Linguine - What Is The Difference?

Linguine is a long strand pasta just like Capellini, but that is where their similarities end. Capellini resembles spaghetti, but the noodles are much thinner. Linguine has a flat, elliptical shape that is ever so slightly wider in the center than the edges. Both pair nicely with seafood, but their textures are very different.

Where To Buy Delallo Capellini?

Order DeLallo Capellini pasta online or find it at most major supermarkets across the country.