Spotlight Series: All About Linguine

Spotlight Series: All About Linguine

Sure, you may have enjoyed a classic dish of Linguine with Clam Sauce, Linguine Carbonara or Pesto Linguine, but how much do you actually know about this iconic pasta shape?

What is linguine? Upon first glance, linguine might look like the famously flat long-cut, fettuccine; however, linguine has an oval shape and is a bit thinner in width, about 4mm to be exact. You can think of linguine as flattened spaghetti—not completely flat like fettuccine or rounded like spaghetti, but somewhere in the middle. In fact, linguine is named for this oval shape, as its name literally translates to “little tongues.”

With roots in the coastal region of Liguria, linguine is most often featured in seafood pasta dishes such as the famous Linguine with Clam Sauce. Typical linguine dishes of the region include other seafood too such as mussels, prawns, calamari and shrimp. Genovese, a large port city located in Liguria, is the birthplace of basil pesto, and so, it’s no wonder that linguine is often found paired up with this herbaceous “green” sauce.

DeLallo Linguine pasta
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DeLallo Linguine Fast Facts

  • Category: Ribbon pasta.
  • Meaning: Little tongues.
  • Place of Origin: Liguria region of Northern Italy.
  • Main Ingredients: Durum wheat semolina, water.
  • Alternative Names: Linguettine.
  • Possible Substitutes: Fettuccine, spaghetti, trenette.

What Is Linguine?

Linguine (pronounced lin-GWEE-nee) is a long-cut dry pasta made with durum wheat semolina and water. These long noodles are about 4mm wide, which makes them a bit more slender than fettuccine. Unlike fettuccine, linguine is not completely flat and ribbon-like, but flattened into an elliptical or oval shape. This is why it is called linguine—a name that translates literally to mean “little tongues.” Linguine is a popular pasta cut that comes from the Northern Italian region of Liguria. In restaurants and dinner tables all over the world, linguine can be found paired up with other favorites of the region (Liguria) like seafood, light tomato sauces and most notably, basil pesto.

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The Origin Of Linguine And And Its Brief History

It is said that linguine, or flattened spaghetti, was written about first in the 1700s, in Genoa, Italy, by an economist writer by the name of Giulio Giacchero. Giacchero described these noodles (linguine or trenette) as a classic Ligurian pasta featured in a dish with green beans, potatoes and another Genovese speciality—basil pesto. This same dish is popular in Liguria today.

How Is Linguine Made And What Is It Made Of?

Linguine is made with durum wheat and water. Durum wheat is ground, or milled, into semolina flour. This flour is combined with water and kneaded to become the pasta dough. Linguine is shaped by extruding this dough through dies. Once the noodles are cut, they are dried and then packaged up. This is the dry linguine pasta you find on the shelves of your local grocery stores.

Linguine with Clam Sauce
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How To Cook Linguine

To cook linguine, first bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. We recommend 5 quarts of water and 2 tablespoons of kosher salt per 1 pound of pasta. Once water comes to a rolling boil, add the linguine noodles. Do not break the long pasta, but stir until it softens and falls in the pot of water completely. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Follow the instructions on your particular package. For DeLallo Linguine, we recommend 11 minutes for that ideal al dente texture. But be sure to check continually for doneness—pasta cooking isn’t an exact science!

The Best Linguine Pasta - The Delallo Difference

Experts in all things Italian and Mediterranean foods, DeLallo is a go-to brand for authentic Italian pasta. Our pasta begins in the town where pasta was born—Naples, Italy. We treat pasta making like an art, using only the very best quality durum wheat and cool mountain spring water. DeLallo selects wheat with the highest gluten index, gluten content and protein content—characteristics that affect how the pasta cooks, along with its texture and flavor. Wheat goes through a careful milling process that creates a coarsely ground semolina flour. Once made into dough, we use bronze dies to extrude the pasta into its oval shape. These dies create a rougher surface texture made to capture sauce. Lastly, our pasta is slowly dried at low temperatures to reproduce traditional pasta-making methods and preserve the pasta’s color, texture and aroma.

The Best Sauces For Linguine

Linguine is a long strand of pasta known for pairing up with a few types of sauces. Linguine is often paired with lighter, thinner sauces of fresh tomatoes, olive oil and lemon, but is sturdy enough to hold up to heavier, creamier sauces too. Linguine Bolognese and Linguine Alfredo are just a couple of ideas for a heartier pasta meal. Originating in the coastal region of Liguria, linguine is a popular cut to pair with seafood like clams, mussels, prawns, shrimp, anchovies, etc. Linguine with Shrimp Scampi is one of our favorites, though Linguine with Clams just may be one of the most well-known linguine pasta recipes out there. We can’t forget to mention basil pesto. Basil pesto comes from Genoa, a port city of Liguria, and so it makes sense that linguine and pesto show up together in many pasta recipes—even in Linguine Salads, sure to be the star of the picnic.

Linguine with Pesto
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Linguine Substitutes

Linguine is a long, ribbon-like pasta that can be substituted with other cuts of similar shape like fettuccine and trenette. Fettuccine is a bit thicker in width than linguine, but makes a good substitute. Even though spaghetti is more cylindrical, other long cuts like spaghetti and Bucatini are a good substitute.

Delallo Linguine: FAQ

How Do I Spell Linguine?

Linguine is spelled L-I-N-G-U-I-N-E.

How Do I Pronounce Linguine?

Linguine is pronounced lin-GWEE-nee.

What Does Linguine Mean In Italian?

Linguine means “little tongues” in English, a reference to their flattened oval shape—not to be mistaken with the completely flattened, ribbon-like shape of fettuccine.

How Is Linguine Traditionally Served?

Linguine is traditionally served with lighter, thinner sauces like fresh tomato sauces and herbaceous pesto sauces. It is common to see linguine paired up with other favorites of Liguria, the coastal region where linguine was born. For this reason, linguine is often served with seafood. Linguine alle Vongole, or Linguine with Clams, and Linguine alla Pescatore are popular linguine dishes. Another common linguine dish is Linguine alla Genovese, featuring fresh fragrant basil pesto—a staple of the Liguria region.

What Does Linguine Look Like?

Linguine is a long cut of pasta that falls somewhere between flat fettuccine noodles and cylindrical spaghetti noodles. Upon first glance, you might not be able to tell, but they are elliptical in shape (oval) rather than completely flat or round. This is how they get their name: “little tongues,” in Italian.

Linguine Vs Spaghetti - What Is The Difference?

Both linguine and spaghetti are long pasta shapes made by extrusion of pasta dough through bronze dies. The biggest difference is in their shape. Spaghetti noodles are cylindrical. Linguine noodles are flattened in appearance—an elliptical shape that is more like an oval. Linguine and spaghetti are interchangeable in their uses and both shine in thinner sauces, like light tomato sauces and oil-based sauces, as well as cream sauces, such as Alfredo and Carbonara.

Linguine Vs Fettuccine - What Is The Difference?

The biggest differences between linguine and fettuccine is its shape and how it is made. While both are long cuts of pasta that may look flat upon first glance, linguine is not completely flat, but oval-shaped. Because of their differing shapes, linguine and fettuccine are made differently. Flat, ribbon-like pasta like fettuccine is made by rolling out pasta dough and cutting; whereas, linguine is a pasta shape that is extruded by pushing pasta dough through a shaped die. Both cuts of pasta can be used in similar applications: from light tomato sauces and oil-based pesto to creamy decadent sauces like Alfredo.

Linguine Vs Angel Hair (Capellini) - What Is The Difference?

Linguine and capellini are both long cuts of pasta, but very different in shape and size. Linguine is a flattened shape more like an oval, where capellini is a cylindrical shape like spaghetti. That said, capellini is very thin, coming in at about .85mm - .92mm in width. In comparison, linguine is about 4mm wide. Very different, indeed!

Linguine Vs Tagliatelle - What Is The Difference?

Linguine and tagliatelle are both long pasta shapes, but they are different in shape and in how they are made. Linguine can be described as flattened spaghetti noodles, as they have an oval shape. Tagliatelle, on the other hand, is completely flat. Because of their differing shapes, linguine and tagliatelle are made differently. Flat, ribbon-like pasta such as tagliatelle is made by rolling out the pasta dough and cutting it into strips. Linguine is a pasta shape that is extruded by pushing the dough through a shaped die.

Where To Buy Delallo Linguine?

You can purchase our Linguine pasta here, or at your favorite retailer.