Last updated: August 16, 2021

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Spaghetti is one of the most widely consumed pasta dishes in the world due to its delicious taste and gastronomic versatility. This variant of tagliatelle can be combined with different types of meat, fish and vegetables. Do you know all its varieties? If not - don´t worry, we will show them to you!

These long, rounded noodles, originally from Naples, Italy, are characteristically thicker, which makes their flavour more intense and prevents them from overcooking as is normally the case with other pastas. Moreover, they come in different varieties adapted to different uses and tastes.

Throughout this article we will tell you about the most important characteristics of spaghetti noodles so that you can get to know their main characteristics and choose the variant you like best, depending on your gastronomic preferences. Enjoy your meal!




Summary

  • Spaghetti is a variant of noodles very similar to tagliatelle, but with a rounded and long shape, like strings (in fact, spago in Italian means string). Their flavour is more intense, they are not overcooked, and they have fewer calories than other pasta.
  • In the market you can find different variants of spaghetti, among which traditional spaghetti, wholemeal spaghetti and coloured spaghetti stand out. These varieties differ from each other mainly because of their ingredients, flavours and cost, among other particularities.
  • It is important that when buying spaghetti noodles you take into account certain relevant factors, such as their different types and varieties, sizes, raw materials or ingredients, and nutritional properties, among other aspects.

The Best Spaghetti: Our Picks

Buying Guide: What you need to know about Spaghetti

The main objective of this buying guide is to provide you with useful and necessary information about the product you are interested in buying. Therefore, we will tell you about the main characteristics of spaghetti noodles, including their advantages and those aspects that are not so beneficial.

Spaghetti is a very versatile pasta that can be eaten on its own or combined with different foods. (Photo: belchonock / 123rf.com)

What is spaghetti and what are its advantages?

Spaghetti is one of the most common and widely consumed pasta dishes in the world. These noodles of Italian origin, which are characterised by their rounded and elongated shape, are usually combined mainly with minced meat, but also with chicken, vegetables, fish, etc.

Spaghetti, also called vermicelli or colloquially "cords", are an ideal food to replenish energy, which is why many sportsmen and women eat them. Moreover, as they are thicker, their flavour is more intense, and they do not overcook when cooked as is often the case with other pastas.

Advantages
  • They are delicious
  • They absorb sauces more
  • They are beneficial for the heart
  • They have vitamins, antioxidants, fibre and minerals
  • They are one of the pastas with the fewest calories
  • They are not overcooked like other pastas
Disadvantages
  • They have a high carbohydrate content
  • They contain a high percentage of gluten and glucose
  • They are counterproductive for coeliacs

Traditional, wholemeal or coloured spaghetti - what should you look out for?

On the market, you can find several variants of spaghetti adapted to different tastes, uses and gastronomic preferences. Below, we will detail the characteristics of the three most common and most consumed varieties so that you can get to know their main characteristics.

Traditional

Traditional spaghetti are made with durum wheat flour, semolina or 0000 flour, eggs, salt and water. They can be handmade or industrial, being the first variant more nutritious and healthier than the second one, although also somewhat more expensive (unless you make them at home).

Wholemeal

Wholemeal variants of spaghetti have the same ingredients as traditional spaghetti, with the addition of wholemeal flour (and a smaller proportion of durum, semolina or 000-grain flour). You can also find gluten-free spaghetti for coeliacs made with rice flour.

Coloured spaghetti

Coloured spaghetti is spaghetti with extracts or colourings that give the pasta a different pigmentation and taste. In their homemade variants, they can also be combined with fresh vegetables to enhance the taste and add nutritional properties.

Traditional Wholemeal Coloured
Main ingredients Flour or semolina, water and eggs Plain flour and wholemeal flour (in larger quantities) Flour, colouring, fresh vegetables, squid ink, etc.
Main combinations With meat, seafood, vegetables, etc. Variants with vegetables for vegetarians Colouring, vegetables (spinach, pumpkin, etc.), squid ink, etc.
Comparative cost Low to medium Medium to high Variable
Sales locations Supermarkets, pasta factories Supermarkets, some pasta factories, health food shops Supermarkets, pasta factories, health food shops
Main characteristics They are the most common and consumed They are made with wholemeal flour They are made with colourings or vegetables that give them another colour and taste
Did you know that spaghetti is one of the pastas with the lowest caloric value, as a portion of these noodles provides only 220 calories, as opposed to tagliatelle, which adds almost 300 kcal per plate?

You can find different varieties of spaghetti on the market, made according to different uses and gastronomic preferences. (Photo: karandaev / 123rf.com)

Buying Criteria

In this last section of the article, we will tell you which are the purchasing criteria you should not lose sight of when buying spaghetti, since this pasta comes in different varieties, elaborated according to the preferences and culinary uses of consumers.

Types

As mentioned in the comparison chart, spaghetti can be artisanal or industrial. Below, we will discuss the characteristics of these two types or variants of "cords", so that you can take them into account when making your purchase.

Artisanal

Artisanal spaghetti is made without additives or chemical preservatives, which makes it much more nutritious than the industrial variants. Keep in mind that this benefit comes with a disadvantage: they last less time, so you should not let more than three or four days go by without eating them.

On the other hand, artisanal spaghetti is slower to make, which makes the dough softer and more permeable, and it absorbs much more of the flavour of the sauces than the industrial variants. These varieties are tastier and healthier, but also considerably more expensive.

Industrial

Unlike homemade spaghetti, which is made from durum wheat or semolina, many industrial varieties are made from flour, a raw material that is high in starch and energy, so these varieties will give you considerably more calories and fat.

In addition, dry spaghetti has preservatives and chemical additives to make it last longer. Despite the disadvantages of industrialised pasta, they are a much cheaper and higher yielding alternative to homemade or homemade varieties, so they can be a good choice for a large family.

Other varieties

Spaghetti is an ideal food because it provides the energy that athletes need

In addition to the above-mentioned varieties, there are gluten-free spaghetti varieties, especially for coeliacs or people who are intolerant to traditional flours. In the following, we will tell you about the characteristics of these pasta products so that you can get to know their special features and main ingredients.

Gluten-free spaghetti

Gluten-free spaghetti are those that do not contain TACC (Wheat, Oats, Barley and Rye), which are the flours that are harmful to coeliacs. They are made with a premix of permitted flours, such as maize flour, soya, potato, cassava (starch), etc.

If you have coeliac disease, you will know very well that it is extremely important that food does not come into contact with gluten, as this would contaminate it. It is therefore essential to take all the necessary precautions at the time of preparation and to make sure that the product is hermetically sealed and certified.

Spaghetti with rice flour

Another variant is spaghetti made with rice flour. These products are widely consumed not only by coeliacs but also by vegans and those who have a certain intolerance to gluten or choose to eliminate conventional flours from their diet.

These dry spaghetti noodles can be found in health food shops in their classic egg version, as well as in wholemeal or vegetable versions (mainly spinach, pumpkin and carrot). Note that the rice noodles should be soaked for a few minutes before cooking to soften them.

Sizes

The sizes of spaghetti may vary depending on the processing machinery or the style of the cook. Here are the approximate sizes of spaghetti so that you can choose the gastronomic variant that suits you best.

  • Thickness: They usually measure around half a centimetre in diameter, depending on the brand or pasta factory. You can still find some places where they are sold classified as spaguettini, spaguetti and spaguettoni (from thinner to thicker, with a difference of between half a millimetre and 2 millimetres between each one).
  • Length: Originally spaghetti was 50 centimetres long; however, this length was a bit awkward for handling and packaging, so it was shortened to 25 cm. You can still find some artisan pasta factories making the iconic super-long spaghetti.

Spaghetti is often combined with minced meat, chicken, fish and various vegetables, among other variations. (Photo: Oleg Bannikov / 123rf.com)

Ingredients

It is important that you know the ingredients of the food product you are eating so that you know what it is made of; even more so if you have an allergy or intolerance to certain substances. Here we will describe the characteristics and functions of the main raw materials from which spaghetti is made.

  • Semolina: Most spaghetti is made with semolina, as this raw material is finer and lighter and does not turn black immediately like traditional white flour. On the other hand, semolina is much lower in calories, making it an excellent choice if you are watching your weight.
  • Flour: Some variants of industrial spaghetti are made with white flour. If you are going to choose flour, we recommend that you opt for a combination of white (type 0000) and wholemeal, as the latter has more fibre and is not refined like the classic variant.
  • Eggs: Eggs are used to bind the ingredients of the spaghetti together. This food is also very rich in vitamins and proteins, so we advise you to look for the most homemade variants possible, as they will be more nutritious.
  • Water: Water is a fundamental element in the preparation of spaghetti, since it integrates the ingredients and provides moisture to the dough, making it softer and more elastic. You will notice the amount of water in the texture and softness of these cordon noodles.

In addition to being delicious, spaghetti is one of the lowest calorie pasta products. (Photo: Ivan Danik / 123rf.com)

Properties

Spaghetti is a pasta that provides various nutrients for the proper functioning of the body, as well as being an ideal food to replenish and recharge energy. Do you know all its properties? Here we will mention them so that you can make the most of its many nutritional benefits.

Vitamins

Spaghetti has numerous vitamins, including A, C, D, B1 (Thiamine), B6, B sub 12, E and K, as well as folic acid and Beta Carotene. These components have important health benefits, especially if you suffer from heart disease or have a family history of heart disease.

Minerals

Among its outstanding minerals, spaghetti contains calcium, iron, sodium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc, among others. These substances are very important for bone health, which is why we advise you to eat fresh pasta, among other foods, to strengthen your bones.

Carbohydrates

Spaghetti has a high carbohydrate content, but a low fat content, so that when you eat it you transform it into energy that you can burn through physical activity (which is why it is one of the foods most consumed by sportsmen and women). Be careful, if you don't use them up, they will be converted into extra calories.

Calories

Spaghetti is one of the pastas with the lowest calorie value, as a portion of 140 grams has around 220 calories, which would be 158 Kcal per 100 grams, approximately. If you eat the same amount of tagliatelle you will probably add 80 kcal per plate, and even more with stuffed pasta.

(Featured image photo: foodandmore / 123rf.com)

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