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What are the Different Types of Spaghetti?

G. Wiesen
G. Wiesen

Throughout the world there are many different types of spaghettis, typically based on the preferences of manufacturers and consumers. The most common varieties are generally regular spaghetti and thin spaghetti, both of which can be used to make a number of different dishes. These types of different preparations include carbonara and classic spaghetti and meatballs found throughout the United States (US) and other regions. A number of different types of materials can also be used to make the pasta, such as traditional semolina flour, wheat flour, and flavored flours that utilize different types of peppers and other vegetables.

Spaghetti is typically made in Italy and many regions of the world using semolina flour. Other types of flours can be used; white flour is most common, while wheat flour can be used to make a somewhat healthier version. Spaghettis can also be made with flavored ingredients, such as peppers and other vegetables to create healthier noodles that also imbue the dishes they are used in with more flavor. The pasta is typically made into long, rounded strands that are solid throughout, and though longer spaghettis were popular in the past, more recent spaghettis tend to favor somewhat shorter pasta. For dishes made for children, long strands of pasta are often cut up to be easier to eat and reduce the risk of choking.

Spaghetti Bolognese.
Spaghetti Bolognese.

Standard spaghetti is typically of moderate thickness, thicker than angel hair pasta, but not quite as heavy as the flat pastas such as fettuccini. Thin spaghettis are usually made slightly thinner than other types, and are often similar to angel hair pasta. Capellini is a type of pasta very similar to thin spaghetti, and sometimes served in place of such spaghettis. These types of pasta are usually served with sauces and other ingredients that compliment their simple flavors.

Grated Parmesan cheese is often used to top spaghetti.
Grated Parmesan cheese is often used to top spaghetti.

Spaghetti is often served in households throughout the US and other areas with a simple tomato sauce and can often include ground meat or meatballs, as well as grated cheese such as parmesan as a topping. Another popular recipe includes a simple preparation made with ham and egg known as carbonara. Carbonara is typically prepared with thicker pasta such as fettuccini or standard spaghetti and is made with cured fatty pork, traditionally guanciale or pancetta. A raw egg and milk mixture is then added to the cooked pasta, and the heat from the pasta cooks the egg. A carbonara dish is then typically topped with grated or shaved Pecorino Romano.

Discussion Comments


Spaghetti is one of those dishes that you either get right and it is wonderful or you get wrong and it is terrible. While I am certainly not a chef, I do pride myself on a very tasty spaghetti and meatballs that just about anybody would be proud to munch on.

I make sure to get the sauce nice and thick and I always drain my noodles well. Some of the absolute worst spaghetti that I have ever eaten was horrible because no one thought that all of that water in the noodles might dilute the sauce.

I guess you could say I’m a chunk spaghetti recipe eater.


I am a huge spaghetti fan; huge, I tell you! Absolutely ginormous spaghetti lover. So, you can imagine my dismay when I started a new diet that said spaghetti was not allowed.

I was not very happy about this turn of events, as I typically made spaghetti for my family at least once a week. (Perhaps that is part of the reason I needed the diet, right.) It’s pretty fast, pretty simple and definitely tasty for us all.

But, this is what I discovered. While it isn’t exactly the same, for some reason fettuccini noodles have a much lower glycemic index than spaghetti noodles. That means you can switch them out for a much healthier dish! (And I still get to have my spaghetti!)


There is so much debate and conjecture between multiple parties regarding when pasta came to Italy and how, that I completely left that out of this article on purpose. As far as I can tell, it seems like it is an issue that will never be fully resolved to the satisfaction of all involved.


I knew there were tons of different kinds of pasta, but I had no idea there were this many different kinds of spaghetti. I think it's so cool how all the different shapes have such glamorous sounding names -- now the next time I go to the grocery store I'll definitely be mixing up my regular pasta selection of seashells and alphabet letters with some capellini!


One common misconception about spaghetti is that it was originally brought to Europe from China by Marco Polo.

In fact it was introduced to Italy by Arabs almost 600 years before Marco Polo traveled into China.

Marco Polo did see pasta when he was in China, but he already knew what it was.

I read about this on Wikipedia, which is pretty good about fact checking their urban legends, although of course, not perfect.

I think it's pretty amazing that pasta has been around that long.

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    • Spaghetti Bolognese.
      By: teine
      Spaghetti Bolognese.
    • Grated Parmesan cheese is often used to top spaghetti.
      By: Bert Folsom
      Grated Parmesan cheese is often used to top spaghetti.
    • Spaghetti pasta with pesto sauce.
      By: Francesco83
      Spaghetti pasta with pesto sauce.
    • Italian marinara sauce is sometimes more robust and spicier than other red sauces.
      By: Marzia Giacobbe
      Italian marinara sauce is sometimes more robust and spicier than other red sauces.
    • Durum wheat may be used to make whole grain spaghetti.
      By: womue
      Durum wheat may be used to make whole grain spaghetti.
    • Long strands of pasta may need to be cut up to reduce the risk of choking.
      By: nebari
      Long strands of pasta may need to be cut up to reduce the risk of choking.
    • Regular spaghetti is thicker than angelhair spaghetti.
      By: olly
      Regular spaghetti is thicker than angelhair spaghetti.