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What is Linguine?

By A. Leverkuhn
Updated May 16, 2024
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Linguine is a classic Italian pasta that is said to be originally from the Campania region of the country. The term can be spelled linguine or linguini. The Italian translation is “little tongues.” This type of pasta is now popular in dishes all over the world.

The linguini pasta is wide, flat, and thin. Some types have the thickness of spaghetti, with a wider noodle. Classically, linguine is known as a type of pasta that often goes with seafood or other lighter fare, while the Bolognese or other types of red meat sauces are often paired with spaghetti noodles.

Modern restaurants have taken lots of inspiration from the linguine noodle. Pairing this pasta with more and more types of sauces and additions is one way to spice up a dish. Chefs also sometimes buy flavored linguine, where anything from spinach to various kinds of herbs gets added into the pasta recipe, often making the noodles a different color.

There are also various kinds of Italian pasta that chefs look for when they want a specific variety for use in a particular dish. There’s thinner linguini, also called linguetinne. There’s also fettucini, where the wide noodle tends to have a different consistency, and falls differently onto the plate. The nuances of texture and shape are well known to chefs who use pastas like linguine in their own personal cuisine.

In addition to accompaniments like seafood and pesto, other ideas tend to dominate when a cook piles up food on top of this kind of pasta. One such idea, at least in America, is using a thick, creamy “alfredo” sauce. Many Italians insist that this is not a classic Italian sauce, but in American cuisine, alfredo accompanies chicken or other elements along with linguine or any other kind of traditional Italian pasta.

Looking at various kinds of Italian pasta shows how this popular dinner food has made its way from “the old country” all around the world, and to America, where chefs all over the country, as well as large commercial food chains, borrow heavily from old world Italian cuisine. Italian food has become so much a part of the American landscape that terms like linguine are now part of the regular lexicon. Linguini is commonly fount on supermarket shelves, either dry or as part of quick frozen entrees. Due to the popularity of pasta dishes, even many of America’s biggest pizza chains have begun offering quick pasta dishes for sale to busy customers. Whether it’s fine dining or fast food, this kind of pasta is not going anywhere anytime soon.

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