Pasta, a beloved and versatile staple of Italian cuisine, comes in a plethora of shapes and sizes. Among the wide range of pasta types, capellini and spaghetti hold a special place in the hearts of pasta lovers.

To the untrained eye, they may seem similar, but these two styles of pasta have distinct attributes that make them unique. In this article, we delve into the captivating world of capellini and spaghetti, exploring their differences and similarities in cooking and eating experiences.

Main Differences

At the core, both capellini and spaghetti are long, thin, cylindrical types of pasta. However, capellini, also referred to as “angel hair,” is much thinner compared to spaghetti. This difference in thickness not only influences their texture but also affects cooking times and the type of sauces and dishes they are commonly paired with.

Capellini, due to its slender strands, cooks quickly and works best with light, thin sauces. In contrast, spaghetti, being thicker, takes longer to cook and pairs well with heavier, chunkier sauces. Furthermore, spaghetti is more universally recognized and utilized, while capellini is slightly less known and used.

Capellini vs Spaghettini (Thin Spaghetti)

Capellini and Spaghettini (Thin Spaghetti) have a few key differences worth noting. Capellini is thinner and more delicate, often referred to as “angel hair” pasta, while Spaghettini is slightly thicker.

The cooking time for Capellini is shorter due to its thinness, while Spaghettini may require a bit more time. In terms of texture, Capellini has a delicate and fine texture, while Spaghettini has a slightly thicker and more resilient texture. Additionally, Capellini pairs well with lighter, delicate sauces, whereas Spaghettini can handle a wider range of sauces, including cream-based and thicker tomato sauces.

Linguine vs Capellini

Linguine is wider and thicker compared to the delicate strands of Capellini. Linguine has a slightly firmer texture, while Capellini is delicate and tender.

When it comes to sauce pairings, Linguine works well with a variety of sauces, including tomato-based, seafood-based, or oil-based sauces, whereas Capellini is best suited for lighter, more delicate sauces like garlic and oil or light cream-based options. Additionally, Linguine generally requires a longer cooking time compared to quick-cooking Capellini.

Nutrition Comparison

Nutrition ComponentCapellini (per 100g)Spaghetti (per 100g)
Dietary Fiber3.2g3.5g
Iron15% DV15% DV
Calcium2% DV2% DV

Note: These values are approximate and may vary based on the brand.

25 Facts About Differences and Similarities

1. Origin

Both capellini and spaghetti hail from Italy, known for its diverse range of pasta types.

2. Thickness

Capellini, as one of the thinnest forms of pasta, is considerably thinner than spaghetti. Its thin strands provide a delicate texture when cooked.

3. Cooking Time

Due to its thinness, capellini cooks significantly faster than spaghetti. The usual cooking time for capellini is 2-3 minutes, while spaghetti typically takes around 9-11 minutes.

spaghetti boiling time

4. Preferred Sauces

Capellini’s slender strands make it a great partner for light, delicate sauces, such as simple olive oil-based sauces or thin tomato sauces. In contrast, spaghetti, with its sturdier body, can handle heavier, meatier sauces like Bolognese or carbonara.

5. Regional Usage

While both types of pasta are used widely in Italian cuisine, spaghetti is more universally known and used. Capellini, while popular, isn’t quite as ubiquitous.

6. Versatility in Dishes

Spaghetti’s thickness and texture make it versatile for a wide range of dishes from spaghetti and meatballs to pasta salads. Capellini’s delicate texture makes it suited for less heavy dishes.

7. Tolerance for Overcooking

Spaghetti, being thicker, is less prone to becoming overly soft or mushy when overcooked. In contrast, capellini, due to its thinness, can easily become too soft if not carefully monitored during cooking.

8. Shapes in Packaging

Capellini is often found in shorter strands and packaged in nests due to its delicate structure. Spaghetti is usually found in longer strands.

9. Pairing with Ingredients

Capellini goes well with ingredients like seafood, vegetables, or lean proteins due to its lightness. Spaghetti can handle heavier ingredients such as ground meat or hearty vegetables.

10. Nutritional Value

The nutritional values of capellini and spaghetti are almost identical, with minor differences in carbohydrate and fiber content.

11. Broth Usage

Capellini is often used in soups and broths because it provides a pleasing texture without being too filling. Spaghetti is less commonly used in soups.

12. Popularity in Traditional Dishes

Spaghetti is the star in iconic dishes like Spaghetti alla Carbonara or Spaghetti alla Puttanesca. Capellini doesn’t have as many traditional dishes associated with it but is loved nonetheless.

13. Baking Suitability

Spaghetti, due to its thickness and ability to hold its shape, is often used in baked pasta dishes. Capellini is not usually used for baking.

14. Use in Stir-Fries

While not traditional, spaghetti is often used as a substitute for Asian noodles in stir-fries. Capellini can also be used for this purpose but requires a more careful cooking approach due to its thinness.

15. Gluten Content

Both capellini and spaghetti are traditionally made from durum wheat semolina and contain gluten. However, gluten-free options are available for both types of pasta.

16. Taste and Texture

The taste of capellini and spaghetti is similar, but the texture differs due to their thickness. Capellini provides a delicate, light mouthfeel, while spaghetti is more substantial and chewy.

17. Cold Salad Usage

Spaghetti is often used in cold pasta salads due to its ability to maintain texture even when cooled. Capellini can also be used but tends to clump together more when cooled.

spaghetti in a cold pasta salad

18. Italian Cultural Significance

While both are significant in Italian cuisine, spaghetti holds a slightly more iconic status due to its prominence in popular culture and worldwide recognition.

19. Usage in Kids’ Meals

Spaghetti is more commonly used in children’s meals due to its popularity and easy-to-eat format. Capellini, while also used, is a bit more delicate for young diners to handle.

20. Preferred Cooking Method

Both capellini and spaghetti are usually boiled in salted water for cooking. However, capellini requires close attention due to its quick cooking time.

21.Cling to Sauce

The thin strands of capellini can be coated easily by sauces. Spaghetti, being thicker, provides more surface area for sauces to cling to.

22. Use in Casseroles

Spaghetti is often used in casserole dishes due to its sturdy structure. Capellini is less commonly used in such dishes due to its delicate texture.

23. Cost and Availability

Both capellini and spaghetti are cost-effective and widely available in supermarkets worldwide.

24. Variations

There are several variations of spaghetti, such as whole wheat or spinach spaghetti, available in the market. Capellini also comes in variations like whole wheat.

25. Dietary Accommodation

Both capellini and spaghetti have versions made from alternative grains to accommodate specific dietary requirements, such as gluten-free or high-protein diets.

By understanding these differences and similarities between capellini and spaghetti, you can choose the right type of pasta for your dish, adding an authentic touch to your culinary creations. Enjoy experimenting with these two delightful forms of pasta and discover a world of delicious possibilities.

🙋‍♂️ FAQ

What is capellini pasta used for?

Capellini pasta is commonly used for light and delicate dishes. Its thin and delicate strands make it well-suited for pairing with lighter sauces, such as simple garlic and oil, light cream-based sauces, or fresh herb-infused sauces. Capellini is often used in recipes that call for a quick cooking time and where a delicate pasta texture is desired. Its delicate nature allows it to absorb flavors easily, making it a versatile choice for various pasta dishes.

What is the thinnest pasta?

The thinnest pasta variety available is Capellini, also known as “angel hair” pasta.

Capellini is extremely thin and delicate, with a diameter ranging between 0.85 and 0.92 millimeters.

Why is it called angel hair pasta?

Capellini pasta is commonly referred to as “angel hair” pasta due to its delicate and fine texture. The thin strands of Capellini resemble fine threads or “hair,” and the name “angel hair” reflects the delicate and ethereal quality of this pasta. The name “angel hair” evokes a sense of lightness and delicacy, which is characteristic of this thin pasta variety.

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About me:

Hi, I'm Alex. I love to cook and bake, and I'm always looking for new recipes to try. I started this blog — to collect and share most delicious and easy recipes in one place. I remember, how many questions recipes raised to me, when I started cooking. To make sure that doesn't happen to you, I take step-by-step photos of the cooking process for every recipe so you can see how all the steps are supposed to go together, even if you're not following my recipes exactly.

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