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Ditali Pasta: Everything About the Shape

From soups to pasta salads and even mac and cheese dishes, tube-shaped pasta has carved out its own little niche in the culinary world. Despite being short and small, these tiny tubes prove to be the perfect accompaniment to certain dishes that need an extra bite. A great example of this is ditali. 

Originating in Campania, Italy, ditali, which means “small thimbles” in Italian, is a short, tube-shaped pasta that looks similar to tubetti. Interestingly enough, tubetti also originated from Campania.  Ditali comes in small, bite-sized pieces, around 0.4 in (1 cm) wide and 0.5 in (1.3 cm) long.

Today, we’ll not only talk about ditali pasta but also share some delicious recipes you can try. Let’s go!

Ditali: Origin and Meaning

Here’s a table with essential facts about Ditali: 

Pasta Shape:Ditali
Pasta Type:Tube-shaped Pasta
Length:Around 1.3 cm (0.5 in)
Width:Around 1 cm (0.4 in)
Origin:Campania, Italy
Meaning:Italian term for “Small Thimbles”
Synonyms:Ditaloni, Ditalini
Similar Shapes:Tubetti, Rigatoni, Pacchieri

Where Did Ditali Originate?

Campania, a coastal region in Italy, is responsible for inventing ditali pasta. Thanks to its versatility and range, this short tube-shaped pasta can be seen accompanying a wide array of dishes, from pasta salads, pesto sauces, and even just plain broth. 

In modern times, ditali can be seen throughout Italy, from Genoa to Sicily. It is also observed in multiple dishes over the globe, from macaroni salads to noodle soups. 

What Does Ditali Mean?

The name ditali means “small thimbles.” Other namesakes such as ditalini and ditaloni have similar translations: ditalini means “very little thimbles” and ditaloni means “big thimbles.” 

Despite being small caps that are closed on one side, ditali maintains its name because they are sized similarly. 

What Is the Difference Between Ditali and Tubetti?

Ditali and tubetti are both short tube-shaped pasta. Because of their nearly identical size and shape, differentiating the two can prove to be challenging to the untrained eye. But the difference is quite simple: ditali is shorter and smaller than tubetti. 

Since both tubetti and ditali share the same characteristics, they can be considered interchangeable. Deciding between the two all boils down to personal preference. 

Traditional Dishes Suitable for Ditali Pasta

Here are some traditional dishes you can make with tubetti pasta:

Broccoli Viola

A simple yet tasty pasta salad, Broccoli Viola features freshly steamed or boiled broccoli florets, salty and tangy cheeses, and a light olive oil dressing. All of these get mixed with perfectly al dente ditali, making it a flavor and texture bomb. 

Minestrone Soup

Putting ditali in a simple brothy soup is a sure way to let the pasta shine. Minestrone is a great example of this. A nice, warm vegetable broth with ditali may not sound like much, but it checks all the nostalgia boxes.

These simple but delicious dishes are just a few ways to enjoy ditali pasta.  

Final Thoughts 

Whether you’re just starting to explore Italian cuisine, or you want to try a pasta shape you’ve never tried before, ditali pasta is worth a try.

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