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Garganelli Pasta: Everything About the Shape

There are many types of pasta, each with its own uses in specific dishes. Each shape has its history, and the different pasta shapes can be fun to learn about. So, what exactly is garganelli pasta?

Garganelli is a type of tube pasta originating from Northern Italy. They’re easy to identify since they have a unique grove pattern and pointed ends. Typically, the pieces are about 1.25 in long (31.75 mm), 0.4 in wide (10.16 mm), and 0.33 in (8.38 mm) in diameter. 

In this article, you’ll learn all about the origin and meaning of garganelli pasta. Plus, I covered what traditional dishes use this pasta shape. Let’s begin!

Garganelli: Origin and Meaning

Let’s start with a fact chart about garganelli:

Pasta Shape:Garganelli
Pasta Type:Tube Pasta
Length:1.25 in (31.75 mm)
Width:0.4 in (10.16 mm)
Diameter: 0.33 in (8.38 mm)
Origin: Emilia-Romagna
Meaning: “Chicken gullet” or “trachea”
Synonyms: Maccheroni al pettine (Le Marche)
Similar Shapes:Penne, Rigatoni

Where Did Garganelli Originate?

Garganelli likely originated from Romagna, part of the Emilia-Romagna region in Northern Italy. Today, it’s more widespread, and you can find this pasta shape just about anywhere.

There’s more than one story detailing the invention of this pasta shape. Some historians credit a chef who was preparing a meal at the home of Cardinal Bentivoglio D’Aragona during a New Year’s eve event in 1725. The chef didn’t have enough filling for the pasta he wanted, so he created the new garganelli shape by rolling pasta squares on a stick.

Another story credits Cater Sforza, a countess in Forli, who made the shape when she ran out of pasta filling after her cat ate it.

What Does Garganelli Mean?

Garganelli means “small esophagus.” It comes from the Italian word garganel, which means “chicken gullet.” Other translations can mean “trachea,” and it gets the name from the ridges pressed into it.

This name likely comes from the unique shape of the pasta, which can resemble something like a throat.

What Is the Difference Between Garganelli and Penne?

Garganelli differs from penne since it’s a hand-rolled tube with a noticeable seam. Penne is also a tube, but it lacks a seam. Garganelli also has ridges that travel across the pasta, while penne has ridges that go lengthwise along the pasta.

These two pasta shapes are different because of how they’re made. Garganelli is hand-rolled, but penne is extruded. However, they’re usually similar enough to substitute in the same recipes. 

Some garganelli pieces may also be green because they contain mixed-in, cooked spinach.

Traditional Dishes That Use Garganelli

Garganelli is made from egg dough squares that you roll into a tube on a particular board, and you can find it in several traditional dishes. Traditionally, you’d serve this pasta with ragu sauce and meat.

Here are a few recipes for you to try out:

You can also make fresh hand-rolled garganelli pasta to use in these dishes at home. 


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