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Occhi di Lupo: Everything About the Pasta Shape

From farfalle to conchiglie, there is a wide variety of pasta shapes inspired by animals and the natural world. Today, we’ll introduce you to occhi di lupo. Have you heard of it? 

When translated to English, occhi di lupo literally means “wolf’s eyes.” This is because when you look at the pasta from the hollow ends, it sort of resembles a wolf’s pupils. It is a medium to large-sized tube-shaped pasta that pairs well with most sauces. 

In this article, we’ll cover everything there is to know about occhi di lupo pasta and provide delicious recipes you can try yourself. Let’s dive in!

Occhi di Lupo: Origin and Meaning

Here’s a table with essential facts about occhi di lupo: 

Pasta Shape:Occhi di Lupo 
Pasta Type:Tube-shaped Pasta
Meaning:Italian term for “Wolf’s eyes”
Similar Shapes:Maniche, Pacchieri, Ditaloni

Where Did Occhi di Lupo Originate?

Although the exact origins of occhi di lupo are untraceable, it is generally considered to be a Southern Italian pasta, specifically from Campania. It is often made with a smooth surface, but some ridged versions of this pasta also exist. 

Occhi di lupo is formed by extruding the pasta dough through a tube-shaped mold. It is then cut into tubes of varying lengths. Occhi di lupo is usually around 1-1.5 in. (2.54-3.81 cm) while the shorter mezzi occhi di lupo is around half that size. 

What Does Occhi di Lupo Mean?

The name “occhi di lupo” directly translates to “eyes of the wolf” or “wolf’s eyes.” This is because the hollow ends of the pasta resemble a wolf’s pupils. This pasta is formed by extruding the dough into long tubes and cutting it into tiny bits. 

Italians typically use occhi di lupo in most pasta dishes. It pairs well with creamy sauces, meat sauces, and even simple vegetables. It can even be filled and baked. Occhi di lupo truly is one of the most versatile pasta varieties out there!

What Is the Difference Between Occhi di Lupo and Rigatoni?

Although both occhi di lupo and rigatoni are both tube-shaped pastas, they differ in textures. Occhi di lupo is usually made with a smooth surface like ditaloni, while rigatoni has ridges around the outside to help sauces adhere better. 

Both occhi di lupo and rigatoni can be enjoyed and prepared in similar ways, and in some cases, they can even be considered interchangeable. If you’re looking for occhi di lupo but you’re having trouble finding it at your local pasta shop, rigatoni works well in a pinch. 

Traditional Dishes Suitable for Occhi di Lupo Pasta

Here are some traditional dishes you can make with occhi di lupo  pasta:

Sicilian Ricotta and Pistachio Pasta

This recipe combines two Sicilian favorites: ricotta and pistachios. This dynamic duo creates perfect harmony when paired with pasta, creating a silky, creamy, and savory dish that tastes absolutely divine. 

Occhi di Lupo Pasta al Forno 

Tube-shaped pasta varieties are famous for holding their shape when put inside an oven. Mixing in a chunky bolognese sauce with occhi di lupo and topping it with cheese is a hearty Italian classic. 

These simple but delicious dishes are just a few ways you can enjoy occhi di lupo pasta.  

Final Thoughts 

Occhi di lupo pasta is one of the most versatile pasta varieties out there. Their simple yet sturdy structure allows them to maintain their shape when mixed with any type of pasta sauce. 

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