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Tortiglioni Pasta: Everything About the Shape

Ah, the world of pasta; a world brimming with diverse shapes, sizes, and flavors that make you want to board the next flight to Italy. You’ve got your classic spaghetti, your orecchiette, your farfalle, and many more. But have you ever heard of Tortiglioni pasta?

Tortiglioni is a type of pasta originating from the Italian town of Campania. The name tortiglioni comes from the Vulgar Latin “tortillare”, which means “to twist”. The name also refers to the way these tubular noodles are shaped before cooking. 

So sit back, grab yourself a snack, and read on to learn more about tortiglioni pasta!

Tortiglioni Pasta Origin and Meaning 

Pasta Shape:Tortiglioni 
Pasta Type:Tube Pasta
Width:1.5- 2.3 inches (40-60 mm) 
Origin: Campania, Italy
Meaning: Derived from the Latin word “tortillare”, which means “to twist”
Similar Shapes:Rigatoni, Maccheroni, Penne

Where Did Tortiglioni Pasta Originate?

Most people link this type of pasta with Campania, which is in the southernmost region of Italy. You can also find many sources claiming it was invented in Naples or Sardinia. 

While it’s hard to tell with a timeless pasta such as Tortiglioni, I’d say Campania is a pretty safe bet. One thing is for sure: Tortiglioni is a member of the maccheroni family of pasta, one of the first pasta shape varieties in Italy. 

Again, the history of maccheroni is quite vague. According to some, Marco Polo brought the noodles back to Italy from China around 1274. 

Some, however, assert that the pasta’s invention may be traced to the Etruscans, a pre-Roman culture that inhabited the Italian peninsula.

What Does Tortiglioni Mean? 

If you take a look at Tortiglioni pasta, you’ll see that it’s shaped like a hollow, large tube with deeper grooves which spiral around it. The tube shape makes it easy to see why it got its name, but what about the name itself? 

Well, many reputable sources claim the name tortiglioni comes from the Vulgar Latin “tortillare”, which means “to twist”.

What Is the Difference Between Tortiglioni and Rigatoni Pasta?

When looking at these two semi-identical pasta types, it’s normal to wonder about the difference between them. Well, the primary distinction between rigatoni and tortiglioni lies in their shape and size. Tortiglioni is similar to rigatoni in size and shape, but it features deeper grooves around the noodle.

Traditional dishes that Use Tortiglioni Pasta 

In addition to being aesthetically pleasing, the shape of the Tortiglioni pasta is also useful in terms of functionality. 

You see, this pasta shape’s curved and hollow shape allows it to hold more sauce, making it perfect for creamy sauces like carbonara or bolognese.

That said, let’s check out some traditional dishes using Tortiglioni pasta!

  1. Tortiglioni with Tomato Sauce: A simple pasta recipe made up of tomato sauce. Prepare your sauce, drizzle it over your Tortiglioni, and voila! It’s ready to eat!
  2. Pasta in Vodka Sauce: This dish is also known as Pasta alla Vodka. It’s made up of only three ingredients: Tomato sauce, vodka, and cream.
  3. Tortiglioni Melanzana: In this recipe, Tortiglioni pasta is tossed in a simple tomato sauce along with Greek olives, sliced eggplant, and a small amount of savory Italian cheese.



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