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Spaghetti hung to dry
Place of origin Italy
Type Pasta
Main ingredient(s) Semolina or flour, water
Spaghetti (enriched, dry)
Nutritional value per 1/2 cup (70 grams)
Energy 460 kJ (110 kcal)
Sugars 0g
Dietary fiber 1g
Saturated 0g
Trans 0g
Vitamin A equiv.
0 μg
Vitamin C
0 mg
0 mg
4 mg
0 mg

Source: USDA [1]
Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.

Spaghetti (Italian pronunciation: [spaˈɡetti]) is a long, thin, cylindrical, solid pasta.[2] It is a staple food of traditional Italian cuisine. Like other pasta, spaghetti is made of milled wheat and water. Italian spaghetti is made from durum wheat semolina, but elsewhere it may be made with other kinds of flour.[3]

Originally spaghetti was notably long, but shorter lengths gained in popularity during the latter half of the 20th century and now spaghetti is most commonly available in 25–30 cm (10–12 in) lengths. A variety of pasta dishes are based on it.


Spaghetti is the plural form of the Italian word spaghetto, which is a diminutive of spago, meaning "thin string" or "twine".[2]


Pasta in the West may have first been worked into long, thin forms in Sicily around the 12th century, as the Tabula Rogeriana of Muhammad al-Idrisi attested, reporting some traditions about the Sicilian kingdom.[4] In the 5th century AD, it was known that pasta could be cooked through boiling.[5] The popularity of spaghetti spread throughout Italy after the establishment of spaghetti factories in the 19th century, enabling the mass production of spaghetti for the Italian market.[6]

In the United States around the end of the 19th century, spaghetti was offered in restaurants as Spaghetti Italienne (which likely consisted of noodles cooked past al dente, and a mild tomato sauce flavored with easily found spices and vegetables such as cloves, bay leaves, and garlic) and it was not until decades later that it came to be commonly prepared with oregano or basil.[7][8][9]


Spaghetti is made from ground grain (flour) and water.[10]

Whole-wheat and multigrain spaghetti are also available.[3]


Fresh spaghetti

Fresh spaghetti being prepared using a pasta machine

At its simplest, spaghetti can be formed using no more than a rolling pin and a knife. A home pasta machine simplifies the rolling, and makes the cutting more uniform. Fresh spaghetti would normally be cooked within hours of being formed. Commercial versions of 'fresh' spaghetti are manufactured.[11]

Dried spaghetti

The bulk of dried spaghetti is produced in factories using auger extruders. While essentially simple, the process requires attention to detail to ensure that the mixing and kneading of the ingredients produces a homogeneous mix, without air bubbles. The forming dies have to be water cooled to prevent spoiling of the pasta by overheating. Drying of the newly formed spaghetti has to be carefully controlled to prevent strands sticking together, and to leave it with sufficient moisture so that it is not too brittle. Packaging for protection and display has developed from paper wrapping to plastic bags and boxes.[12]


Fresh and dry spaghetti is cooked in a large pot of salted, boiling water and then drained in a colander (Italian: scolapasta).

In Italy, spaghetti is generally cooked al dente (Italian for to the tooth), fully cooked and still firm, it may also be cooked to a softer consistency.

Spaghettoni is a thicker spaghetti which takes more time to cook. Spaghettini is a very thin form of spaghetti (it may be called angel hair spaghetti in English) which takes less time to cook.

Utensils used in spaghetti preparation include the spaghetti scoop and spaghetti tongs.

Spaghetti can also be cooked successfully in a microwave oven.[13]


Italian cuisine

Classic Spaghetti alla carbonara

An emblem of Italian cuisine, spaghetti is frequently served with tomato sauce, which may contain various herbs, (especially oregano and basil), olive oil, meat, or vegetables. Other spaghetti preparations include amatriciana or carbonara. Grated hard cheeses, such as Pecorino Romano, Parmesan and Grana Padano, are often sprinkled on top.

International cuisine

In some countries, spaghetti is sold in cans/tins with sauce.

In the United States, it is sometimes served with chili con carne. Unlike in Italy, abroad spaghetti is often served with Bolognese sauce.

Sapaketti phat khi mao (Spaghetti fried drunken noodle style) is a popular dish in Thai cuisine.[14]

Spaghetti dishes

  • Spaghetti aglio e olio – ("spaghetti with garlic and oil" in Italian), a traditional Italian pasta dish, coming from Napoli. It is a variant of the original dish, Spaghetti alle vongole.
  • Spaghetti alla puttanesca – (literally "spaghetti whore-style" in Italian), a tangy, somewhat salty Italian pasta dish invented in the mid-20th century. The ingredients are typical of Southern Italian cuisine: tomatoes, olive oil, olives, capers and garlic.[15]
  • Spaghetti alle vongole – Italian for "spaghetti with clams", it is very popular throughout Italy, especially its central regions, including Rome and further south in Campania (where it is part of traditional Neapolitan cuisine).
  • Spaghetti with meatballs – an Italian-American dish that usually consists of spaghetti, tomato sauce and meatballs



By 1955, annual consumption of spaghetti in Italy doubled from 14 kilograms (30.9 lb) per person before World War II to 28 kilograms (61.7 lb).[16] By that year, Italy produced 1,432,990 tons of spaghetti, of which 74,000 were exported, and had a production capacity of 3 million tons.[16]


Pasta provides carbohydrate, along with some protein, iron, dietary fiber, potassium and B vitamins.[17] Pasta prepared with whole wheat grain provides more dietary fiber[17] than that prepared with degermed flour.


The world record for the largest bowl of spaghetti was set in March 2009 and reset in March 2010 when a Buca di Beppo restaurant in Garden Grove, California, filled a swimming pool with more than 13,780 pounds (6,251 kg) of pasta.[18]

In popular culture

Spaghetti Westerns have little to do with spaghetti other than using the name as a shorthand for Italian.

The BBC television program 'Panorama' featured a hoax program about the spaghetti harvest in Switzerland on April Fools' Day, 1957.[19]

See also


  1. "Spaghetti, Enriched, Dry" (PDF). United States Department of Agriculture. October 2012. Retrieved 16 December 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 spaghetti. Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. (accessed: June 03, 2008).
  3. 3.0 3.1 "How to Make Spaghetti". Better Homes and Gardens.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> Retrieved on 22nd December 2014.
  4. Kummer, Corby (1 July 1986). "Pasta". The Atlantic.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Pasta is Not Originally from Italy".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> Retrieved on 22nd December 2014.
  6. Whiteman, Kate; Boggiano, Angela; Wright, Jeni (2007). The Italian kitchen bible. Hermes House. pp. 12–13. ISBN 978-1-84038-875-6.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. The Settlement Cook Book: Tested Recipes from the Settlement Cooking Classes, the Milwaukee Public School Kitchens, The School of Trades for Girls, and Experienced Housewives. Settlement Cook Book Company. 1921.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Mazdaznan encyclopedia of dietetics and home cook book: cooked and uncooked foods, what to eat and how to eat it ... Mazdaznan associates of God. 1909.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Levenstein, Harvey (2002). Counihan, Carole M. (ed.). Food in the USA: A Reader. Routledge. pp. 77–89. ISBN 0-415-93232-7.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Gisslen, Wayne; Griffin, Mary Ellen; Le Cordon Bleu (2006). Professional Cooking for Canadian Chefs. John Wiley & Sons. p. 635. ISBN 0471663778.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. gregr (16 October 2008). "Homemade Spaghetti". Retrieved 19 December 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "Pasta Manufacturing" (PDF). August 1995. Retrieved 19 December 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Brenan, Philip. "How to cook spaghetti in a microwave oven". Reddit. Retrieved April 2015. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. Zanini De Vita & Fant 2013, p. 68.
  16. 16.0 16.1 Salerno, George (13 December 1956). "Spaghetti consumption up as national dish in Italy". Wilmington Morning Star. 90 (52). Wilmington, North Carolina. United Press.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. 17.0 17.1 Ridgwell, Jenny (1996). Examining Food and Nutrition. Heinemann. p. 94. ISBN 0435420585.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. KTLA News (March 12, 2010). "Restaurant Sets World Record with Pool of Spaghetti to be used as animal feed". KTLA.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. "1957: BBC fools the nation". BBC. Retrieved 19 December 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


Further reading

External links