Not All Pastas Are Created Equal
Fettuccine and Linguine may seem similar in shape and appearance, but the truth is that they couldn't be more different. Below, we're breaking down what sets them apart, their origins, how they're traditionally made and the sauces they work best with!
What’s the big difference between Fettuccine and Linguine?
While both fettuccine and linguine are long, flat noodles, fettuccine is heavier and wider and contains egg. On the other hand, linguine is thin, fragile and made only using flour and water.
What Is Fettuccine?
Fettuccine was created much early than linguine, with origins in Tuscan and Roman cuisine. According to the Encyclopedia of Pasta, the term, "Fettuccia" was already well established in the early 17th century as a synonym for other flat pastas.
Traditionally made fresh, fettuccine translates to “small ribbons” in Italian. Considered one of the earliest forms of pasta ever made, fettuccine consists of flour, water, and egg rolled together, flattened out, and then cut into large strips or ribbons.
According to the Foods Guy, Fettuccine is designed to be used with heavier sauces, using its width and flatness to cause the sauce to stick. Most heavier sauces are thickened by butter, cream, melted cheese, or a roux, and the fat in these ingredients is attracted to the wide surfaces of fettuccine noodles and sticking to them much better than an oil-based sauce would.
Fettuccine is traditionally served with a meat Ragu or a cheesy, buttery Alfredo sauce.
What Is Linguine?
Linguine's origins are a little harder to pin down. Some claim that Linguine was invented in the Campania region of Italy, while others claim it got its start in the city of Genoa, located in the region of Liguria.
Linguine means “little tongues” in Italian and, like fettuccine, this name accurately describes its appearance. Linguine is smaller, thinner, and not as flat as fettuccine. Linguine is also much more fragile than fettuccine due to its thinness and limited ingredients. Unlike fettuccine, which has egg in it (to add flavor and texture, and help bind the pasta), linguine is just water and flour.
Because linguine is smaller and thinner, it is is better suited for thinner, lighter sauces like pesto, some tomato-based sauces, and many olive oil-based sauces. Traditionally, linguine was invented to serve many of the same purposes as spaghetti, the only marked difference being that spaghetti is round while linguine is elliptical. Since linguine’s shape makes it wider, it can handle some sauces that would be too heavy for spaghetti.
Linguine is also usually paired with seafood, like shrimp, clams, or mussels, but can work well with chicken and fish. It is very popular to pair linguine with buttery sauces accented by lemon and herbs, or even sun-dried tomatoes.
Try our favorite Sun-dried Tomato Linguine Recipe!