National Linguine Day, observed annually on September 15, is one of those quirky “holidays” where nobody really knows how or why it got started. And perhaps the same could be said for linguine itself!
Linguine is the word for the long, flat, narrow and thin pasta, and it means “little tongues” in Italian. It originated in Genoa and the Liguria region of Italy, and it’s made from durum semolina flour, in both white flour and whole-wheat versions. It is often misspelled as “linguini.”
What to Pair with Linguine
It’s possibly one of the world’s oldest kinds of pasta. Fettuccine and linguine were both developed around 400 years ago, but where fettuccine is flat, linguine is more narrow and elliptical in shape. This makes it a more delicate pasta, which is part of the reason it is paired with thinner, lighter sauces. The pasta is typically about 4 millimeters wide, which is wider than spaghetti but not as wide as fettuccine. A thinner version is called linguettine.
While spaghetti is traditionally accompanied with meat or heavy tomato sauces, linguine is often served with seafood or pesto. However, since the pasta originated on the coast of Italy, linguine and seafood make an especially great pairing. Linguine alle vongole (“linguine with clams”).
In Liguria, pesto is the most typical condiment. Linguine with mint pesto and ricotta cream is a contemporary recipe developed out of the modern trend for different types of pesto. And throughout Italy, there are many regional seafood pasta recipes that include linguine particularly in coastal areas. These include linguine “al batti batti” (with sea cicadas), a delicacy that includes anchovies and pine nuts, and a dish called “alla Ligure” (with anchovies and basil). There’s also “allo scoglio” with mussels, clams, calamari and prawns.
In Tuscany, linguine “alla Livornese” is made with totani (a type of squid) shrimps and tomatoes. In Lazio, linguine is paired with mussels, pumpkin and creamed salmon. And in Sardinia, linguine is often served with lobster or crayfish.
Explore Different Types of Pasta
Did you know cooks use different shapes and sizes of pasta for different purposes? Italy is the leading consumer of pasta, with nearly 60 pounds of pasta eaten per capita per year, while Americans eat an average of 19 pounds of pasta each year. There are approximately 350 different types of pasta that exist around the world — and nearly four times that many names for them!
For example, linguine is also called trenette or bavette. Many think of linguine, trenette and bavette as being the same thing, but there are slight differences in how the pasta is cut or sectioned. Trenette is slightly thicker, while bavette is rectangular and slightly convex. In general, linguine, trenette and bavetta are mostly served with vegetable or seafood sauces, and trenette is often seasoned with pesto, green beans and potatoes.
We don’t currently have any linguine dishes served at Sipipa, but we encourage you to try creating your own dishes at home!