Linguine vs Fettuccine

Linguine vs Fettuccine – Which One Is Best for Your Dish?

Ever found yourself in the pasta aisle, pondering the difference between linguine and fettuccine? You’re not alone!

These two pastas may seem similar, but their unique characteristics set them apart. 

In this blog post, I will:

Let’s get started!

Key Takeaways

  • Linguine and fettuccine kinds of pasta differ in shape, ingredients, and sauce pairings.
  • Linguine, meaning “little tongues” in Italian, has an elliptical shape and is eggless, while fettuccine, meaning “little ribbons,” is flat and made with eggs.
  • Consider the dish you’re making to decide which pasta works best with it: linguine is excellent for seafood or pesto dishes, while fettuccine pairs well with creamier sauces.

The Differences Between Linguine and Fettuccine

Fettuccine pasta

Linguine and fettuccine are both long pastas that have their unique features. Although their shapes might look similar at first glance, they have distinct differences that can influence how they’re used in recipes.

Linguine, which literally means “little tongues” in Italian, has an elliptical shape and is eggless. On the other hand, Fettuccine means “little ribbons” and is flat, made with eggs.

The shape and ingredients of these two noodles play a significant role in the types of sauces they pair well with.

The Shape Factor: Flat vs. Elliptical Noodles

The shape of linguine and fettuccine sets them apart visually and impacts their texture and mouthfeel.

Linguine’s elliptical shape offers a slightly different eating experience than the flat and wider fettuccine. These shapes were designed to hold and bring out the flavors of specific sauces, making each pasta better suited for different sauce pairings.

The elliptical shape of linguine doesn’t significantly impact its texture and mouthfeel compared to other pasta shapes, like fettuccine. It’s the cooking time and ingredients that have the most influence on the taste and texture.

I’ll now analyze the ingredients used in the preparation of these two types of pasta.

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Ingredients: Egg or No Egg?

The ingredients used in linguine and fettuccine also play a role in their flavors and textures.

Linguine is made with flour and water, while fettuccine requires a mixture of flour and eggs. This ingredient difference gives each pasta its unique characteristics and determines the types of sauces they pair well with.

Adding eggs to fettuccine changes the flavor and texture of this pasta. Here’s how:

  • The egg yolks add richness and creaminess to the pasta.
  • The egg whites give fettuccine a bouncier and coarser texture.
  • Fettuccine’s ability to hold heavier sauces, such as meat sauce, is due to its egg-based composition.

Sauce Pairing Principles

Linguine with creamy sauce

Regarding sauce pairings, linguine and fettuccine have distinct advantages.

Linguine is ideal for light, seafood-based sauces like pesto, clam, and fish, while fettuccine is perfect for thick, creamy sauces such as alfredo or carbonara.

Classic Italian sauces for linguine include tomato sauce, white clam sauce, and creamy lemon sauce, showcasing its versatility with light and refreshing ingredients.

On the other hand, fettuccine is often served with heavier, heartier toppings, such as meat sauces, making it a popular choice for those who enjoy rich, indulgent dishes.

When To Choose Linguine or Fettuccine

Differences Between Linguine and Fettuccine

Your chosen dish will ultimately determine whether you use linguine or fettuccine. Linguine shines in seafood dishes that are on the lighter side, while fettuccine is perfect for creamier, heavier dishes.

By considering the ingredients and sauces in your recipe, you can confidently choose the best pasta that will complement your dish.

Let’s talk about specific examples of where one might choose one pasta instead of the other.

Opting for Linguine

As I mentioned, Linguine noodles are an excellent choice for dishes featuring light sauces, seafood, and pesto sauce, making them popular in warm-weather areas.

Their elliptical shape allows them to hold onto lighter sauces like pesto, clam, and fish sauces better, ensuring each bite is full of flavor.

Classic Italian linguine dishes include pasta al pesto, linguine with clams, and shrimp scampi, all of which highlight the pasta’s ability to complement light and refreshing ingredients.

Choosing linguine for these dishes allows you to enjoy this pasta’s authentic taste and mouthfeel.

Portion of creamy mushroom linguine
A portion of creamy mushroom linguine.

Opting for Fettuccine

Fettuccine pasta, specifically fettuccine noodles, is perfect for thicker sauces like carbonara and ragu, making it a popular choice in colder climates.

Its flat and wide shape allows it to hold onto heavier sauces, ensuring each bite is packed with flavor and richness.

For an even more delightful experience, consider using fresh pasta.

Expert Advice: Cooking Times and Techniques

Cooking times and techniques for linguine and fettuccine differ due to their unique shapes and ingredients.

Linguine typically requires a slightly longer cooking time, while fettuccine needs careful attention to achieve the perfect al dente texture. By understanding these differences, you can ensure your pasta dish turns out just right.

Whether you are an experienced home cook or a beginner in pasta-making, perfecting the art of cooking linguine and fettuccine can be gratifying.

I will now share some expert advice on perfecting these two types of pasta.

Linguine Cooking Guide

Cooking linguine to perfection starts with understanding its unique elliptical shape. This shape means it may take slightly longer to cook than fettuccine, though the difference is usually minimal.

To ensure your linguine is cooked to the ideal al dente texture, monitoring its cooking time and testing for doneness closely is essential.

A general guideline for cooking linguine is:

  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Add the pasta and cook for ~10 minutes, depending on its thickness.
  3. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
  4. Taste the linguine as it nears the end of its cooking time to ensure it reaches that perfect al dente texture.

Fettuccine Preparation Perfection

Achieving the perfect al dente texture for fettuccine requires careful attention during cooking. Freshly made fettuccine only takes 2-3 minutes to reach al dente, so it’s crucial to keep an eye on it to avoid overcooking.

To cook fettuccine, follow these steps:

  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Add the pasta and cook until al dente.
  3. Stir occasionally to prevent the noodles from sticking together.
  4. Once the fettuccine is cooked to your desired texture, drain the noodles.
  5. Toss with your favorite sauce or toppings.

And with that, you’ll have a delicious fettuccine dish ready to enjoy!

Fettuccine pasta freshly cooked

Tips For Making Your Own

Creating your own linguine and fettuccine can be an enjoyable and satisfying experience, enabling you to savor these pastas’ genuine flavor and texture in your kitchen.

With some practice, you can master the art of crafting homemade pasta, impressing your friends and family with your culinary skills.

Whether you favor using a pasta maker or hand-making your pasta, various tips and tricks exist to assist you in achieving flawless outcomes. We will now share some advice for crafting your linguine and fettuccine.

Crafting Linguine with a Pasta Maker

Using a pasta maker can be a game-changer when crafting homemade linguine. This handy tool helps you achieve the perfect elliptical shape for your linguine, ensuring an authentic texture and mouthfeel.

Pasta makers like the Marcato Atlas 150 and the KitchenAid Pasta Roller are highly recommended for making linguine at home.

To make linguine with a pasta maker, follow these steps:

  1. Prepare your pasta dough according to your recipe.
  2. Shape the dough into an oval-shaped flat disc.
  3. Feed the dough through the pasta maker on the widest setting.
  4. Gradually decrease the thickness until you achieve your linguine’s desired thickness.
  5. Attach the linguine cutter attachment to the pasta maker.
  6. Feed the rolled dough through the cutter to create your elliptical-shaped noodles.

Finally, dust the noodles with flour to prevent sticking, and you’re ready to cook your homemade linguine!

Chef cooking fettuccine in pasta machine

Making Thick Fettuccine Noodles by Hand

For those who prefer a more hands-on approach, making fettuccine by hand is a great option. Although it may take more time and effort, it is a genuinely authentic pasta experience. To make thick fettuccine noodles by hand, roll out your pasta dough to a thickness of about 1 millimeter or 1/16 inch.

Once you’ve rolled out your dough, use a sharp knife or a pizza cutter to slice it into about ¼ inch (6.5 millimeters) wide noodles.

You can use a ruler to ensure precise measurements if you’d like. After cutting your noodles, boil them and sauce them according to your recipe, and enjoy your handmade fettuccine!

Italian Cuisine and Regional Preferences

The rich regional diversity of Italian cuisine is evident in the popularity of linguine and fettuccine in different regions of the country.

Comprehending the regional preferences for these two types of pasta can enhance your appreciation for the distinctive culinary traditions that have influenced Italian cuisine.

Linguine’s Ligurian Legacy

Linguine’s origins can be traced back to Liguria, a coastal region in Italy known for its seafood dishes and light, flavorful sauces.

Ligurian cuisine showcases linguine in various dishes, from pasta al pesto to linguine with clams. By exploring the culinary traditions of Liguria, you can appreciate the versatility of linguine and its unique role in Italian cuisine.

Fettuccine’s Roman Roots

Fettuccine has its roots in Rome, where it was first created by a chef named Alfredo di Lelio in 1914. The pasta’s flat and wide shape makes it the perfect canvas for rich, creamy sauces and hearty toppings, reflecting the indulgent nature of Roman cuisine.

Traditional Roman fettuccine dishes, such as fettuccine alfredo and fettuccine alla bolognese, highlight the pasta’s ability to complement rich, decadent sauces.

By understanding the origins of fettuccine in Rome, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation for the unique culinary traditions that have shaped Italian cuisine.


In conclusion, linguine and fettuccine offer unique characteristics that make them well-suited for different dishes.

Whether you’re a seasoned home cook or a pasta-making novice, exploring the world of linguine and fettuccine can be a fun and rewarding experience. Now, go and cook something delicious using one of these pasta types (or both!).

Linguine vs Fettuccine Q&A

Which is better, linguine or fettuccine?

Linguine is a more delicate noodle with a narrower, slightly oval shape than the wider, flatter fettuccine. Linguine is typically served with lighter sauces and is more popular during warm-weather months. In contrast, fettuccine can better handle thicker sauces and is often served during the colder winter months.

Can I substitute linguine for fettuccine?

Yes, you can substitute linguine for fettuccine! It won’t make much difference in most dishes unless you’re a stickler for pasta.

Why use linguine instead of spaghetti?

To make a more robust dish, linguine is the better choice due to its larger noodle size. For lighter dishes like aglio e olio, spaghetti is ideal as its thin strands bring out the flavor profile.

Is linguine pasta thick?

Linguine is a thin pasta, like spaghetti, and cannot be made at home without a pasta maker. It works well with light sauces and is great for twirling and slurping.

What is the main difference between linguine and fettuccine?

Linguine has an elliptical shape and is eggless, while fettuccine is flat and made with eggs, so their shapes and ingredients are quite different. This affects which sauces go best with them.


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