What is Bucatini Pasta and How Is It Different from Spaghetti?

The pasta aisle can be a tidal wave of choices. Is it a shells night? Radiatore? Do you scrap the whole “Italian” thing and go for an egg noodle instead?? Well, once you get yourself out of the fetal position on the grocery store floor and finally start taking suggestions, allow me to turn your attention to a box of bucatini. 

What is bucatini pasta?

Bucatini is a thick, spaghetti-like pasta traditionally made with durum wheat flour. It’s different from straight up spaghetti because it has a hole running through the center. If you spoke Italian, you’d say, oh, that makes sense, because “buco” means “hole” in Italian. 

What is bucatini pasta used for? 

Bucatini is, sadly, not shaped like all your favorite SpongeBob characters. Only the Kraft macaroni company has that particular secret. Gotta go for the blue box for shapes like that. Now, on to what bucatini IS. It’s shaped very similarly to spaghetti but is slightly thicker thanks to its signature hole (or “buco,” as we learned in the section above). The pasta’s thinness and length sets it apart from other hollow pasta shapes like penne, and its hollow center is better at capturing sauce than spaghetti noodles. 

What is bucatini pasta used for? 

First off, bucatini would be great to use for those haunted houses that make you reach into a bowl of “brains” or “guts.” In that case, though, I would refer to it as boo-catini. But, I’m assuming you came to this food website to hear about how bucatini actually functions as something you eat, so we’ll move on. 

At its barest essence, bucatini is like spaghetti, but with a hole down its center. So, this makes it a great option for oil-based sauces like traditional carbonara, which features a slick sauce of egg, cheese, and bits of guanciale. A little like getting your extra cheese fix in stuffed crust pizza, the bucatini noodle’s hollowed innards allow more sauce per bite. One of the most common sauces to serve with bucatini is the Amatriciana sauce. It is traditionally made with guanciale, a type of cured meat taken from the pork jowl. 

Also, I wish I had known about bucatini in my junior year high school physics class, when we had a “strongest pasta bridge” competition assignment. Seems like it’s pretty sturdy and pragmatic for a pasta structure, and would have given me a leg up over my peers. Sometimes I cringe myself to sleep thinking about how I thought a bunch of lasagna noodles would hold…

In the ocean of options one has when selecting a pasta, bucatini is underrated. The next time you’re tasked with making the entree on Italian night, give it a try. You and your guests won’t be disappointed. And this is coming from a dyed in the wool farfalle man!

About the Author

Joe Rumrill

Joe Rumrill is a fictional one-eyed spinach-loving sailor created in 1929 by E.C Se- Wait, no, that's not right... Joe Rumrill is a stand up comedian and writer currently based in Los Angeles. His favorite thing about food is a close tie between the taste and the nutrients one gets from it. His least favorite thing about it is the "gritty, dirt-like quality some food has", but he's most likely referring to the time in third grade he was dared to eat playground sand.

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