Fettuccine vs. Linguine: Unraveling the Pasta Puzzle

When it comes to pasta, there are a plethora of options available to choose from. Different shapes and sizes offer different textures and mouthfeel, which can dramatically impact the dishes prepared from them. Two popular pasta shapes are fettuccine and linguine. These two pastas may appear similar at first glance, but they offer different culinary experiences. In this article, we will be discussing the differences between fettuccine and linguine, helping you understand what sets them apart.

The Origins of Fettuccine and Linguine

Both fettuccine and linguine are part of the long, flat pasta family, but they come from different regions of Italy. Fettuccine originated in the central region of Italy, particularly in the areas of Lazio and Tuscany. On the other hand, linguine originated in Liguria, a coastal region in northern Italy.

The Shape of Fettuccine

Fettuccine is a long, flat, and thick pasta that resembles a ribbon. It is typically wider than most flat pasta and styled in a rectangular shape, with a thickness of 0.6-0.8 mm. The most traditional and popular way of serving fettuccine is with Alfredo sauce or other creamy sauces, such as carbonara or mushroom sauce.

The Shape of Linguine

Linguine, like fettuccine, is a long and flat pasta, but it is a bit more delicate and thinner than fettuccine. It is styled thin and narrow and has a thickness of around 0.8 mm. Its name “linguine” is derived from the Italian word for “little tongues,” which correctly describes its shape. It is best served with seafood, tomato-based sauces or with pesto.

Texture Comparison: Fettuccine Vs. Linguine

Fettuccine and linguine share a similar look, but their texture varies considerably. Texture is undeniably one of the essential factors to consider when selecting pasta for your dish. The texture of the pasta can impact how well the pasta holds sauces and complements other ingredients.

The Texture of Fettuccine

Fettuccine has a considerably denser texture and a more substantial bite. Its shape allows it to hold thick and hearty sauces, making it perfect for dishes like Alfredo, Carbonara, or Bolognese. If not cooked tenderly, fettuccine can become rubbery and unpleasantly chewy.

The Texture of Linguine

The consistency of linguine is much more delicate than fettuccine, with a firm yet tender bite. Its strength is in its ability to cling onto smooth and lighter sauces without becoming gummy. Its flat structure prevents it from trapping too much sauce, allowing it to showcase its flavour optimally.

Cooking Time Comparison: Fettuccine Vs. Linguine

The cooking time of pasta varies from one shape to another. As a rule of thumb, you should always follow the package instructions when cooking pasta.

Cooking Time of Fettuccine

On average, fettuccine takes around 12 minutes to cook. However, the thicker the pasta, the longer it takes to cook. Fettuccine can retain its texture well, even when slightly overcooked, which can not be said for other types of pasta such as spaghetti or linguine.

Cooking Time of Linguine

Linguine takes roughly 10-11 minutes to cook. However, if you cook it for too long, its thin structure can lead to overcooking, making it taste mushy and bland. The ideal cooking time for linguine is timed soft yet firm texture.

The Nutrition Profile of Fettuccine and Linguine

Pasta, in general, is a good source of carbohydrates and it provides energy to the body. However, the nutritional value and the number of calories in the pasta can vary depending on its ingredients and serving size.

Nutrition of Fettuccine

Calories 221
Protein 8 grams
Total fat 1.3 grams
Carbohydrates 42 grams

Nutrition of Linguine

Calories 198
Protein 7 grams
Total fat 1.1 grams
Carbohydrates 40 grams

Both fettuccine and linguine deliver roughly the same amount of calories, protein, and carbohydrates. However, linguine has fewer calories and carbohydrates, making it the healthier option of the two.

Which One to Select, Fettuccine or Linguine?

The decision for selecting the exact pasta shape for your recipe ultimately comes down to your preferences, texture, and how you intend to use the pasta.

If you plan to indulge in a plate of hearty pasta smothered in a thick sauce or topped with meat, fettuccine is your best bet. It can hold onto thick and hearty sauces well, giving balanced flavours to every bite.

If you want to pair your pasta with lighter, more delicate sauces, linguine is the more appropriate option since it can coat the pasta thinly, allowing the sauce to shine without overwhelming the dish. Besides, it’s the better choice for those who want to enjoy a healthier option, with fewer calories and carbs.

Unraveling the Pasta Puzzle: Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a few of the most commonly asked questions about fettuccine and linguine.

  • What’s the main difference between fettuccine and linguine?
    Fettuccine is wider and thicker, while linguine is thinner and narrower.
  • Which is healthier, fettuccine or linguine?
    Linguine has fewer calories and carbohydrates, making it the healthier option.
  • Which is the best sauce pairing for fettuccine?
    Fettuccine’s wider and thicker width makes it a perfect match to pair with heavier sauces like Alfredo or mushroom sauce.
  • What are the best dishes to make with linguine?
    Linguine can handle tomato-based sauce well and It’s best paired with seafood or pesto sauce.


In conclusion, fettuccine and linguine are two great pasta shapes that have their individuality that shines through in a variety of dishes. They share similarities as being long, flat pasta with distinct characteristics that make them both unique. Still, knowing their individuality and how they perform as an ingredient in a dish is vital to the outcome of any pasta recipe.


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