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Pasta is one of the best food items in existence. It can be used in so many different ways, especially because it can come in a lot of different shapes and sizes for use depending on what you plan to do with it. If you have been shopping for pasta, you might have noticed a company called Barilla that has numbers on its pasta boxes. If this is confusing and you want to learn how to understand them, read on!
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What Is Barilla Pasta?
If you make pasta dishes on a semi-regular basis then the chances are that you have heard of Barilla. This is a company known for selling pasta in cardboard containers. The pasta is delicious and ready to cook, with no extra hassle needed. The bright blue boxes are found across the globe in both America and Europe.
In Barilla’s European packaging, you can see a number on the front of the box. This is also found on the American packaging but is subtly located on the side in a less prevalent spot. These numbers are in relation to either the shape/type of pasta that is found in the packaging, or they relate to the thickness of the pasta if it is not a shaped pasta. Each company has a different numbering system if they have one at all, so it can be very overwhelming for someone who does not understand it.
What Do The Numbers Mean?
Barilla first rose to popularity after the company started in 1877, the first numbers are the more traditional shapes that everyone knows. As the company is still making new shapes, the numbers have risen to over 300, meaning that the higher numbers now are more specialized and less well-known shapes. The most common pasta types you will find in the classic blue box packaging are;
- Capellini no. 1
- Spaghettini no. 3
- Spaghetti no. 5
- Spaghettoni no.7
- Vermicelli no. 8
- Bucatini no. 9
- Linguine no. 13
These are all elongated types of pasta that can be used very easily. While they will not be mentioned in further detail, Barilla also has very famous pasta shapes that are;
- Penne rigate no. 73
- Tortiglioni no. 83
- Fusilli no. 96
Capellini no. 1
This pasta also referred to as angel hair pasta, is the thinnest and finest type of pasta from the classic blue box range from Barilla. This Barilla pasta is sold in 16oz and 32oz packs which serve 8 people per 16oz. The pasta cooks to al dente perfection in an impressive 3-4 minutes because of how fine it is.
The best pasta dishes to use capellini noodles in are dishes with light tomato sauces made from fresh or canned tomatoes. Other than this, light dairy sauces with a herby touch such as parsley can also greatly pair with these thin noodles. Angel hair pasta can also be used in an Italian soup known as Zuppa. This works well with beef broth and spring vegetable soups.
Spaghettini no. 3
The best way to describe this is that it is basically thin spaghetti pasta. It is a perfect midpoint between angel hair and normal spaghetti no. 5. This can be cooked in 6-7 minutes or in 5-6 minutes al dente depending on how you want to cook it. Similar to angel hair, this pasta comes in packs of 16oz from the Barilla classic blue box range.
The best use for spaghettini is a pasta dish with a very simple oil-based sauce. This can include pasta dishes with olive oil and garlic, with the choice to add chili flakes to add some spice. Seafood pasta is really nice when spaghettini is used and it pairs very well with canned tuna or clams.
Spaghetti no. 5
Spaghetti is the most iconic type of Barilla pasta as everyone knows what it is. It cooks in 9-10 minutes normally or in 8-9 minutes al dente. This spaghetti comes in either a 16oz pack or a 32oz pack which serves 8 people per 16oz. The 32oz pack is amazing for a large meal for a family get-together.
The true versatility of pasta is demonstrated brilliantly by spaghetti as it can be paired with any sauce or ingredients that you can fathom. The best choices to pair with it are carbonara, marinara, or a herby pesto sauce. A garlic butter sauce also works really well with spaghetti. The name of this Barilla pasta comes from the Italian word for lengths of cord, which is spaghi.
Spaghettoni no. 7
The simplest translation for spaghettoni is that it is thick spaghetti pasta. You have probably noticed the pattern of spaghettini, spaghetti, and spaghettoni all being close in name and of varying thickness. The spaghettoni is still very similar in shape to spaghetti but it is a lot thicker than it traditionally should be. This cooks in 11-12 minutes or in 10-11 minutes al dente. The change in cooking times is due to the pasta being slightly thicker and larger.
The spaghettoni will add a very starchy flavor to your pasta dishes as well as a wheaty aroma. They perfectly suit heavy meat sauces such as bolognese. The high amounts of starch that can be found on the spaghettoni are great for infusing with your pasta water and adding to your sauce to make it thicker and a tastier sauce.
Vermicelli no. 8
Vermicelli is an incredibly thin and long pasta noodle. It is very similar to rice noodles and can be eaten with a stir fry. This is a lot more than just thin spaghetti as it puts spaghettini to shame with how thin it is.
Bucatini no. 9
The main idea with bucatini is that it is a very thick spaghetti that has a hole running through the center of the entire noodle. The Italian word buco translates to ‘hole’ which is why this pasta has its name. This can be cooked in 8-9 minutes normally and 7-8 minutes al dente. They are not a part of the classic blue box range and are instead from a different range from Barilla known as ‘Collezione’. They are sold in boxes of 12oz, which serves 6 people.
The main use for bucatini is for pasta dishes with thick rich tomato, cream, or dairy-based sauces. These sauces can then be further enhanced with cured pork or beef. The sauce will run through the hole and any small bits of meat can get stuck inside making the noodle flavorful with every mouthful.
Linguine no. 13
Linguine is easily described as a pasta shape that is right in the middle of spaghetti and fettuccine. It is a long strand of dough similar to spaghetti, but it is incredibly flat instead. This is great for when you want a chewier bit of pasta in your dish to add to each mouthful. Linguine has a brilliant texture and can be cooked in 7-8 minutes normally or 6-7 minutes al dente. The 16oz classic blue box packets will serve 8 people.
In Italian, linguine translates to ‘little tongues’. Linguine can be served with a variety of sauces but is incredibly good with a pesto sauce of a Barilla veggie pasta dish. While it does not cook as quickly as thin spaghetti, linguine is one of the best pasta shapes and should work its way into your recipe book.
Are Barilla’s Boxed Pasta Shapes Good?
Whether you are wanting pasta noodles or pasta shapes, Barilla is a brand that is affordable and convenient to buy. Hopefully, you now understand the numbers more so that you can be better prepared for your next pasta meal. Pesto sauces and olive oil are going to be amazing choices to pair with the pasta, so stock up on those too. While Barilla is not the only pasta brand, it certainly is one of the best.
If you are making a lot of pasta sauce, you may want to also read to see if you can use pasta sauce in pizza.