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Tubetti is a type of pasta that originated in the Campania region of southern Italy. The word itself is Italian for “little tubes," describing this pasta’s shape. The pasta is commonly formed as long tubes ranging in diameter, but it is typically no wider than half an inch (1.3 centimeters). While some restaurants may serve the pasta in its long form, the majority of recipes call for tubetti that is cut into rather short pieces; most manufacturers package the pasta in this way. This type of pasta can be used in a variety of dishes and with many different types of sauces, and it is a popular ingredient in soups such as minestrone and Italian wedding.
The pasta and its similarly shaped, yet smaller, version tubettini are generally not as widely known or as available as penne or pennette pasta, both of which are formed much like tubetti. The major difference is that penne tends to be slightly thinner and cut into longer pieces with slanted edges. Tubetti, on the other hand, is usually cut into much shorter pieces, about one-quarter of an inch (.6 centimeters) long. It is not often cut on a diagonal like the more common penne, which may be used as a substitute pasta.
Possibly most commonly used in fresh and canned coups, tubetti is said to work well with many types of broths, tomato bases, and legumes. When preparing the pasta for a soup, it is important for individuals to first cook the pasta until al dente, or firm, but not quite hard. Cooking times will vary by maker; fresh pastas tend to cook quickly, while packaged pasta may take, on average, anywhere from eight to 12 minutes. Once the pasta is cooked al dente, it may then be added to a soup, generally in one of the last steps of the recipe to ensure that it does not get too soft or mushy.
Pastas are typically made from wheat, but there are varieties of gluten-free tubetti on the market today for consumers who display intolerance to wheat. This food is generally low in fat and high in carbohydrates. Another common ingredient for the packaged variety may be folic acid, which could help heart and reproductive health. Many brands also include riboflavin, a micronutrient that can have a positive effect on energy and metabolism.
Hundreds of recipes using tubetti can be found online. Italian cookbooks are another good place to look for ways to incorporate this pasta into the diet. Packaged varieties often have a long shelf-life if stored in a cool, dry place, and they are typically inexpensive.