How Do I Choose the Best Bucatini Pasta?

Kristeen Moore

Bucatini pasta consists of hollow-centered noodles that are used in a variety of Italian and Asian dishes. This particular type is similar to spaghetti in its versatility, but an added thickness level makes the pasta a heartier version that can even be used in casseroles. The best type of bucatini pasta first depends on for what you are using it, as different styles can present various takes on dishes. The noodles can be purchased from a grocery store, but some of the most experienced chefs can even make them from scratch.

In the summer, al dente bucatini can be tossed with tomatoes, fresh herbs, and cheese.
In the summer, al dente bucatini can be tossed with tomatoes, fresh herbs, and cheese.

What sets bucatini apart from spaghetti is that it consists of thicker noodles with hollow centers. These straw-like noodles absorb virtually any types of sauces and can be used for heartier meals as well. Some cooks prefer the textures of these noodles over thinner spaghetti, because other ingredients used in a particular dish fill in the bucatini, making them a crowd-pleaser. You can cook bucatini in rich, creamy cheese sauces as well as traditional tomato-based ones. The noodles are also used as a part of certain Asian vegetable dishes, as well as hearty casseroles.

The downside to bucatini pasta is that it is not as commonplace in supermarket chains as are other types, such as spaghetti, rotini, and penne. The stores that do carry these types of noodles most often sell them in boxes that are mass produced. Other versions of the pasta can sometimes be found in fresh versions in the deli section of the grocery store, but this is not as common.

Like other types of pasta noodles, bucatini is most often made out of enriched wheat flour, which gives it a less strong taste. Enriched flour goes through a process in which some of the ingredients are stripped, and then essential nutrients, such as iron and B vitamins, are added in. Bucatini made out of whole wheat is available if you prefer a richer taste and slightly firmer texture. When shopping for packaged noodles, keep in mind that whole grain versions are not as widely available, and they often come at a higher cost.

If you cannot find the perfect bucatini pasta at your local grocery store, you also have the option of making it at home. The easiest way to make homemade noodles is by using a pasta maker that cuts the strands into the desired shapes. You can also cut the noodles by hand and roll them so that the centers are hollow, if you do not have a pasta maker. Keep in mind that this process takes time, but the taste is generally superior to that of packaged bucatini pasta.

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