What is Fedelini?

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

Fedelini is a kind of pasta that is shaped much like spaghetti but is thinner, being only slightly thicker than vermicelli. The name of the pasta translates to "little faithful ones." This is not an incredibly common type of pasta outside of Italy. There are some companies that make fedelini and distribute it outside of Italy, but just as there are few recipes that call specifically for fedelini, there are also few stores that keep it in stock. Outside of Italy, it is much more common for recipes to call for other types of thin pasta such as vermicelli or angel hair.

Fedelini is sometimes just served with olive oil and a garnish.
Fedelini is sometimes just served with olive oil and a garnish.

This kind of pasta is generally considered to be appropriate to pair with marinara sauce and thin pesto sauce. This is because the thinner strands of the pasta do a better job of collecting the thin sauce than larger pasta, ribbon-shaped pasta, and tube pasta. This allows for better transfer of the sauce from plate to mouth and, therefore, also offers a better transfer of the flavor.

Making fedelini starts with the sauteing of three or four sliced garlic cloves.
Making fedelini starts with the sauteing of three or four sliced garlic cloves.

Thicker, cream-based sauces are more commonly paired with wider pastas such as fettucini and linguini. Fedelini is not commonly paired with red sauces made with meat. Instead, these sauces are usually paired with a thicker pasta such as spaghetti. This is because thicker sauces tend to overpower delicate pastas such as fedelini and vermicelli so that the flavor of the pasta itself is nearly lost.

Sometimes fedelini is served simply with olive oil and garlic with perhaps a few herbs as garnish. This simple dish sometimes incorporates lemon juice and parmesan cheese. Those who love a simple pasta dish like this usually prefer a thin pasta such as fedelini.

This dish is just as simple to make as it is delicious. First, saute three to four thinly sliced garlic cloves in four tablespoons (60 ml) of olive oil. Remove it from heat when the garlic is a light gold color.

Drop half a pound (225 grams) of fedelini into boiling water. Cook for six to eight minutes depending on one's preferred firmness. Strain the pasta, then add three tablespoons of butter (about 45 grams) and a third of a cup (75 grams) of parmesan cheese. Add this to the saute pan and heat together for a minute or two. Advanced cooks can prepare the olive oil and garlic while also preparing the pasta.

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

In addition to her work as a freelance writer for wiseGEEK, Diane is the executive editor of Black Lawrence Press, an independent publishing company based in upstate New York. She has also edited several anthologies, the e-newsletter Sapling, and The Adirondack Review. Diane has a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and an M.A. from Brooklyn College.

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Discussion Comments

Ruggercat68

I think one of the chefs on the food network used fedelini, but only because her Italian aunt was visiting her and she wanted to create an authentic Italian pasta dinner. She made a side dish very much like the one described in the article. I think the chef said she made the fedelini using a special setting on her imported pasta cutting machine. She couldn't find the dried version at any grocery store in her city.

mrwormy

I found fedelini in a European grocery store one time, but I didn't see a compelling reason to buy it instead of domestic angel hair pasta. I can see why people might be interested in a type of pasta sized between spaghetti and vermicelli, though. Sometimes vermicelli can be almost too thin, but spaghetti is too thick for the sauce you're using.

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