What is Perciatelli?

Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt

Italian cuisine is famous for its wide varieties of delicious sauces and types of pasta. Perciatelli is a hollow-thick strand pasta often used in hearty dishes. While the noodles are known as perciatelli in Naples, elsewhere they are more commonly known as bucatini.

Sardines often accompany perciatelli.
Sardines often accompany perciatelli.

Aside from its hollow interior, this long, dried pasta closely resembles thick spaghetti noodles. The texture of perciatelli noodles is similar to that of vermacelli noodles. The tubular pasta is made from a simple mixture of hard durum wheat flour and water. Bucatini noodles are generally 10 to 12 inches (25 to 30 centimeters) in length, and an eighth of an inch (three millimeters) in diameter. The noodles are most commonly served in Rome and throughout the rest of the Lazio region of Italy.

Perciatelli are most commonly served in Rome and throughout the rest of the Lazio region of Italy.
Perciatelli are most commonly served in Rome and throughout the rest of the Lazio region of Italy.

Perciatelli's name, bucatini, comes from its hollowed center, as buco translates to hole in Italian. The hole running down the center of each bucatini noodle resembles a thin drinking straw. The pasta is typically served with a tomato-based sauce. Sicilian chefs often prepare the noodles with a traditional favorite sardine and wild fennel sauce. The average time it takes for bucatini noodles to cook is nine minutes.

Semi-thick sauces are usually preferred with bucatini noodles, though many cooks simply butter them and add spices. If used with a simple butter dressing in Italian cuisine, perciatelli is often accompanied with fish such as anchovies or sardines. Vegetables, cheeses, pancetta, eggs, and guanciale may also be served with the pasta.

Casseroles, meat dishes, and other hearty entrees are commonly made with or accompanied by perciatelli. The noodles can also be broken into shorter lengths to be added into soups and other dishes, such as minestrone. In recipes that call for bucatini, noodles such as linguine, spaghetti, or fettuccine can usually be used as a replacement.

One of the most famous bucatini dishes found in Rome is the classic favorite, Bucatini alla Matriciana. This meal is made up of the hollow noodles and a spicy, light sauce. The sauce usually contains pancetta, grated Pecorino cheese, tomatoes, and red pepper. When served as a rigid dish, the pasta is known as bucatini rigati.

Bucatini all'Amatriciana is another famous country recipe featuring the pasta. A fast and simple recipe, it is one of the most famous dishes in Italian style cooking. Its sauce includes fresh tomatoes, bacon, onions, ewe's milk cheese, extra virgin olive oil, hot red pepper, and salt and pepper to taste.

Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt

A graduate of Southeast Missouri State University, Sara has a Master’s Degree in English, which she puts to use writing for wiseGEEK and several magazines, websites, and nonprofit organizations. She has published her own novella, and has other literary projects currently in progress. Sara’s varied interests have also led her to teach children in Spain, tutor college students, run CPR and first aid classes, and organize student retreats.

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Discussion Comments


Even though bucatini and perciatelli are not exactly the same, they can be substituted for each other. That's what I did the other day when I couldn't find any bucatini at the store. I picked up some perciatelli which, to me, looked closest to bucatini out of everything else.

The pasta dish came out really really good. This was my first time having perciatelli and since I haven't had bucatini, I can't really compare them taste wise. But I can compare it to regular spaghetti. In my experience, perciatelly is much more filling visually and literally. It is much thicker and has a very wholesome appearance when it's cooked.

I think this might be my favorite pasta of all time!


@strawCake - I love pasta too. It's great if you are broke and/or lazy. Usually a box of pasta costs around a dollar!

Sometimes if I really, really don't feel like cooking I make a pasta such as perciatelli. Then I coat the pasta with some olive oil, sprinkle some spices such as basil on it, and then top with some cheese. Not the most nutritious meal, but it is quick!


I'm not Italian, but I love pasta! It is one of my favorite things to cook. Plus, it's quick and easy which is always a plus.

I like to try different types of pasta all the time, and I recently try perciatelli. I made it with a vodka sauce, some Parmesan cheese, sausage and broccoli. It was delicious! I'll definitely be eating more perciatelli in the future.

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