Spaghetti is a long, thin, cylindrical, solid pasta. Like other pasta, spaghetti is made of milled wheat
. Italian spaghetti is made from durum wheat semolina
, but elsewhere it may be made with other kinds of flour.
Originally spaghetti was notably long, but shorter lengths gained in popularity during the latter half of the 20th century and now spaghetti is most commonly available in 10–12 in lengths. A variety of pasta dishes are based on it.
At its simplest, spaghetti can be formed using no more than a rolling pin
and a knife
. A home pasta machine simplifies the rolling, and makes the cutting more uniform. Fresh spaghetti would normally be cooked within hours of being formed. Commercial versions of 'fresh' spaghetti are manufactured.
The bulk of dried spaghetti is produced in factories using auger extruders. While essentially simple, the process requires attention to detail to ensure that the mixing and kneading of the ingredients produces a homogeneous mix, without air bubbles. The forming dies have to be water cooled to prevent spoiling of the pasta by overheating. Drying of the newly formed spaghetti has to be carefully controlled to prevent strands sticking together, and to leave it with sufficient moisture so that it is not too brittle.
Fresh and dry spaghetti is cooked in a large pot of salted, boiling water and then drained in a colander
. In Italy, spaghetti is generally cooked al dente (Italian for to the tooth), fully cooked and still firm, it may also be cooked to a softer consistency. Spaghettoni is a thicker spaghetti which takes more time to cook. Spaghettini is a very thin form of spaghetti (it may be called angel hair spaghetti in English) which takes less time to cook.
Utensils used in spaghetti preparation include the spaghetti scoop
and spaghetti tongs.
An emblem of Italian cuisine, spaghetti is frequently served with tomato sauce, which may contain various herbs, (especially oregano
), olive oil
, meat, or vegetables. Other spaghetti preparations include Bolognese or carbonara. Grated hard cheeses, such as Pecorino Romano
and Grana Padano
, are often sprinkled on top.