Although different pastas may be made from the same ingredients, their shapes have a big influence on the dishes in which they work best. Linguine and fettuccine have distinct shapes that make them the preferred pasta for specific sauces and dishes.
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Fettuccine, a wide, thin and flat pasta noodle cut into ribbon strips, can be made in different colours from ingredients like spinach, squid ink or tomato. Fettuccine is sold as dried pasta containing no egg, dried with a small percentage of egg or freshly made with egg. It can also be prepared at home with flour, egg and water using a rolling pin to roll out the dough and hand-cutting the ribbons if you don't have a pasta machine.
Linguine is a long, thick noodle that resembles a thicker, flatter spaghetti. Linguine is not as wide as fettuccine, but it's thicker and can also come in different colours like green, red and black. Because of the thick and flattened shape it isn't easy to make fresh linguine at home without a pasta machine. Dried linguine is readily available at grocery stores.
Fettuccine's width makes it a good choice for thick sauces like Bolognese, Alfredo and porcini because the sauce coats the whole noodle. Fresh egg fettuccine picks up the flavour even more because its grooves and imperfections trap the sauces. You can experiment with different ingredients in cream-based sauces like creamy mushroom or asparagus, which adhere well to fettuccine.
Linguine pasta originated in the Liguria region of Italy, which borders the sea, and it's the favourite choice for seafood pasta dishes. Linguine can be paired with clam sauce, shrimp, mussels, scallops and squid. Many recipes combine two or more types of shellfish with linguine, which is also used in non-seafood dishes containing mushroom, tomato, pesto or carbonara sauce.
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