Medieval Pasta Making European Pasta & Noodles

This page covers pasta and noodles other than those made in Italy. Italian Pasta & Noodles has its own page. While some primitive forms may have come from elsewhere, the main pasta influence in Europe was Italy. Unlike Italy, the rest of Europe doesn't have laws specifying that pasta must be made from durum wheat semolina. This opens the door for pasta made from high gluten bread wheat, with some pretty good results, and some not so good.



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Pasta, Noodles

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General & History

The history of pasta and noodles is covered in detail on our pages Pasta & Noodles and Italian Pasta. Suffice to say here, it didn't come from China.

European pastas and noodles are all wheat based, except perhaps a few specialty items for the "gluten free" market.

Hungary
Instructions for making the fresh products shown below will be found at Hungarian Fresh Pasta.


Aproteszta   -   [211; Lebbencs Leves Teszta (Hungarian), Broad Noodles]
Aproteszta Squares 211

Not sure yet how these are used. The photo specimens were typically 4.5 inches square and 0.40 inch thick. Ingred: wheat flour, eggs.

Csiga Teszta   -   [212]
Csiga Teszta 212 These are a screw shaped soup noodle. The photo specimens were 0.13 inch diameter and 0.53 inch randoms in length. Ingred: flour and/or semolina, whole eggs.

Csipetke   -   [034]
Csipetke 034 These are used in stews, generally fresh, but they can be dried. They are somewhat more substantial than Tarhonia. They are easy to make, you just make a ball of dough and pinch off pieces, flattening them between your fingers. Ingred: flour, egg, salt.

Egg Noodles   -   [228]
Egg Noodles 228 Fresh egg noodles are used in many Hungarian dishes. They are easy to make. You just roll out a ball of dough as thin as you can get it and cut into the size ribbons you want. They should dry for 1/2 hour before cooking. Ingred: flour, eggs, salt.

Galuska   -   [227]
Galuska Dumplings 227 These dumplings are used in many Hungarian dishes, generally made fresh. Making them is easy. A ball of dough is rolled out to about 1/2 inch thick, then the dumplings are cut off from it using a spoon or some similar cutter. Ingred: flour, egg, salt.

Today, smaller Galuska or Nokedli may be used, similar to the German Späetzle. Incidently, the spoon method was an old method for making späetzle in German homes, thus "späetzle" (little sparrows). Well, that's one theory, anyway.

Szélesmetélt   -   [215; Broad Noodles]
Szélesmetélt 215 These are made of soft wheat flour, and are very fragile. The photo specimens were typically 0.185 inch wide, 0.025 inch thick and 6.5 inches long. Ingred: flour, egg.

Tarhonia   -   [033; Rivilchas, Egg Barley]
Tarhonia 033 This is a very important noodle in Hungary. It was formally made by families by the sack full, dried and stored for the winter. It is used in soups, stews and with sauce. They are available commercially, but better made at home. It's easy, you just make a ball of dough and grate it on the coarse side of a box grater. The photo specimens show freshly home made on the left, and packaged commercial on the right. Ingred: flour, egg, salt.


Poland
    The word for noodles in Polish is Iazanki, and they are quite popular there.

Polish Thin Egg Noodles   -   [213]
Thin Polish Egg Noodles 213

Labeled as Niteczki domowe (rolled macaroni) these are cut egg noodles 0.55 x 0.45 inch by 1-3/4 inch randoms. The cook very fast, 3 to 4 minutes. Ingred: Flour 500 (all purpose flour), egg (4.8%), water, curcuman (turmeric).

Polish Curls   -   [234]
Polish Pasta Curles 234 These are made of bread flour, so their cooking and eating properties are more like egg noodles. The photo specimens were typically 0.380 inch diameter and 1.5 inch random lengths. Ingred: wheat flour (Triticum aestivum), water, seasoning. I suspect the seasoning is turmeric for color, as egg is not indicated.

Polish Dischi   -   [236]
Polish Dischi 236 These are made with the standard Italian Dischi die, but are made of bread flour, so their cooking and eating properties are more like egg noodles. The photo specimens were typically 0.8 inch diameter. Ingred: wheat flour (Triticum aestivum), water, seasoning. I suspect the seasoning is turmeric for color, as egg is not indicated.

Polish Lasagnetti   -   [233]
Polish Lasagnetti 233 These are made with the standard Italian Lasagnetti die, but are made of bread flour, so their cooking and eating properties are more like egg noodles. The photo specimens were typically 0.32 inch thick, 0.75 inch wide and 1.5 inches long. Ingred: wheat flour (Triticum aestivum), water, seasoning. I suspect the seasoning is turmeric for color, as egg is not indicated.

Polish Nuvole   -   [264]
Polish Nuvole 264 These are made with the standard Italian Nuvole die, but are made of bread flour, so their cooking and eating properties are more like egg noodles. The package suggests serving with cabbage and mushrooms, but I'm sure they would go very well with a popular Polish dish of noodles and cabbage with sour cream and garnished with butter fried breadcrumbs. The photo specimens were typically 0.32 inch thick, 0.7 inch wide and 0.8 inch long. Ingred: wheat flour, water, vitamin A.

Polish Squares   -   [337]
Polish Squares 337 I have no idea yet how these are used in Poland. The photo specimens were typically 0.33 inch thick, 0.80 inch wide and 0.97 inch long. Ingred: pasta flour, water, turmeric.

Polish Half Culverts   -   [338]
Polish Half Culverts 338 These resemble a half section of corrigated steel culvert piping. They cooked well, and with this shape, they are very good at holding sauces. The photo specimens were typically 0.33 inch thick, 0.97 inch long and 0.54 inch wide. Ingred: pasta flour, water, turmeric.


Lithuania


Egg Noodle Shapes   -   [330]
Lithuanian Egg Noodle Shapes 330 Lithuania is currently exporting egg noodle shapes to North America, both short and long shapes. Like their neighbors, the Poles, these shapes are made with traditional Italian dies, but are egg noodles rather than duram wheat pasta. Egg noodles are much more popular in the region and work well with the sauces used there (primarily butter and sour cream). Those I've tried have been of very high quality and hold together well in cooking. The tubular one is cellentini. I haven't identified the Italian die for the other, but it looks like a mushroom. It is a particularly good shape with just butter, salt and pepper.


Germany


Späetzle   -   [323]
Späetzle 323 This is the pasta of Germany. It is properly made fresh, squeezed through the holes of a späetzle maker directly into boiling water, but some is made dried for sale in North America. Those shown in the photo, typically 0.25 inch diameter randoms, are direct from the cold water quench. They are then fried in butter, either to just warm, or lightly browned. See our recipe Späetzle recipe for all the details.

Bandnudeln   -   [262]
Bandnudeln 262 These standard medium egg noodles are exactly what you'd expect from well made egg noodles, though made by the same company that made those strange Spiralnudln described below. The photo specimens were typically 3.25 inches long, 0.22 inch wide and 0.030 inch thick. Ingred: wheat flour, eggs (20%), water.

Egg Noodles, Extra Broad   -   [239]
Egg Noodles, Extra Broad 239 These noodles are actually egg pasta, made out of durum wheat. As such they have a firmer, less elastic texture and a less sweet taste than regular egg noodles. The photo specimens were typically 3 inches long, 0.43 inch wide and 0.035 inch thick. Ingred: durum wheat semolina, eggs.

Egg Noodles, Thin Soup   -   [240]
Very thin Egg Noodles 240 These noodles are actually egg pasta, made out of durum wheat. As such they have a firmer, less elastic texture and a less sweet taste than regular egg noodles. These are very similar to Italian rotini. The photo specimens were typically 2-1/2 inch random lengths and 0.035 inch thick. Ingred: durum wheat semolina, eggs.

Rotini with Egg   -   [238]
Rotini with Egg 238 These noodles are actually egg pasta, made out of durum wheat. The photo specimens were typically 0.325 inch diameter and 1.75 inches long. Ingred: durum wheat semolina, eggs.

Spiralnudeln   -   [243]
Spiralnudeln 243 These are definitely one of the strangest noodles I've encountered. Long before they are done, the outer edge of the fins has separated into a fine thread, intertangled with the spiral. By time the spiral is done, these threads are badly overcooked. Is this accidental or an example of German pasta engineering gone bonkers? The photo specimens were typically 0.5 inch diameter and 1.8 inches long. Although in the standard rotini pasta form, they are actually egg noodles made of bread flour, and have the taste and texture of egg noodles. Ingred: wheat flour, eggs (20%), water.

German Funghetti   -   [342]
German Funghetti 342 In the shape of little mushrooms, these noodles are actually egg pasta, made out of durum wheat. They cook very well, but have a somewhat smoother, more resilient bite. They are somewhat larger than Italian Funghetti I have found to date. The photo specimens were typically 0.75 inch diameter and 0.60 inch high. Ingred: durum wheat semolina, cage free eggs.


France


Macaronade   -   [214]
Macaronade 214 These long macaronis were made in Provence, France, which is where they are traditional, often served with beef that has been stewed in red wine. Hollow tubes 0.165 inch diameter, 2 inch random lengths. Ingred: durum wheat.

This pasta can be very hard to find in North America. When I can't replenish my supply I break up Mezzanelli into 2 inch lengths. It's 0.175 inch diameter, so it's only 1/100th inch larger, but it is straight rather than curved. When I can't find that either, I use Greek Pastichio (the large size - see below), which is identical.


Greece

Orzo, for soup and salad, and Pastitsio for oven baked dishes dominate pasta usage in Greece, but some other Italian style shapes are also used. As in Turkey, the Greeks like their pasta just cooked through rather than al dente. Not mushy, mind you, but with no stiff center.


Orzo, large   -   [287]
Greek Orzo 287 Orzo is a very popular pasta in Greece due to its use in many salads. The photo specimens were 0.48 inch long, 0.90 inch wide and 0.90 inch thick. A bit longer and narrower than our Italian specimens.

Pastitsio - small   -   [237 Pastichio]
Small Pastitsio 237 These are used for making the popular Greek dish pastitsio, though the larger size (#327) may be preferred. This pasta is pretty much identical to the Italian bucatini. The photo specimens, Monastiri brand, were 10 inches long, 0.11 inches diameter and hollow. Ingred: durum wheat semolina.

Pastitsio - large   -   [327 Pastichio]
Large Pastitsio 327 These are, I believe, the preferred pasta for use in making the popular Greek dish pastitsio, though larger tubular pastas are often substituted. That the entire package was in Greek with no English or Italian suggests authenticity. They are pretty much identical to the Italian Mezzanelli and Regine. The photo specimens, Misko brand, were 10 inches long, 0.175 inches diameter and hollow. Ingred: durum wheat semolina.


Romania


Corn Spaghetti   -   [289]
Corn Spaghetti 289 I don't know how popular corn pasta actually is in Rumania, but it is definitely made there. This spaghetti was "private label" packaged for Trader Joes as one of their "gluten free" offerings. Cooked, it was more like regular wheat pasta than I expected. Of course, both flavor and texture were a little different. The package says to cook "for 8 minutes or until desired tenderness". I found desired tenderness at about 15 minutes. The photo specimens were 10.2 inches long a 0.070 inch diameter. Ingred: corn flour, water.

Corn Penne   -   [331]
Corn Penne 331 Again, I don't know how popular corn pasta actually is in Rumania, but it is definitely made there. This penne was "private label" packaged for Trader Joes as one of their "gluten free" offerings. Cooked, it was more like regular wheat pasta than I expected. Of course, both flavor and texture were a little different. The package says to cook "for 8 minutes or until desired tenderness". I found desired tenderness at about 15 minutes. The photo specimens were 2.0 inches long a 0.33 inch diameter. Ingred: corn flour, water.


Armenia

In the past there were more pasta dishes from Armenia, but most have fallen to neglect - but any market that serves an Armenian community will have a large mound of the thin "Vermicelli" used to make the rice and pasta pilaf.


Vermicelli   -   [218; Tell Shehrich (Armenian)]
Tell Shehrich 218

This form of pasta is very popular in Armenia, also in the Near East. The multi-ethnic markets here in Los Angeles are heavily stocked with packages of this pasta due to high demand from our large Armenian population, who use it for rice and vermicelli pilafs. These pilafs were, in fact, the inspiration for creation of the Rice-a-Roni product line by an Italian pasta making family. This pasta is about 0.38 inch diameter, usually cut to about 0.9 inch long. This is about the same thickness as Italian Capellini.


Turkey

Turkish pasta usage is quite similar to that of Greece. A number of Italian style shapes are used. Note that, like the Greeks, the Turks like their pasta cooked just through rather than al dente. Not mushy, mind you, but no stiff center.

I'll have more on the subject of Turkish pasta when I get a little study time.



Mexico

OK, Mexico isn't exactly Europe, but we're putting it here anyway, at least until we find a reason to have a separate Americas page. Mexicans use quite a few normal Italian shapes, particularly soup shapes, many manufactured in Mexico, but below are items that are unique.


Duros / Duros de Rueda   -   [332]
Duros and Duros de Rueda

These shapes are deep fried, which causes them to puff up like Asian rice noodles do. They are sort of vegetarian chicharrónes, but a little less healthy then hog hides. They have about the same amount of oil (a lot less than potato chips in both cases) but are all carbohydrates while hog hides are mostly protein. Once puffed, they are usually seasoned with lemon salt and dipped into chili sauces and the like.

The flat ones were 3.58 inches long, 2.58 inches across and 0.10 inch thick (across the ridge points - much thinner in the lands). The wheels (Rueda) were 1.17 inches diameter and 0.08 inch thick. Ingred: wheat flour, salt, corn starch, bicarbonate of soda, vegetable oil, food coloring.

I discovered these in my vegetarian days, and didn't find out what you are supposed to do with them until many years later. I found the flat ones useful for adding flavor to vegetarian soup stocks, fishing them out before they started to disintegrate, kind of like how the Japanese use kelp.


pa_euro* 12-22-12   -   www.clovegarden.com
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