What's The World's Thinnest Pasta Shape?

Su Filindeu - The thinnest pasta shape in the world

Short answer
Capellini (also called "angel hair") is commonly cited as the world's thinnest pasta shape, but the accolade goes to su filindeu, an unfathomably thin type of pasta that also happens to be the rarest and most expensive pasta shape on earth.

Long answer
There are plenty of pasta shapes that qualify as “thin.” Linguine, pici, and vermicelli are among our favourites, but ask anyone to name the thinnest pasta shape on earth, and you’ll almost certainly get "spaghetti," or at best, "angel hair," as the reply. As it turns out, though, there’s a couple of very special shapes that are even thinner.

Angel hair (Capelli d'angelo in Italian), with its ultra-thin strands, is often called the world's thinnest pasta shape. We’ve no idea where they get the numbers from, or what qualifies them to come up with such a rigid definition, but some pasta aficionados state that the thickness of the angel hair strands must be between 0.78mm and 0.88mm for it to be worthy of the name.

There’s no doubt that angel hair strands are insanely thin. They need just minutes to cook, and as we’ve found out the hard way, they turn from being beautifully al dente to inedible mush within seconds if you don’t watch them like a hawk.

There is, however, one style of pasta that beats angel hair hands down. The accolade for the thinnest (and rarest) pasta on earth goes to su filindeu. The tiny strands are so difficult to create that the secrets to making them are known to just a handful of women in a remote part of Sardinia.

Su filindeu served traditionally in a mutton broth

Hold a sheet of it up to the light, and you’ll think you’re looking through translucent silk rather than pasta. We regard it as one of the finest examples of intuitive cooking in the whole of the gastronomic world.

Don’t expect to be able to enjoy su filindeu without some serious legwork. It’s a nightmare to get hold of, and you’ll have to max out your credit card if you find some for sale.

We’re lucky enough to have been able to track it down and cook with it, and we documented our riff on a very traditional su filindeu recipe here.

Thinnest pasta in the world