Difference Between Bucatini (Perciatelli) and Tonnarelli

Originating from different parts of Italy, two kinds of pasta, tonnarelli and bucatini, have loyal fan bases. But, at first glance, they look of similar thickness. It’s why most pasta admirers get confused between them.

In this blog post, you’ll learn the differences between tonnarelli and bucatini pasta: their features, origins, and culinary applications. 

It’ll enable you to choose the perfect pasta for your next Italian-inspired feast.

What is Tonnarelli?

Tonnarelli is a type of pasta from Lazio, Italy. The name “tonnarelli” comes from the Italian word for “tuna”, as the pasta is said to resemble the shape of a tuna’s body. 

It’s similar to spaghetti but thicker and has a square cross-section, though Italian chefs leave it in the form of strands as well. 

Due to its square cross-section shape, tonnarelli can carry a lot of sauces. It’s why it can be served with simple sauces, such as cacio e pepe, or with more complex sauces, such as amatriciana or gricia.

Here are some of the key characteristics of tonnarelli:

  • Shape: Long, thin strips with a square cross-section
  • Thickness: 2-3 mm
  • Colour: Off-white
  • Texture: Rough
  • Flavor: Neutral

What is Bucatini Pasta?

Bucatini is a unique pasta from the spaghetti family. It originated from the Lazio and Campania regions of Italy and shares similarities with tonnarelli in appearance but offers a unique twist. 

Bucatini is shaped like thick spaghetti with a hollow centre. It is also known as perciatelli. The name bucatini comes from the Italian words “buco” (hole) and “bucato” (pierced).

Bucatini pasta is also known as perciatelli pasta. The name “perciatelli” comes from the Neapolitan dialect word “perciato,” which means “pierced.” The name “bucatini” comes from the Italian word “buco,” which also means “hole.”

Bucatini is typically cut to a length of about 12 inches. It’s made by extruding pasta dough through a perforated disk, which creates the hollow centre.

The hollow centre of bucatini allows it to be fully coated and filled with sauce, making it a popular choice for hearty pasta dishes.

Concluding the Difference Between Tonnarelli and Bucatini

Indeed Tonnarelli and bucatini share similarities as they’re long, cylindrical pasta made with durum wheat semolina. They’re both often used in Italian dishes that originated in central or southern Italy. But, the few differences set them apart, which are listed below.

  • Tonnarelli is a thick, square-shaped pasta, while bucatini is a thick, hollow-tube pasta.
  • Tonnarelli is a traditional Roman pasta, while bucatini is thought to have originated in Sicily.
  • Tonnarelli is typically paired with creamy sauces, such as cacio e pepe or carbonara. Bucatini is typically paired with tomato-based sauces, such as amatriciana or gricia.


Can I substitute tonnarelli and bucatini?

Yes, you can use tonnarelli and bucatini interchangeably. It’s because, despite differing in shape, tonnarelli and bucatini have an equal ability to hold sauces.

Is Spaghetti alla Chitarra same as Tonnarelli

No, spaghetti alla chitarra and tonnarelli are not the same. Spaghetti alla chitarra originated in the Abruzzo region of Italy, and is a type of pasta made with a chitarra, which is a wooden frame with metal strings stretched across it. The pasta is pressed through the strings to create long, thin strips of pasta with a square cross-section. 

Tonnarelli is also a similar type of pasta but originated in Lazio. Yet, it has a square cross-section and is made with a pasta machine or hand, but not the chitarra tool. Also, Tonnarelli is typically thicker than Spaghetti alla Chitarra.

Share your love
Cashmere Muhammad
Cashmere Muhammad

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *