Italian Food Explained

Capelli d’angelo

capelli d'angelo

Capelli d’angelo (literally “angel hair”) is a very thin type of long pasta, similar to spaghetti in length, more commonly marketed in English speaking countries as angel hair pasta or capellini.

Since the pasta is so thin, it cooks very quickly, making it a great pasta choice for people who need to prepare pasta in a hurry. As compared to the thicker spaghetti noodle, capelli d’angelo pasta cooks in about two to three minutes when added to rapidly boiling water. It’s extremely important to follow cooking instructions for this pasta, which may vary with different brands. Overcooked angel hair will result in a clumped and sodden mass of pasta that is not very appetizing.

Angel hair pasta also should always be cooked, when prepared with sauces, with boiling water to which olive oil is added. This will help prevent the pasta from sticking together. When you add this pasta to soups, this step is unnecessary, since most soups will have natural oils that will prevent pasta adherence. In soup capelli d’angelo pasta should be added at the last minute, since it will cook so quickly.

In shops you’ll find capelli d’angelo pasta in several varieties. It may be sold in what are called “nests.” These resemble little birds’ nests with the pasta curled in rounds. When dropped into boiling water the nests separate into single strands of pasta. Angel hair can also be sold much like spaghetti, in long single strands in bags or boxes. You may have to do some looking to find fresh versions of this pasta, and always remember that cooking fresh pasta is a much swifter process. Fresh angel hair may only take a minute, or even less, to cook in boiling water.

Due to the thin and delicate nature of capelli d’angelo pasta, heavy sauces can easily overwhelm it.  Many recipes merely toss the pasta with a bit of olive oil, add Parmesan and sprinkle chopped basil on angel hair. A thin sauce is best suited for capelli d’angelo pasta. Angel hair pasta lends itself particularly well to soups.

Here is a capelli d’angelo recipe from Culinaria Italia

Capelli d’angelo


2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I live in Marietta, Georgia. I was able to purchase your Birds Nest Angel Hair Pasta which I love. The Fresh Market Chain NO LONGER CARRIES your product, where can I BUY IT.
Please let me know.

Regards, Nick Talias

Comment by Nick Talias

I’m not sure who you think I am Nick, but I’m pretty sure you’ve got the wrong address


Comment by djkrysa

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