Capellino (singular) is a diminutive of capello, hair, which in Italian is countable. Capellini is the plural.
My mother does not like to cook very thin pasta, so it was only when I stayed with my aunt Lucia that I ate capellini and capelli d'angelo (angel hair). My recollection is that she would make capellini with a light sauce, while she cooked nests of capelli d'angelo in broth. She probably used De Cecco, which distinguishes the two kinds of pasta, capellini and capelli d'angelo. Barilla, on the other hand, appears to use the two names as synonyms and makes capellini, also known as capelli d'angelo, in Italy, while in the US it makes angel hair, also known as capellini.
In any case, capellini are thinner than spaghetti and they cook faster. It is easy to overcook them and, if that happens, they become scotti.
Though they have nothing to do with food, there are a number of fun Italian expressions that use capello, two of which are:
- avere un diavolo per capello (literally, to have a devil for each hair, meaning to be furious)
- salvarsi per un capello (to have a narrow escape).
Angelo is angel and the one somewhat food-related thing I will say here is that lunedì dell'Angelo is Easter Monday. It is a holiday and the tradition for that day, at least in central Italy, is to go on a day trip in the country (fare una scampagnata) and have a picnic, weather permitting. The holiday is also called Pasquetta (diminutive of Pasqua, Easter).
[This post was inspired by Lori Lynn of Taste With The Eyes]
Click on the button to hear me pronounce the Italian words mentioned in the post:
or launch the capellino audio file [mp3].
[Depending on your set-up, the audio file will be played within the browser or by your mp3 player application. Please, contact me if you encounter any problems.]
Mom mari loves capellini - as do I. Back in another life, when I had a pasta extruding machine,I made it lots! It's sooo good fresh, sigh...
Now I buy it fresh when I see it, which is not often here in France.
Posted by: Katie | August 30, 2007 at 12:34 AM
Another good post, Simona! I like angel hair..nice and light. I also like Barilla pasta best out of all the commercial brands. I've been using it ever since my Aunt came back from Italy and told me that it is the brand that most Italians buy. I tried it and I liked it.
Posted by: Maryann | August 30, 2007 at 02:25 PM
Hi Katie. Fresh pasta is indeed excellent. My mother makes it, and cuts it by hand: she usually makes tagliatelle. I will write a post about this soon.
Hi Maryann, thanks. I use both De Cecco and Barilla. The latter had a TV ad that said 'Dove c'e' Barilla, c'e' casa' meaning, where there is Barilla there is home.
Posted by: Simona Carini | August 30, 2007 at 03:16 PM
I like capellini. ;-)
Posted by: Paz | August 30, 2007 at 06:24 PM
I love this thin like pasta-doesn't seem to fill me up as quickly.I think I have done the scotti routine before!
Posted by: Jann | August 30, 2007 at 07:04 PM
I think that angel hair is my favorite type of pasta. There's just something about it that I love. I also use Barilla, although when I see De Cecco I usually buy it.
I remember seeing Giada de Laurentis visit the Barilla pasta plant somewhere in Italy (can't remember the city now). That was a fun show.
I love "a devil for each hair"!
Posted by: Lisa | August 31, 2007 at 04:53 AM
Hi Simona, so I found you as well through Ilva...that was nice! Your blog is so nice and original. What a nice idea you had, congratulations! And it's real fun to read the explanations you give about our words and culture. It makes me feel a little bit at home...It's great! Nice meeting you;-)
Posted by: kebrunella | August 31, 2007 at 08:54 AM
Yes, Paz, scotti.
Jann, I think it has happened to everybody.
Lisa, it was probably in Parma. I found a set of slides of the beautiful city here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/academiabarilla/sets/72157601237701544/
Hi Kendra and welcome. Likewise, it was nice meeting you.
Posted by: Simona Carini | August 31, 2007 at 09:23 AM
What a lovely site you have here! I'm thrilled to have found it.
Posted by: Figs Olives Wine | August 31, 2007 at 09:24 AM
Hi Amanda and welcome. Likewise, I am glad I have found your blog, thanks to Ilva.
Posted by: Simona Carini | August 31, 2007 at 09:43 AM
Hi Simona - thanks for mentioning my blog! And, as always, I really appreciate the Italian lessons. I cook with capellini often, but never have made capelli d'angelo, so you are inspiring me right back...I will soon post a dish with that type of pasta.
Your post reminded me of our Italian Cheese Professor, Archangelo. He taught us how to make Stracchino.
Posted by: Lori Lynn at Taste With The Eyes | August 31, 2007 at 10:48 AM
Oops. I spelled his name wrong. It is ARCANGELO.
Posted by: Lori Lynn at Taste With The Eyes | August 31, 2007 at 10:52 AM
You are welcome, Lori Lynn. That is quite an interesting course. Stracchino is indeed delicious. I'll talk about it soon.
Posted by: Simona Carini | August 31, 2007 at 11:00 AM
Ciao Simona, grazie per la visita al nostro blog e felice di aver scoperto il tuo! Davvero interessante e ben fatto. Scusa se scrivo in italiano, ma ormai il mio inglese fa pena. Verrò a leggerti spesso. Ciao, Alex
Posted by: Alex | August 31, 2007 at 11:45 PM
Ciao Alex, benvenuta e grazie. Non ti preoccupare, capisco benissimo, mi e' capitata la stessa cosa col mio tedesco.
Posted by: Simona Carini | September 01, 2007 at 08:34 AM
I've found you, reading your comment on my blog and for which I thank you! ^-^
It's really amazing what you have created here, I really like it! It's a brilliant way to teach and learn Italian!
Food terms stays better in our mind, more than 1000 grammatical rules! :)
My husband can tell! :D
Love it ^_=
See you soon ^.^
Posted by: fabdo | September 01, 2007 at 09:29 AM
Hi Fabdo and welcome. Thanks for your kind words. I agree with you that food words are easier to remember than our native language grammar rules. See you soon!
Posted by: Simona Carini | September 01, 2007 at 02:40 PM