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The 5 Best Substitutes for Ditalini Pasta

Have you ever tasted ditalini pasta and now want to reproduce its deliciousness in the kitchen?

Ditalini is a small, tube-shaped pasta that can be used in many recipes.

But what if you don’t have access to it right away? Don’t worry; there are many alternatives that you can use instead.

By understanding how to use and prepare it, as well as the five best substitutes for ditalini, you will soon be able to recreate the same flavors with other pasta.

What’s Ditalini Pasta?

Ditalini pasta is a small variety of tubular-shaped macro pasta originating from the Campania region in Italy.

It has been part of traditional Italian cuisine for centuries, resulting in its robust and familiar taste and texture.

Ditalini is particularly appreciated for its ability to hold onto sauces just as well as longer varieties, as the sauce works its way inside the hollow center of each piece.

From stews and soups to salads, ditalini can be added to create an abundance of dishes with a unique yet traditional touch.

When cooking, it is recommended that you boil according to package directions and then finish in the sauce, so the flavors are distributed evenly throughout the dish.

Whether hot or cold, ditalini adds something special to every meal.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Ditalini Pasta

If you’re looking for an alternative to ditalini pasta, you’ll be pleased with the variety of substitutes available.

Here are five of the best options:

1 – Tubettini

Tubettini is a cylindrical pasta shape, similar to short macaroni tubes, with ridges and a hollow center.

This smaller pasta size has a pleasing texture – more substantial than vermicelli yet still delicate in the mouth.

The flavor of Tubettini is mild, so it can easily absorb other flavors.

Tubettini is particularly good for holding sauces and soups, which makes it a great replacement for ditalini pasta in minestrone or pasta e fagiole.

You can also try this tiny tubular pasta baked in hearty casseroles or used as an interesting twist to cold salads.

2 – Orzo

Orzo, or risoni as it is commonly called in Italy, is a type of pasta shaped like grains of rice.

It has a mild flavor and a soft yet slightly chewy texture.

It absorbs sauces nicely and can be used to make delicious salads and soups.

Instead of using ditalini pasta, try substituting it with orzo for a more interesting dish.

The size contrast between ditalini and orzo will not only add visual appeal but will also add some pleasant textural contrast.

Orzo tastes great when cooked in broth with vegetables and can even replace traditional risotto if cooked like one.

3 – Acini Di Pepe

Acini Di Pepe, which translates to ‘peppercorns’ in Italian, is a form of tiny pasta shaped like spheres.

Dropping these small balls of dough into boiling water produces an al dente texture with a mild nutty flavor.

Acini Di Pepe can be used as an excellent substitute for ditalini pasta, enhancing dishes with its unique texture and flavor.

While it goes extremely well with creamy and elemental sauces, it can also deliciously intensify soups and salads as a result of its versatility.

4 – Elbow Macaroni

Elbow macaroni is a durable and delicious pasta option.

Characterized by its short and curved shape, it has an unmistakable taste and texture.

Its firmness makes it an ideal noodle for casseroles and baked dishes when paired with sauces like alfredo and marinara.

If you want to substitute it for ditalini in your recipes, cook it for 6-7 minutes longer than the recommended cooking time of 8-10 minutes.

Once done, observe the noodle’s firmness and adjust the cooking time accordingly.

Elbow macaroni can add some more flavor to your classic dishes.

5 – Fregula

Fregula is a Sardinian specialty pasta that is gaining more and more popularity throughout the world.

It has a unique taste and a slightly chewy texture.

Fregula looks somewhat like large grains of couscous, but it is actually made with hard durum wheat semolina, which has been toasted in the oven.

Accompanied by vegetables, seafood, or meat, it makes for an excellent pasta dish.

If you’re looking for an alternative to ditalini that will add greater depth and flavor to your plate, fregula could be the perfect ingredient.

You can serve it as a side dish or use it as the main carbohydrate in many Mediterranean-style recipes.


In conclusion, ditalini is a versatile and classic pasta shape, but there are many delicious substitutes available if you’re looking for something different.

You can try tubettini, orzo, acini di pepe, elbow macaroni, or fregula for an interesting twist to your dishes.

Each of these options will bring unique texture and flavour to your meals.

So give them a try and find out which one best suits your taste.

Yield: 1 Serving

The 5 Best Substitutes for Ditalini Pasta

The 5 Best Substitutes for Ditalini Pasta
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • Tubettini
  • Orzo
  • Acini Di Pepe
  • Elbow Macaroni
  • Fregula


  1. Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  2. Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.

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