It’s National Noodle Month, and the National Pasta Association is celebrating this delicious and versatile food all month long. This poses the question: what, exactly, is the difference between pasta and noodles, then?

In short: One ingredient.

Both pasta and noodles have some type of flour and water. But noodles also have egg, either whole or just the whites, as the additional ingredient. In modern diets, some vegan noodles exclude actual egg proteins in favor of proteins not derived from animals, but the basic structure of flour, protein, and water still remain.

During National Noodle Month, the focus is on noodles and how they can be added to soups and casseroles, basic, fried, or even chilled, and made from a long list of various flours, including wheat, rice, buckwheat, potato, canna starch, and mung bean. Noodles date back thousands of years in China.

So, when considering noodles versus pasta, there is one important distinction, then: noodles are a broad subtype of pasta, as they are pasta, meaning flour and water, but also with egg protein. This means that while noodles are the same as pasta, pasta is not always the same as noodles because pasta lacks eggs.

Given their structure, noodles tend to usually only vary by thickness, and consistently be made, cooked, and served as long, strands of dough that may be boiled, fried, or even served cold. On the other hand, pasta is often shaped and dried into a variety of interesting shapes and sizes, creating many different meals and dining experiences, despite still using the same two classic ingredients again and again.

Around the world, noodles are served with a variety of sauces, toppings, proteins, vegetables, and other fares. Because noodles are so widely served and so diverse, it is clear why the National Pasta Association suggests celebrating National Noodle Month by selecting new recipes to try, exploring different ingredients and flavor combinations that are different from those usual go-to family favorites.

Because noodles are easy to prepare and typically inexpensive to buy or make, their universal appeal is understandable, not only in the United States during National Noodle Month, but certainly all around the world, and all year long.

Interested in celebrating National Noodle Month? Consider coordinating a friendly potluck gathering of noodle-based and noodle-friendly dishes or donating noodle packets to food pantries and charities as a low-cost way of giving back to the community in a practical way.

Bricco Salumeria & Pasta Shoppe located in Boston’s North End offers a wide variety of kinds of pasta and different ingredients. Call us now or head over to Bricco Salumeria!