What does the number on pasta packaging mean?
It's time to answer a question you've never asked!
Every pasta packet carries a number on the package, near the name of the type of pasta. But what does that number mean?
I've been asked this question by Jan Zamojski on the comments in my previous post, and I thought to give an explanation to everyone who has always wondered about the meaning of those numbers.
Does it identify the thickness of pasta?
No, even if at first sight you may think that the number is referring to the pasta's thickness, it's not. However, there's an exception: Barilla, the famous Italian pasta maker, has a crescent numeration to distinguish its formats of long pasta. For example, the thin Cappellini carries number 1, and so on as the thickness of the pasta increases.
Spaghettini - 3, Spaghetti - 5, Linguine - 13, Bucatini - 9 , Ziti - 74. Is this a coincidence? Yes. Even if at first sight it seems like a logical increase related to the thickness, it's not.
So, what does it mean?
The answer is quite simple: it's nothing more than an identification number. Pasta is produced in big numbers and sold worldwide in huge quantities. Every producer has its own numbering system, which helps to identify the type of pasta, and it's known as a 'cut number'.