Noodle (food)

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Fresh uncooked ribbon noodles

Noodle is a generic term for a variety of cooked dishes made from a dough, mostly on the basis of ground grain , of which a large part is now classified under pasta . Noodles can have a wide variety of shapes and sizes and be made with very different ingredients.

The commonality of all noodles results from the common development, which is reflected in the common root word of noodle and dumpling . The word "Nudel" is probably a modification of "Knödel" and thus part of a large stem of German words that express a thickening with the syllable kn- ( knot , knolle , bud , knauf , button , knut , knute , stick ).

pasta dough

In Germany, noodle dough , one of the doughs from which noodles are made, is a dough that meets the requirements of food law regarding pasta. The non-colloquial technical term pasta describes products that are mainly made from ground grain and optionally hen's eggs with a low salt and water content and with various other additives by molding and drying without using a fermentation or baking process.

Not all pasta is noodles, so Spätzle or Knöpfle are assigned to pasta in food law, but not referred to as noodles, they are not made from pasta dough in a kitchen-technical sense.

Lasagna -Zubereitung with lasagne sheets of pasta layered with meat mixture , bechamel sauce and cheese

Pasta dough is also used to make other dishes such as lasagne or various forms of dumplings such as Maultaschen , Schlutzkrapfen (in East Tyrol also Schlipfkrapfen) or ravioli . Even dishes like Meißner Fummel , which are not pasta, are made from pasta dough.

Noodles (pasta)

They consist of pasta dough that is rolled out with a rolling pin , then the pasta is gouged or cut in various shapes. This can of course also be done with a pasta machine or the pasta dough is pressed through nozzles. In some regions of China it is customary to form a single strand of noodle from a large piece of noodle dough by stretching it out and taking it twice several times.

In Europe and North America, and thus also widespread in the German-speaking area, there are various forms based on Italian models . However, the recipe and name are often adapted to local tastes:

  • Macaroni : long tubular noodles that are served with sauce as a separate dish, less often as a side dish
  • Spaghetti : long, sometimes extra-long, thin noodles that are served with sauce as a separate dish
  • Croissants : small, curved, tubular noodles that are used as a side dish, and more rarely as a soup
  • Spirals : twisted noodles that resemble Italian fusilli and that are served both as a side dish and with sauce as an independent dish
  • Conchiglioni (mussel noodles): very small noodles in the shape of mussels that are used as a soup
  • Tortiglioni or rigatoni: short tubular pasta that is served with sauce as a separate dish
  • Farfalle : butterfly-shaped noodles that are suitable for soups and stand-alone dishes
  • Lasagne sheets - fresh and dried - are available for the preparation of lasagna.

Other forms are presumably independent of Italian models, such as:

  • Tagliatelle : wide noodles that resemble the Italian tagliatelle and that are served both as a side dish and with sauce as an independent dish or dessert (e.g. as milk noodles )
  • Starch noodles: very small star-shaped noodles that are used as a soup
  • Letters : very small noodles in the form of different letters that are used as a soup
  • Vermicelli: thin little noodles that are used as a soup

Short noodles such as spirals are known as short goods or vegetable noodles , while spaghetti is a long product .


During manual noodle production in China, the noodles were dried outdoors in the sun (approx. 1939–1945)

There is a high probability that noodle making methods and noodle dishes were developed independently in several places. The earliest references and evidence of manufacture come from East Asia . In Lajia , a large prehistoric village on the Yellow River in northwest China, 4000 year old noodles (dimensions: 500 × 3 mm) made of millet ( Panicum miliaceum ) and millet ( Setaria italica ) were found in a sealed clay bowl during excavations .

Some believe that Marco Polo brought the noodles with him from China . In fact, pasta dishes have existed in Europe since ancient Greece , and images of pasta-making equipment have been found in Etruscan tombs. In the first century BC, Cato d. Ä. in his De agri cultura and two hundred years later Horace again of two pasta dishes common in ancient Italy: Lagana ( so-called laganum , from ancient Greek λάγανον , in modern Italian Lasagna ), a flat pasta dish layered with cheese, and tracta ( so-called tractum , from ancient Greek τρακτόν , it. tagliatelle ), which should have been long ribbon noodles. In the second century AD. Chr. Writes Galen of a cooked dish of flour and water with the name ιτριον that the Jerusalem Talmud only when the 3rd to 5th centuries in Palestine popular itrium and then in the 9th century at the doctor and Aramaic Lexicographer Isho bar Ali as Itriyya shows up. Bar Ali understood it to be a thread-like semolina dish that was dried before cooking. The geographer Al-Idrisi also reports in the 12th century about itriyya , which was produced in the Norman-Arab Sicily and, due to its popularity, was widely exported from there.

The oldest pasta factory in Germany is the Erfurt pasta factory founded in 1793 .

Modern food technology

Pasta die spirals in industrial pasta production
Two tortiglioni on the left, two rigatoni on the right

When it comes to Italian noodles, connoisseurs often criticize that they used to taste better and that they absorbed the sauce better.

One reason for this is that nowadays industrial pasta machines are mostly equipped with Teflon- coated molding nozzles, which results in a smooth pasta surface that offers the sauces less grip than a surface structure created by nozzles made of non-ferrous metals such as copper , brass or bronze .

A special quality feature for pasta, especially for Italian products made from durum wheat semolina , is therefore when they are pressed through a bronze mold during production. This makes the surface rougher and the sauce sticks better to the noodle. Often on the packaging with the predicate "bronze" (Italian al bronzo ) it is particularly emphasized that a form made of bronze was used in the production.

The drying process is also much faster today: Whereas in the past it was air-dried slowly and gently, today it takes less than three hours at around 100 ° C, which causes the starch to gel .

Traditionally made noodles don't look particularly appealing due to their rough surface. In particular, a direct comparison with smooth pasta often gives the impression of a bad or even spoiled product. However, this look is not a defect, but a quality feature.

The pasta in so-called convenience products is precooked and freeze-dried .

Pasta noodles in different countries

Different raw materials divide the pasta into different types. Most of the pasta used in European cuisine is made from hard or soft wheat . Since durum wheat needs more sun than soft wheat, pasta dough was mainly made from soft wheat in the northern regions of Europe and eggs were added to achieve the necessary firmness . Some of the preferences for durum wheat or egg noodles still exist today.


In Germany, noodles are usually industrially produced and sold from wheat semolina and sometimes with the addition of eggs . For some years now, packaged and chilled fresh produce has also been sold in hypermarkets . Pasta dishes are also available as frozen food , as a ready-made meal and as a ready-to-cook instant product.

In Germany, noodles with a sauce are eaten as a main course or as a side dish . Small noodles are popular as a soup .

Noodles are part of many dishes, especially in Swabian and Baden cuisine .


Traditional pasta dishes are Krautfleckerl and Schinkenfleckerl . Typical Austrian types of pasta, unlike the Italian ones, are always made with eggs (egg pasta).

Czech Republic

In Bohemian cuisine , pasta is made from wheat flour and eggs . They are available as ribbon noodles (noodles) and as Fleckerl (fleky) . Well-known dishes are šunkofleky ( ham steaks ) and pasta with spinach and fried egg .


In Switzerland, the word “noodles” only refers to flat ribbon noodles. All other shapes are summarized under the term “pasta” or “pasta”. A typical Swiss pasta dish are the so-called Zigerhörnli (croissants flavored with Schabziger , a Swiss cheese specialty).

Älplermagronen are popular in the Alpine regions : a stew made from macaroni and potatoes with cheese. In Grisons is found from buckwheat made pizzoccheri .


Different types of pasta

In Italy, pasta is called pasta, which can be translated as 'dough'. Pasta is mostly made from durum wheat , Italian pasta di semola di grano duro . Their shapes and colors as well as their special quality in connection with the binding of sauces, e.g. B. tomato-based, make Italian pasta an outstanding object, not just as a food.

See also list of pasta shapes


  • Asian glass noodles are made from mung bean starch , hence the different consistency compared to cereal noodles
  • Asian rice noodles are made from rice flour ; The rice starch makes the thin noodles very light. They are not to be confused with the noodles known in Germany under the same name from the Greek ( Kritharaki ) and Italian cuisine ( Risoni or Risi ), which are made from durum wheat semolina and have the shape of a grain of rice .
  • Chinese egg noodles or Mie noodles are noodles made from wheat flour, which are similar to Italian spaghetti , but have a stronger taste and are put together to form a block due to their length.

  • Japanese soba noodles are made from buckwheat flour and are sometimes colored with green tea powder . They are also eaten cold.
  • Japanese udon are thicker or wider noodles made from wheat flour.
  • Japanese hiyamugi are medium-strength noodles made from wheat flour.
  • Japanese somen are thin, long and slightly sweet tasting vermicelli made from wheat flour that is often eaten cold.
  • Japanese ramen are thin, long vermicelli made from wheat flour that is served in broth as a soup.
  • Japanese Shirataki are made from the flour of the konjac root and are therefore suitable for a low-carbohydrate diet . They are similar in appearance and consistency to Asian glass noodles, but are a little thicker.

Noodles that are not pasta

Thin to finger-thick, rounded pieces of dough are generally referred to as noodles. In some of these dishes, the term noodle refers to this type of food.

For others, the term noodle shows a long kitchen tradition going back to a time when the term noodle was used even more widely and the multitude of shapes of Italian pasta was not yet known in the German-speaking world. These noodles are not pasta because they contain other ingredients in different proportions, are prepared with different cooking methods and are therefore not pasta in the sense of food law. They are often made from potato or yeast dough and are boiled, in hot fat or baked in the oven .

Made from potato dough

As a basic ingredient, potato dough contains, in addition to flour or semolina, eggs and salt, substantial proportions of cooked potatoes. Well-known examples are boiled potato noodles , baked or fried potato noodles and cooked poppy seed noodles , which are turned in ground poppy seeds and sweetened with sugar.

Made from yeast dough

Steamed noodles are steamed and tube noodles or Swabian snail noodles are baked in the oven, drawn noodles are fried in hot fat.


  • Houyuan Lu: Culinary archeology. Millet noodles in Late Neolithic China. In: Nature . 2005, 437, pp. 967–968, doi: 10.1038 / 437967a (English)
  • Noodle. In: Johann Georg Krünitz: Ökonomisch-technologische Encyklopädie, or general system of state, city, house and rural economy, and the history of art, in alphabetical order , part 102. Berlin: Joachim Pauli, 1806, page 765 -812, online .
  • Paul-Jacques Malouin : The Art of Pasta Making. In: Daniel Gottfried Schreber (editor): Schauplatz der Künste und Handwerke or complete description thereof, prepared or approved by the gentlemen of the Academie der Wissenschaften zu Paris. Edited in this German translation with annotations , Volume 8, Leipzig: Johann Jacob Kanter, 1769, pages 221-252, online .

Web links

Commons : Noodles  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files


  1. There are noodles, especially in Asian cuisine and of a dietary nature, that do not contain any grain products, for example Shirataki noodles , soba noodles (made from buckwheat ), glass noodles made from mung bean starch
  2. A pasta dough has a certain firmness, in any case it is so firm that it does not drip.
  3. The longest noodle in the world was made on November 20, 2004 by Chen Shenli under notarial supervision in Vienna. Using traditional methods, he succeeded in handcrafting a piece of dough weighing 1500 grams into a noodle 180 meters in total length, which was enough for 50 servings. The Viennese chef drew the longest noodle in the world ., November 23, 2004; Retrieved October 20, 2014

Individual evidence

  1. a b noodle. In: Jacob Grimm , Wilhelm Grimm (Hrsg.): German dictionary . 16 volumes in 32 sub-volumes, 1854–1960. S. Hirzel, Leipzig ( ).
  2. ^ Friedrich Kluge: Etymological dictionary of the German language . 24th edition. Edited by Elmar Seebold. De Gruyter, Berlin / New York 2002.
  3. Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (Ed.): Guidelines for pasta dated December 2, 1998 (BAnz. No. 66a of April 9, 1999, GMBl. No. 11 p. 231 of April 26, 1999) . ( [PDF; accessed on October 19, 2014]).


    1. The water content (moisture), with the exception of fresh pasta (fresh pasta and pasta dough), does not exceed 13 percent.
    2. The content of table salt (sodium chloride) does not exceed 1 percent. "
  4. Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture : Guidelines for Pasta of December 2, 1998 (BAnz. No. 66a of April 9, 1999, GMBl. No. 11 p. 231 of April 26, 1999) . ( [PDF; accessed on October 19, 2014]).

    "The following ingredients are usually used:
    a) ground cereal products made from durum wheat, common wheat, spelled, rye,
    b) ground products made from buckwheat, barley, oats, millet, corn, rice, triticale for multigrain pasta,
    c) table salt, iodized table salt, sea salt,
    d) Whole egg, egg yolk, egg white, also frozen or dried,
    e) Milk, milk powder each with different fat content levels,
    f) Vegetables, herbs, mushrooms in suitable preparation (e.g. pulp, juice, powder, concentrate) and spices,
    g ) coloring foods,
    h) wheat gluten,
    i) milk protein products,
    j) soy products,
    k) drinking water. "

  5. Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture : Guidelines for Pasta of December 2, 1998 (BAnz. No. 66a of April 9, 1999, GMBl. No. 11 p. 231 of April 26, 1999) . S. 2 ( [PDF; accessed on October 19, 2014]).
  6. Industry catalog of the food industry. ( Memento from December 29, 2009 in the Internet Archive ; PDF) IHK Südwestsachsen
  7. Researchers find stone age spaghetti . Spiegel Online , October 13, 2005