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Manicotti Vs. Rigatoni

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Rigatoni and manicotti are nearly identical pasta shapes. 

If you find yourself struggling to figure out the difference between manicotti and rigatoni, then you are not alone.

Manicotti and rigatoni are both tube shaped pasta varieties that often ridges on their exterior surface.

They look so similar that one can easily be confused for the another.

However, there are certain differences that set manicotti and rigatoni apart.

In this post, we look at the differences between these tube shape pastas. 

Differences between manicotti and rigatoni

The main difference between manicotti and rigatoni is the difference in size between both tube shaped pasta varieties.

Manicotti is larger with a diameter and length that is almost twice that of rigatoni.

Another thing that you might notice is that rigatoni is slightly curved with smooth ends, while manicotti is not curved and each of its ends are angled. 

What is manicotti?

Manicotti is an Italina American creation.  

The term “manicotti” translates to “little sleeves” or “little muffs” in Italian. 

It is a large tube-shaped pasta. The diameter of manicotti reaches about one inch and it has a length of about four inches.

The pasta dough is made with semolina flour and water. Sometimes eggs are used. 

Manicotti can also be rolled from sheets of dough or extruded.

The surface of manicotti is usually ridged but it can also be smooth. The ends of this pasta are angled or pointed. 

They can be used fresh and the dried pasta found in grocery stores.

Manicotti is prepared similarly to lasagna. It is used for Family-sized pasta dishes. 

This pasta is typically prepared by stuffing it with a variety of fillings and baking it in an oven.

After boiling the pasta shells, it is stuffed with a filling.

The fillings of this pasta consist of ricotta, mozzarella, spinach, sausages, seafood, parsley and ground meat.

Once stuffed, the filled manicotti shells are placed in a baking dish, topped with tomato sauce and cheese, then baked. 

The stuffed shells can also be topped with alfredo sauce.

What is rigatoni?

Rigatoni is gotten from the Italian word “Rigato” meaning ridged as this pasta features ridges on its surface.

It is a short-cut pasta with a wide diameter. These pasta tubes are about 2 inches in length and almost an inch in diameter.

This pasta variety can be found in restaurants all over Italy. 

It is made from semolina dough which is pressed through a mold, which form ridges all around the exterior surface of the pasta. 

Rigatoni can be found in the pasta section in grocery stores. It can also be easily made at home.

They can be dried or used fresh.

Rigatoni is a popular pasta in Italian cuisine, and it can be found in a lot of Italian recipes. 

There are a number of ways to serve rigatoni. It can be boiled and then served with a sauce. 

It is usually paired with thick sauces. The hollow as well as the ridges on its surface holds sauces very well.

A variety of sauces including meat sauce, tomato sauce or seafood sauce could be used.

Rigatoni also holds up well during baking.

It could also be used in baked pasta dishes together with meats, vegetables and topped with cheese and sauce.


These pastas are large and hollow pasta, and they accommodate a wide variety of fillings 

Manicotti and rigatoni are commonly used in baked pasta dishes where they are layered with different ingredients.

Their size and texture make them suited for these dishes, and they hold well when being baked.

Both pasta can be used as substitutes for each other with good results