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|Look up vermicelli in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
|Vermicelli||diameter between 2.08 and 2.14 millimetres (0.082 and 0.084 in) with little variation between different producers.|
|Spaghetti||diameter between 1.92 and 2.00 millimetres (0.076 and 0.079 in)|
|Vermicellini (// "thin vermicelli")||diameter between 1.75 and 1.80 millimetres (0.069 and 0.071 in)|
|Fidelini||diameter between 1.37 and 1.47 millimetres (0.054 and 0.058 in)|
|Capellini (or "capelli d'angelo"—angel's hair)||diameter between 0.8 and 0.9 millimetres (0.031 and 0.035 in)|
In the United States, the National Pasta Association, founded in 1904, that has no links with its Italian counterpart, the Unione Industriali Pastai Italiani, lists vermicelli as a thinner type of spaghetti.
The Code of Federal Regulations of the United States of America (Title 21, paragraph 16.2) defines "spaghetti" and "vermicelli" by diameter:
|Vermicelli||diameter less than 0.06 inches (1.5 mm).|
|Spaghetti||diameter between 0.06 and 0.11 inches (1.5 and 2.8 mm)|
In 14th-century Italy, long pasta shapes had varying local names. Barnabas de Reatinis of Reggio notes in his Compendium de naturis et proprietatibus alimentorum (1338) that the Tuscan vermicelli are called orati in Bologna, minutelli in Venice, fermentini in Reggio, and pancardelle in Mantua.
The first mention of a vermicelli recipe is in the book De arte Coquinaria per vermicelli e maccaroni siciliani (The Art of Cooking Sicilian Macaroni and Vermicelli), compiled by the famous Maestro Martino da Como, unequalled in his field at the time and perhaps the first "celebrity chef," who was the chef at the Roman palazzo of the papal chamberlain ("camerlengo"), the Patriarch of Aquileia. In Martino's Libro de arte coquinaria, there are several recipes for vermicelli, which can last two or three years (doi o tre anni) when dried in the sun.
In English, the Italian loanword "vermicelli" is used to indicate different sorts of long pasta shapes from different parts of the world but mostly from South or East Asia. The dish in the original language are variously known as seviyan in Urdu and Hindi, shemai in Bengali, sev in Gujarati, shavige in Kannada, sevalu or semiya in Telugu, and semiya in Tamil and Malayalam. The noodles are used in a number of dishes including a variation of kheer, a sweet dessert similar to rice pudding. Vermicelli are also used in many parts of India to make a popular dish called upma. To prepare it, dry oil-roasted vermicelli are boiled with a choice of vegetables.
Persian reshteh also resembles vermicelli. Fālūde or faloodeh is a Persian frozen dessert made with thin vermicelli noodles frozen with corn starch, rose water, lime juice, and often ground pistachios.
In East Asia, the term rice vermicelli is often used to describe the thin rice noodles (米粉) popular in China, also known as bee hoon in Hokkien Chinese, mai fun in Cantonese Chinese, วุ้นเส้น (Wûns̄ên) in Thai, ကြာဆံ (kya zan) in Burmese, and bún in Vietnamese. The term vermicelli may also refer to vermicelli made from mung bean, which is translucent when cooked, whereas rice vermicelli turns whitish when cooked. Mung bean vermicelli is commonly used in Chinese cuisine. In contrast, misua (Chinese: 面线; pinyin: mian xian; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: mī-sòaⁿ) is vermicelli that is made of wheat instead of rice. While superficially similar to bee hoon it has a very different texture and different culinary uses as well.
The fideo is a type of noodle, popular in Mexican and Latin American cuisine, often referred to by speakers of English as "vermicelli." It is commonly used in chicken soup and in sopa seca, a type of side-dish.
In Somalia, it is used in a sweet dish called cadriyad. The vermicelli is browned by frying with butter, then water, sugar and cardamom are added until it has softened slightly. The dish is similar to the Indian kheer. However, no milk or cream is added. It is usually eaten as a dessert or as a side-dish with Somali spiced rice dishes.
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