V for Vermicelli

October 25th is World Pasta Day! World Pasta Day was brought into existence as part of the World Pasta Congress on the 25th of October in 1995. The World Pasta Congress uses World Pasta Day to promote the eating of pasta, along with its cultural and culinary importance.

Vermicelli, a long very thin pasta, is one of the oldest forms of pasta and originated in the Campania region of south western Italy, sometime in the 13th century. In olden time, Neapolitan pasta makers were called ‘vermicellari’. (Naples is the regional capital of Campania.). Initially, like all pastas, this pasta was made by hand and was shorter and not so straight. Hence the name ‘Vermicelli’, which Italian word translates to ‘little worms’ in English.

The first mention of a vermicelli recipe is in De arte Coquinaria per vermicelli e maccaroni siciliani (The Art of Cooking Sicilian Macaroni and Vermicelli), compiled by Maestro Martino da Como, in the 15th century. In the book there are several recipes for vermicelli, which is supposed to last two or three years when dried in the sun.

Vermicelli in Italy is thicker than spaghetti, while in USA they are thinner. In the United States, the National Pasta Association defines lists vermicelli as a thinner type of spaghetti. The Code of Federal Regulations of the United States of America defines vermicelli as of diameter less than 0.06 inches and spaghetti of diameter between 0.06 and 0.11 inches.

Collectively, the U.S. consumes 5.95 billion pounds of pasta per year, the average American consumes approximately 20 lbs. of pasta annually. This makes it the 6th highest food per capita in the country.

There are two main types of vermicelli: Italian type which is made with durum wheat flour and the Asian type made with rice flour. The Italian vermicelli can be used like any other thin pasta like spaghetti, spaghettini, or angel hair as the only difference is the degree of thinness. The Asian vermicelli are called by varying names depending on the country and cuisine. Well known dishes like pad thai, pho, chow mein, and stir fries use rice vermicelli.

The extra-thin vermicelli is quick-cooking and good with so many flavors, and they are used all around the world in meals from breakfast to dessert. Today we are featuring a dessert soup with vermicelli which can be made as much or as little sweet as you want.

Sweet Vermicelli Soup


  • 2 tablespoon butter 
  • 1 cup pieces of vermicelli, broken into roughly 2 inch pieces
  • 4 cups milk
  • 4 tablespoons of granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tablespoon raisins
  • 1 tablespoon nuts like cashews, pecans and hazel nuts


  • Heat a flat pan on medium heat and add 1 tbsp of butter.
  • Toast the vermicelli till it starts to change color, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Add 4 cups of water to the milk and boil on medium heat.
  • Add the vermicelli to the milk and cook on low heat till the vermicelli is fully cooked, about 10 minutes.
  • Taste for sweetness and add as much of the condensed milk as you desire. Mix well and take off the heat.
  • Toast the raisins and nuts in the remaining butter and add to the soup. Serve warm or chilled.

3 thoughts on “V for Vermicelli”

  1. This recipe reminds me of a rice pudding I used to make. I didn’t use condensed milk but I would cook it down in the oven. I haven’t made it in a long time.

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