Tagliatelle are a firm favourite here at Pasta Evangelists HQ. The versatile yet pleasing ribbon-like strands appear in dishes throughout our site, from tagliatelle with beef shin ragù, to tagliatelle with ‘nduja, mascarpone and lemon. Here, we aim to provide you with a full run-down of all there is to know about tagliatelle, from their poetic origins, to how best to cook and serve this much-loved classic.
What are Tagliatelle?
The pride of Bologna, tagliatelle reside in the pasta lunga family. It is a long, flat ribbon-like strand, with a rough texture, and is used in a number of classic Italian dishes - most notably ragù alla bolognese. The correct pronunciation of tagliatelle is one that acknowledges a silent ‘g’ - refer to the pasta as ‘tah-lyah-tell-eh’ for an authentically Italian articulation. Tagliatelle gain their name from the Italian verb “tagliare”, meaning “to cut” - perhaps in reference to the extremely specific dimensions of the ribbon. These specifications are so concrete that Bologna’s chamber of commerce even houses a solid gold replica, demonstrating the correct dimensions of a piece of tagliatelle: 1 mm x 6 mm.
Tagliatelle - a Brief History
Tagliatelle hail from the Emilia-Romagna and Marche regions of Italy, and have been cherished by their homeland for generations. Though tagliatelle’s origins are vague, popular lore states the pasta was invented in 1487 on the night of Annibale II Bentivoglio’s wedding to Lucrezia from the house of Este, in the image of the bride’s ribbon-like tresses. That being said, skeptics suggest this tale was in fact birthed by humorist Augusto Majani in the early 20th century. We like to believe the former, though we at Pasta Evangelists are admittedly romantics!
How to cook tagliatelle
Cooking tagliatelle is a simple and speedy process. For the perfect al dente bite, we recommend boiling fresh tagliatelle in generously salted water for approximately 3-4 minutes, remembering to taste a piece before removing from the water.
How much tagliatelle per person?
Knowing how many tagliatelle nests to serve per person proves a troublesome aspect of cooking the pasta. The answer, of course, will fluctuate depending on the size of the nest. As a more exact guide, Italians suggest around 100g of pasta per person, though the best answer is to perhaps judge yourself - pasta fresca (fresh) doesn’t enlarge during the cooking process in the same manner as pasta secca (dried), so it's fairly simple to gauge the appropriate portion based on your preference.
How do I make fresh, homemade tagliatelle?
We offer a full run-down of the tagliatelle process on our blog - try it out for yourself! It is extremely easy to form your own fresh pasta from scratch, and is a sure-fire way to elevate a recipe. You can also follow along as Roberta makes tagliatelle in the video below.
What should I serve tagliatelle with?
Tagliatelle’s increased surface area, along with their rough and porous texture, make them an ideal shape to contend with chunkier or more robust sauces. Hearty meat ragùs and rustic vegetable sauces pair perfectly with tagliatelle.
Tagliatelle vs Fettuccine:
Tagliatelle fall into the family of what is known as “cutters”, which is a group of pasta defined by their long and ribbon-like shape. We might, then, consider fettuccine somewhat of a fraternal twin - these styles are very similar, though fettuccine is marginally narrower than tagliatelle. While the styles are near-identical, and may be interchanged in certain recipes, the main difference between tagliatelle and fettuccine stems from their heritage. Where tagliatelle are the pride of Emiglia-Romana, fettuccine are more associated with Roman and Tuscan cuisine.
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