Making Tagliatelle Pasta
Tagliatelle pasta is but one of many different types of Italian pasta, the type often determined by the shape or cut of the pasta, by the region it comes from, and at times by the flavor or ingredients. Americans are generally not terribly familiar with tagliatelle pasta; in fact most people are familiar with only two or three different types at most.
Similar To Fettuccine - The closest thing to tagliatelle pasta that people are familiar with is probably fettuccine. In fact, in the absence of tagliatelle pasta, fettuccine is usually the best substitute, though it is somewhat less coarse in texture.
Tagliatelle pasta's origin is in the Emilia-Romanga region of Italy. It consists of long flat ribbons which are typically between a quarter and a third of an inch in width. The pasta can be made either with or without eggs. There is a variety of tagliatelle, called tagliolini, which is more cylindrical than flat, but otherwise not much different. Tagliatelle is usually served with a thick sauce with meat dishes such as beef, veal, and pork.
You can make your own tagliatelle pasta if you have the time and patience, and are prepared to do it several times before getting it exactly right. Having a little Italian blood, or at least Italian temperament can be helpful. If you've ever watch an amateur attempt to make noodles, you can get some idea of the frustration involved in doing it right, but once mastered, making tagliatelle becomes a snap.
What To Look For - If you don't feel up to the challenge, do what most do and get your tagliatelle at the supermarket. Make certain that the pasta is a creamy yellow color and somewhat translucent, which should ensure that it is not past its prime. The only additional coloring that might be present would be that due to a flavoring agent that may have been added. If eggs have been used, the color of the pasta will usually be a brighter yellow rather than a creamy yellow.
When properly prepared, tagliatelle pasta will not become sticky while being cooked or when being chewed, nor should it clump up. If this occurs, it is eater because the pasta has been incorrectly prepared, or because it was of poor quality to begin with. Usually, brand name pasta is of high quality, and tagliatelle pasta should be no exception.
It may take some looking, but one can often find tagliatelle pasta in several flavors as various spices, herbs, or vegetables, spinach being quite common, are sometimes added to pasta when it is being produced.
Making Your Own Tagliatelle - Should you decide to try making tagliatelle on your own, and you're encouraged to do so, it would pay to view a video on the subject or at least view a series of images showing the steps so you know what you're getting into. The ingredients are fairly simple. For each serving, use one egg and 3 1/2 oz of white flour. That said, things tend to start getting difficult.
A Three Step Process:
Work The Dough - The flour is spread out on a flat surface with the eggs (broken) poured in the center. Starting at the center, the mixture is whisked with a fork, working outwards. When this is done, the hands come into play, working the dough. This needs to be done perfectly and can take 10 to 15 minutes.
Roll It Flat - The dough is then rolled flat, rolling in several directions, making sure the thickness of the flat dough is uniform. This operation takes some time and also some practice to get it right.
Let Dry And Cut The Strips - Let the pasta dry after rolling into the shape of an "S", another tricky step. Then with a sharp knife, and a steady hand, start cutting the 1/4" strips of pasta. If when you're finished, what you have looks like tagliatelle pasta - Congratulations!