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tagliatelle vs pappardelle


marktynernyc
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I've been focusing on northern italian cuisine lately. The meat sauce I've been preparing is a 1/2 and 1/2 of veal and pork with some carrot, onion, garlic, rosemary and just a little bit of pureed tomato. I was using fresh tagliatelle but by chance used fresh pappardelle tonight. Wow - what a difference. The sauce has been great -consistently ( don't use chuck in place of veal - trust me). The pappardelle got coated in the meat sauce/fat/grease - and yet the flavor of the pasta came through underneath. The tagliatelle was more of a complete package if that makes any sense. Has anyone else noticed this difference? Is a cream sauce or a meat sauce better with tagliatelle? Does anyone have a preference and why? If tagliatelle is used for thick sauces like pappardelle -how does one decide. I did feel the pappardelle dish was more hearty compared to the tagliatelle but flavor wise the pappardelle was hands down the winner. Was it because of the thick (wide) pasta that the meal felt more satisfying. I just bought Phaidon's pasta book and have been trying various pasta dishes. Your thoughts?

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Papardelle is my favourite pasta shape and I think I'd use it in favour of tagliatelle in any situation where you had to choose between the two. There seems to be some overlap between them actually - I've seen papardelle which is cut narrow enough to be called tagliatelle in my book. I like the really wide stuff.

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What's the perfect width? About the width of your tongue?

:biggrin: That sounds more like lasagne!

I love pappardelle; the ones I grew up with were always thicker than tagliatelle, so I've always made them that way, too, and they're amazing with game sauces (have you tried making them with about 30% chestnut flour? Exceptional). I confess that I don't care much for tagliatelle, but I think that is because I associate them most with the sauces I like least, and they never seem particularly satisfactory... thin ribbons, meh.

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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I've found that the width difference can make a dramatic impact on the flavor balance of pasta dishes, particularly when using fresh pasta. I think it's probably mostly to do with the ratios of sauce to pasta, but I suppose it could also be something more specific about the width. I make my papardelle so that when cooked it comes to about an inch wide: my tagliatelle is about half that. I personally prefer cream sauces with the tagliatelle and meat sauces with papardelle, in terms of the mouthfeel and flavor ratio. But obviously that is just my personal preference, I couldn't tell you what the "classic" proportions are supposed to be.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Wow: my tongue is ~1" wide. I guess I have a thin tongue. What width do you go for with yours?

ETA: I guess I mean "surface area," not the whole thing splayed out....

Oh, I was thinking splayed out flat, I suppose because it seems easier to measure that way. But even sort of bunched up, my tongue (which my piercer said is on the small side) is wider than most pappardelle I've seen. But I'll leave it at that, I didn't mean to hijack this post!

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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Bite, for me; the sensation of my teeth sinking into and through perfectly cooked pappardelle is incredibly satisfying. When it comes to anything intended to be chewed, I'm a fan of firm/chewy, and tagliatelle don't seem to quite deliver on that front (putting this into perspective, however, I prefer tougher cuts of beef to filet mignon).

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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Can't one adjust bite with either noodle? Thickness, doneness: if the only difference between T&P is width, those variables are, well, variable.

The pappardelle I've bought (and those I make) are a bit thicker, as well as broader than tagliatelle, which seems to give the extra wiggle room necessary to consistently cook them with a more discernible al dente centre. I'm guessing that pasta thickeness varies from brand to brand, and possibly from country to country, even for a given brand, to accommodate national preferences (sort of the way Mars Bars are sweeter in the US than in Denmark).

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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  • 2 weeks later...

This is a fascinating discussion; for one thing, it illustrates how subjective the question of sauce pairing is.

In Bologna, where the tagliatella reached its transparent perfection (and in 1972 was registered with the local Chamber of Commerce as being 8 mm wide cooked), ragù bolognese is practically the obligatory condiment. I would not recommend telling a bolognese you don't like ragù on your tagliatelle.

Pappardelle, of Tuscan origin (but found elsewhere with variations on the name), are thicker and considerably wider, but the width is more variable. They are traditionally served with hearty ragù (though not bolognese because in Bologna, known for its fine products but not for its variety, they eat ragù on tagliatelle). Pappardelle are more likely to be served with game. The original pappardelle were not egg noodles but flour and water, sometimes with a component of fine bran. There is today (now that they are probably made with the exact same ingredients as tagliatelle) no inherent reason why two so similar pastas should not be equally at home with two so similar condiments as the hearty meat sauce of Bologna and, say, a ragù of wild boar or hare, which are commonly served on pappardelle. The only reason why Italians would prefer the standard combinations is tradition, and it's interesting to see perceptive non-Italians practically standing on their heads (tongue width??) to explain or justify their subjective preferences. But it's also enlightening to read why and how shape makes such a difference to taste.

Maureen B. Fant
www.maureenbfant.com

www.elifanttours.com

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