It's hard not to meet it in Bologna. It's around you in every corner, in every season.
Loved by kids, perfect with ragù, but also great for vegetarians.
It's time to learn everything about tagliatelle.
8mm of perfection
Like many Italian foods, a single detail could change everything.
Tagliatelle must be 8mm thick.
Not one more.
The exact proportion of 1/12270 of Asinelli's tower.
That's what the official recipe, lodged at the Chamber of Commerce in 1972, says.
Otherwise we call them tagliolini and serve with a fish sauce, or pappardelle, perfect with boar or porcini mushrooms.
Here in Bologna, we take this pretty seriously.
There is even an association called the Apostle of Tagliatella that celebrates 'her countess, Tagliatella' and the pasta makers and restaurants that keep the tradition alive. But also blame the ones who cross the line.
So embrace a fork, a ruler but...what are you doing with that knife?
Put that knife away, killer
I tell you a secret.
I'm terrible with chopsticks. A real disaster.
But I put all my efforts to use them and never ask for a fork in an Asian restaurant.
In Italy we never use other tools but a fork to eat pasta.
Spoons are for soups, knives for steaks.
For long format pasta like spaghetti or tagliatelle you only need 3 tools:
- a fork
- some practice
- a lot of patience
None will look weird if you take some time to eat your hot dish of tagliatelle. Neither if your precious nest collapses, just before you're about to devour it. It's fine.
If instead, you start to cut tagliatelle into small pieces with a knife, well it's fine too, but it doesn't look very Italian.
Don't panic, take your time, try with a small amount of pasta and look around. There's always a master around you to copy.
The right price of tagliatelle
In Bologna you can find tagliatelle at every corner.
But where do you find the best?
A must suggestion, always valid in Italy, is that a waiter is waiting for you at the door and ask you to come in, you should run away.
Good restaurants don't need a waiter pushing you in.
I'm sure you're looking for the homemade tagliatelle, made with mattarello.
But how to know where to go?
Price for sure it's an alert.
If you pay less than 12€ you can't expect they've been touched by the hands of a sfoglina.
So how you can do?
Well, at first you can read my list of restaurants to find the best tagliatelle in Bologna.
Or even better you can learn to make tagliatelle, and come home with the best souvenir: a new skill.
Tagliatelle in rainbow
Yellow, green, pink or black.
No, I'm not talking about that horrible pack of coloured pasta you can find in some windows in Florence, or even in Mercato di Mezzo.
Tagliatelle is made of 1 egg for 100g of 00 flour, but sometimes we like to change.
Then we add spinach or nettle to make them lighter and perfect with mushrooms. Or brown with chestnut flour or cocoa for a sweeter taste. And even pink with beetroot, to serve with asparagus or just butter and Parmigiano.
Every colour a flavour.
Every flavour a new pasta to discover.
Not only as a pasta
Surprise, surprise: tagliatelle in Bologna is not only pasta.
During our food tour in Bologna, between ragù and mortadella, we usually meet this unusual cake that makes people speechless.
Who would ever put pasta on a cake???
Here we are, Bolognesi. Caramelized tagliatelle, a little bit thinner than 8mm, with orange juice on a marzipan basis with almonds. And liquor of course.
If you're looking for one of the best desserts of Bologna and a surprising food souvenir to take home, this is the one.
[photos: Mike Knell, Markus Reinhardt]