It is well known that when we talk about pasta we are talking about Italy. And when we talk about egg pasta we mean central and northern Italy, because this is where the Wheat used for this paste. In the south, however, it has always been cultivated durum wheatnecessary to prepare fresh semolina and water pasta, typical of the southern regions.
Of all the varieties of egg pasta, Tagliatelle à la Emiliana They are undoubtedly the most typical and representative cut of the Italian tradition.
It is an ancient pasta that today is widespread in all corners of Italy. The name derives from the fact that tagliatelle is “cut into small strips” from a properly flattened, dried and rolled roll of egg pasta.
What sets tagliatelle apart from other cuts of pasta are the dimensions, that is, the thickness and width of the pasta. Instead, the quality of the latter is the same for almost all varieties of egg pasta.
So we are going to give the recipe for tagliatelle all’Emiliana. Below we explain point by point the important aspects to know and the ingredients used. In other words, the points to know to avoid common mistakes that sometimes prevent you from making perfect egg pasta
- 500 g soft wheat flour
- 5 whole eggs
- a pinch of salt
- Make a fountain on a pastry board, break the eggs in the center, add a pinch of salt and begin to knead with your fingers, gradually incorporating the flour. Work the dough until you get a smooth, homogeneous, slightly elastic dough.
- Wrap the dough in a cloth (or in kitchen film) and let it rest for about an hour. Better 2-3 hours
- Stretch the dough with a rolling pin until you get a very thin sheet: about 1.5 millimeters. If, on the other hand, you use the mixer, introduce the dough several times, gradually reducing the thickness to the desired millimeter and a half.
- Let the dough dry for 15-20 minutes, no more: it should be dry and a little rough, but not dry, so that it can be rolled without breaking.
- Wrap the dough on itself, being careful not to crush the roll: you risk sticking. Then, with a smooth-blade knife, cut 5-millimeter strips (the tagliatelle, in fact), immediately undoing them. While waiting to cook them, let them rest spread out on lightly floured trays.
Egg pasta was born in northern Italy because it has always been grown mainly in those lands Wheat. Which is low in gluten (unlike the durum wheat grown in the South, which is rich in it) and therefore, if mixed with just water, has little resistance to cooking. In fact, the starch in soft wheat, which does not bind properly to the few gluten fibers, tends to dissolve in hot water, making the pasta soft and sticky.
However, for centuries it has been discovered that by mixing eggs and flour, doughs are obtained that have great resistance to cooking and also exceptional elasticity. This last characteristic allows stretching very fine doughs, to levels unthinkable for doughs made only with durum wheat flour (semolina) and water.
This is the reason why soft wheat flour is used to obtain excellent egg pasta.
Actually, mixed flours can also be used to obtain certain types of pasta, but it is a discussion that goes beyond this post. I our case the best flour is white type 0 . The most refined (type 00) is preferable for desserts. Instead, type 1 can be used to obtain a slightly rustic pasta, while type 2 gives a decidedly rustic pasta. Whole wheat flour should be avoided.
Attention: here we are talking exclusively about egg pasta cool. For the production of dried pasta, Italian law (Presidential Decree no. 187/2001) requires that only semolina be used, that is, durum wheat flour. And this goes for all dry pasta, including egg pasta.
The key element to make a lasting pasta is the lecithin. It is an emulsifying substance (that is, it manages to bind naturally unmixable substances) of which the egg yolk is rich. And only the egg yolk: the albumen does not have.
It turns out that to make a good egg pasta, the yolk is essential, but the albumin is not necessary.
In fact, some traditional pastas are made without egg white, such as the i tajarina kind of tagliolini typical of Piedmont.
The more egg yolks you use, the more elastic and workable the paste will be, as well as being more colorful and flavorful than the egg.
However, if you only use yolks, you have to put a lot more, because you still have to somehow moisten the paste. So, without going into hypotheses that would take us too far (adding liquids), here it is enough to know that you can play with the egg yolks. For example, the most traditional recipes of the tajarin They came to recommend 20 yolks per half kilo of flour [avete letto bene: venti tuorli per 500 g di farina]. Instead, current recipes call for 8 yolks + 2 whole eggs. But there are some that (always for half a kg of flour) only require 4 yolks + 2 whole eggs.
A good proportion between flour and eggs therefore makes it possible to obtain an elastic and dry egg pasta, as well as being potentially resistant to cooking. However, the latter is not obvious, because lecithin binds well to gluten, which is, however, very little in common wheat flour.
Therefore, it is necessary to ensure that the few links between the gluten in the flour and the lecithin in the yolk are created with molecular networks of considerable strength. The stronger these ties are, the better the end result will be.
This objective is achieved in two ways:
1. through an energetic manipulation of the mass
2. leaving the gluten and lecithin all the time necessary for them to interact in the best way.
In other words, the waiting times between one process and another are very important to obtain a suitably elastic and compact dough.
Our grandmothers let the dough rest for at least 2-3 hours. And even better results are obtained by kneading overnight and rolling out the dough the next morning. In this case, however, the paste must be placed in the refrigerator, wrapped in a cloth and stored in a tightly closed container, possibly airtight.
The size of the different egg pastas depends on several factors. First of all, the final destination of the pasta, which obviously differs in relation to the type of seasoning it should receive. After whether it is long or short pasta, whether it is stuffed pasta or not.
The traditional “right size” for the various forms of egg pasta was born from the optimization of these needs.
Next we give the dimensions considered traditional. Attention, because we are talking about the size of raw pasta.
This is important, because usually outside the context of recipes, reference is made to the size of the pasta that will fit on the plate, that is, cooked. Therefore, it is easy to find written that, for example, the tagliatelle must have a width of 8 mm. But we are talking about the cut necessary to turn raw pasta into tagliatelle. And so the size that we indicate to cut the pasta is adequate, that is, 5 mm which, after cooking, will be about 8.
tagliolini: thickness from 1 to 1.2 mm, width from 1.5 to 2.5 mm
Noodles: thickness from 1 to 1.2 mm, width from 3.5 to 5 mm
fettuccine: thickness from 1.2 to 1.5 mm, width from 7 to 8 mm
wide noodles: thickness from 1.2 to 1.5 mm, width from 9 to 10 mm
pappardelle: thickness from 1.5 to 1.7 mm, width from 11 to 12 mm
Plenty of salted water is needed for cooking: at least one liter per 100 g of pasta, with the addition of 7 g of salt (equivalent to a heaping teaspoon of coarse salt). In the case of egg pasta, it is a good practice to add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the water.
Bring the water to a boil, add the tagliatelle and mix slowly with a large fork until well dissolved. They must then be drained as soon as they rise to the surface and tend to “stay”: it is said that it usually takes 4-6 minutes, but the reality is that the time depends on the quality of the flour. To drain them, it is best to turn off the heat (leaving a glass of hot cooking water just in case) and stop cooking by pouring a large glass of cold water. They are then drained and immediately seasoned in a tureen that is also kept warm.
[testi di Valter Cirillo]
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