There's something irresistibly calming in working dough by hand, reason enough to get to it if you've ever considered giving fresh homemade pasta a whirl. If so, we suggest starting with those lovely yellow ribbons synonymous with Bologna: tagliatelle.
Tagliatelle is an institution. So much so that in 1972, the Confraternità del Tortellino, in collaboration with the Accademia Italiana della Cucina, registered the original recipe for official Tagliatella di Bologna with the Bologna Chamber of Commerce. The pasta should be served only with Bolognese sauce, but, as we've said before, rules were made to be broken so there's, of course, a bit of wiggle room in regard to the sauce.
Below you'll find the recipe plus some pointers for the pasta-making process.
1. Watch your measurements
According to the said registered recipe, the measurements for the perfect tagliatelle are as follows. When cooked raw, each piece of tagliatelle must be about 7 mm (¾ cm) wide, and when cooked, they should be 8 mm wide. As far as thickness is concerned, this has not been specified, but experts in the sector maintain that it should be between six- to eight-tenths of a millimeter.
2. Get your own wooden pastry board
A countertop isn't sufficient for achieving a perfectly smooth dough. Use a wooden pastry board with a rough surface, which allows you to properly “pull” the dough – a process that's rather difficult on a smooth countertop.
3. Be careful with the egg
The ingredient proportions are crucial, Only one fresh, a room-temperature large egg is needed for every 4 oz. of flour.
4. Be careful with the flour, too!
When selecting flour, you can opt for 100% white flour for a finer consistency or semolina flour which has a coarser texture.
5. No open-air drafts
Pay attention to where you work the dough. Drafty areas can dry out the dough.
The Original Recipe: Tagliatelle Pasta
11 oz. flour 3 fresh large eggs at room temperature semolina, to taste salt
On a wooden pastry board, create a well in the center of the flour and crack the eggs in the well with a pinch of salt. Start beating the eggs with a fork the incorporating the flour – working from the edges towards the center. As soon as the eggs have absorbed some flour, continue kneading by hand for at least 10 minutes, pulling the dough in each direction to make it elastic.
Once the dough is combined, create a ball, cover in plastic wrap, and let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. After resting, spread the dough back onto the pastry board using a rolling pin until the dough has a thickness of about 5 mm (½ cm). You can also use a pasta machine.
Once you have your sheet of dough, divide it into several rectangles. Fold the rectangles into three parts, sprinkling with semolina flour to keep them from sticking to each other. Cut the roll of pastry at regular intervals of 7 mm/¾ cm. Once you've cut dough, separate the tagliatelle by shaking them – they're ready to boil.