One of the most classic forms of pasta only came about in the 15th century, starting with lasagna: the strip. And it was the famous chef Maestro Martino, author of Libro de Arte Coquinaria (The Art of Cooking), who proposed what was probably the first description of tagliatelle, presented as pasta “as wide as the size of your little finger” with “the shape of thin strips or strings“.
Although the creation of this shape of pasta has not been officially granted to Emilia-Romagna, Bologna has nevertheless established itself over the centuries as the capital of tagliatelle. Official measurements of Bolognese tagliatelle were adopted in 1972, recognised by the Italian Academy of Cuisine: at the time of cutting (before cooking), the width must be 6.5-7 mm, and 8 mm once the pasta has been cooked.
Conventionally made with eggs, tagliatelle were also made without eggs in the countryside, with an unrefined semolina. Farming traditions have also led to the use of plants mixed into the dough, such as nettles or chard; both are variants of the classic tagliatelle verdi made with spinach.
Thanks to its medium size, tagliatelle are perfect with any type of sauce, from the lightest to the densest, whether with fish, meat or vegetables. In Emilia-Romagna tagliatelle are traditionally prepared with a mixed meat sauce, the famous recipe “alla bolognese”.