Fettuccine vs Tagliatelle (What’s The Difference)

From long pasta to short, thin, flat, stuffable, works-great-in-soups, perfect-for-baking, and more – it is easily one of the most versatile ingredients out there.

When we compare two pasta types, the differences are pretty obvious. Their size and shape define how they’ll be cooked and served.

When it comes to Fettuccine vs. Tagliatelle, the differences can seem trivial to you, but your Italian friend might not appreciate it if you end up mistaking one for another.

It is easy to mix them up because they have the same dough and size, and when cooked, they look almost exactly alike!

If your next question is somewhere along the lines of, “why not call them the same name then,” we don’t blame you. In this case, the difference is less about the shape and more about their region of origin and serving style in different cuisines.

Italians are fiercely protective of their heritage, and there are countless discussions among people from different regions of Italy over who uses what pasta to make a better dish.

Continue reading as we discuss Fettuccine vs. Tagliatelle in detail.


What Is Fettuccine?

In Italian, Fettuccine means little ribbons (1). For some reason, Italians fell out of love with this flat wide ribbon-shaped pasta, and Americans decided to make it their own.

Native to Italy’s Lazio region, fettuccine is considered to be one of the oldest known pasta shapes and was introduced as a fresh take on egg pasta. Fettuccine Alfredo or Fettuccine all’Alfredo was born in one of Rome’s trattoria, Piazza Rosa.

A creation of Alfredo di Lelio, this dish is served with creamy Alfredo sauce (2).

When Italians first immigrated to the USA, especially to New York, they brought their assets and started their restaurants, introducing American citizens to the flavors of pizzas and pasta. One of these restaurants introduced their version of Fettuccine Alfredo.

It became all the rage when a few celebrities from Hollywood first sampled it. They were so blown away by the deliciousness of this dish that they couldn’t resist telling their friends about it.

Word spread quickly, and fettuccine found his second home in America. Gradually, the restaurant owners started to hire American staff, and the recipes of original Italian dishes started evolving according to the American palate.

It has since gained popularity worldwide, even though it is still somewhat an undesired pasta shape in most of Italy. Tuscany is one of the few Italian cities to embrace fettuccine openly.

A Tuscan-style fettuccine pasta dish has olive-oil cooked meat and veggies with Parmesan and fettuccine tossed in.

Fettuccine noodles are not a suitable replacement for small-sized pasta in pasta salads and macaroni dishes.


How to Make Fettuccine Pasta

In Italy, fresh fettuccine pasta is made using a traditional recipe with eggs. The American version of this pasta is eggless and is made by mixing semolina durum wheat flour and water and making a dough.

Depending on the chef’s preference, the dough is made in a commercial mixer or with hand kneading. Next, the dough is pushed through a dough extruder till it becomes thin enough. It is then cut into long, wide strips.

When the noodles have dried, they’re packaged for sale (if made for wholesale or retail), boiled for cooking if made at home or in a restaurant for instant consumption.

The American-style dried fettuccine has a stable shelf life.


How to Serve Fettuccine Pasta?

The American version of Alfredo sauce is thick and viscous and has additional raw materials like flour, milk powder, cream, and garlic in place of Alfredo’s original butter and parmesan cheese. This thickness is achieved by simmering the sauce for hours.

A chopped cooked or fried chicken piece or shrimps is served on a bed of boiled and cooked fettuccine. It is advisable not to add a lot of meat or vegetables to this pasta as these noodles cannot hold the heavy and oversized chunks.

Some famous fettuccine dishes are (3):

  • Fettuccine Alfredo
  • Fettuccine alla Boscaiola
  • Fettuccine al pomodoro
  • Fettuccine al sugo di coda
  • Fettuccine con carciofi


What Is Tagliatelle?

In Italian, tagliere means to cut (4). The Tagliatelle pasta refers to the traditional hand-cut, ribbon-like flat noodles.

Native to the Marche and Emilia Romagna territories of Italy, these wide flat noodles are somewhat textured and are primarily used in seafood-based dishes.

In Northern Italy, this pasta is famously paired with Ragú Alla Bolognese (a meat sauce) – the American version of Bolognese sauce (5).


How to Make Tagliatelle Pasta?

The traditional tagliatelle is made by hand-kneading a dough of semolina durum wheat flour and eggs. The rolled-out dough is then pressed into sheets and cut into thin strips.

The commercially prepared tagliatelle is made into dough, rolled, and then cut via machines. This pasta is available at retail stores in pre-packaged forms.


Types of Tagliatelle Pasta

Even though they aren’t directly related to tagliatelle by region, tagliarini and tagliolini are considered two variants of tagliatelle. Both are ribbon-like flat pasta types, a bit narrow but slightly compact than tagliatelle.


How to Cook Tagliatelle Pasta

This egg pasta takes very little time to cook. Start by boiling water and placing the pasta into the pan. Cook for the recommended time and remove as soon as done. It does not require cooking al dente, rinsing with cold water, or cooling before serving.

All fresh pasta, including tagliatelle, are kept soft and springy. Cooking for longer than the recommended time will ruin the texture of the pasta.

Some famous tagliatelle dishes are:

  • Tagliatelle al ragù di strolghino (Emilia Romagna, Parma)
  • Tagliatelle al ragù (Emilia Romagna, Bologna)
  • Tagliatelle con nocchie e pomodorini (Marche, Ancona)
  • Tagliatelle ai fungi (Emilia Romagna, Bologna)
  • Tagliatelle allo scoglio (Marche, Ancona)


Comparison of Fettuccine with Tagliatelle

Let’s compare fettuccine and tagliatelle and see how different and alike they are!


Fettuccine Vs. Tagliatelle: Differences

Both of these are flat, long kinds of pasta made with wheat, flour, and eggs. Here’s how they’re different from each other:

Thickness: Tagliatelle is slightly thinner than fettuccine.

Width: With a quarter of an inch difference, tagliatelle is marginally broader than fettuccine.

Ingredients: Tagliatelle is always made using eggs, while fettuccine can be made with and without eggs.

Regions of Origin: Tagliatelle originated from the Marche and Emilia Romagna regions, while fettuccine has its roots in Tuscany and Lazio.

Availability: Tagliatelle is commonly sold as fresh pasta, while fettuccine is widely available in dried and packaged form at grocery stores.

Country of Popularity: Fettuccine is widely popular in America, while tagliatelle is famous in Italy.

Length: Pasta comes in varying shapes. Fettuccine and tagliatelle are in the long pasta category. Other kinds of pasta with long strands include linguine, spaghetti, and bucatini.


Fettuccine Vs. Tagliatelle: Similarities

Fettuccine and tagliatelle are remarkably similar. It is hard for a layperson (or even a trained chef) to identify one pasta from another if both aren’t present simultaneously.

The reasons behind their similarities are:

In traditional recipes, fettuccine and tagliatelle are hand-rolled with a wooden mattarello rolling pin and then hand-cut.

While rolling and hand cutting, no chef measures the width and thickness of the pasta sheet and noodles. They work on estimates and have their own perception of how thick and wide each pasta should be, leading to both these pasta having virtually the same size.

Most pasta machines have fixed measurements for width and thickness, making these kinds of pasta look the same.

Here are some other similarities:

  • The traditional forms of both kinds of pasta are made fresh using egg dough.
  • Their size is almost identical whether they are machine or hand-made.
  • Both pasta types are sold in freshly made and dried forms.
  • Both pasta types are versatile in terms of pasta sauces that work with them.


Nutritional Value of Tagliatelle

Nutrition facts

Serving Size: 1 serving (128 grams)

Amount Per Serving (6):

  • Calories: 168
  • Total Fat: 1.3 grams
  • Saturated Fat: 0.2 grams
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.6 grams
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 0.2 grams
  • Cholesterol: 42 milligrams
  • Sodium: 7.7 milligrams
  • Potassium: 31 milligrams
  • 1Total Carbohydrates: 32 grams
  • Protein: 6.6 grams
  • Vitamin A: 0.5%
  • Calcium: 0.6%
  • Iron: 8.1%


Nutritional Value of Fettuccine

Nutrition facts

Serving Size (7): 1 serving (140 grams)

  • Calories: 211
  • Total Fat: 0.9 grams
  • Saturated Fat: 0.2 grams
  • Trans Fat: 0 grams
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3 grams
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1 grams
  • Cholesterol: 0 milligrams
  • Sodium: 6.7 milligrams
  • Potassium: 127 milligrams
  • Total Carbohydrates: 43 grams
  • Dietary Fiber: 1.8 grams
  • Sugars: 1.5 grams
  • Protein: 7.4 grams
  • Vitamin A: 0%
  • Vitamin C: 0%
  • Calcium: 1.1%
  • Iron: 10%


Frequently Questions Questions (FAQs)

Can I Substitute Fettuccine for Tagliatelle?

Fettuccine and tagliatelle are long, flat pasta and can be used interchangeably. An appropriate substitute for fettuccine or tagliatelle would be linguine. It is almost as thin as these but not quite flat. Pappardelle is thin but slightly broader than fettuccine and tagliatelle.


How are Linguine and Tagliatelle different from each other?

The major difference between the two is that tagliatelle is an egg dough pasta while linguine is eggless. Secondly, both of them are long flat pasta, but tagliatelle’s noodle is broader than linguine’s. Lastly, compared to tagliatelle, linguine noodles have rounded edges.


What is the difference between Linguine vs Fettuccine vs Tagliatelle?

Linguine, tagliatelle, and fettuccine are all flat-long pasta types shaped like noodles, and they vary in serving and areas of origin. Fettuccine and tagliatelle are used with meat sauces, while linguine is served with pesto, tomato, or fish-based sauces.

  • Fettuccine and tagliatelle are somewhat broader than linguine.
  • Linguine’s noodles are slightly rounded at the edges compared to fettuccine and tagliatelle.
  • Linguini was created in Liguria, and its origin is the north-western side of Italy.


Final Thoughts: Fettuccine Vs. Tagliatelle

Fettuccine and tagliatelle share more similar traits than differences. The fresh batches made with semolina dough and egg look precisely alike. It’s up to your culinary skills and how you create and prepare this pasta and experiment with sauces.

To do complete justice to these long strands of deliciousness, you might want to start planning a trip to Italy and enjoy each pasta type in its area of origin as they were truly meant to be enjoyed by their creators.

Have any interesting recipes to share? Let us know!

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