Cipriani egg pasta
The best egg pasta outside Bologna
I loved a recent news story about the mayor of Bologna, who was incensed that visitors were only coming to his town for a dish that doesn’t exist - Spaghetti Bolognese. So annoyed was he that he called this fake news, pointing out that the meat sauce in Italy is, in fact, called Ragú, and it is served with egg tagliatelle. He quite rightly wants his town to be known for what it is famous for - its egg pasta: tortellini; tagliatelle and lasagne.
And the best egg pasta you can buy outside Bologna? Cipriani pasta – it has a silken texture not matched by any supermarket own brand of fresh pasta. It is a shame that many supermarkets who used to stock it, have now dropped it in favour of their own inferior product, but happily it is still available online and in many good Italian shops.
This brings us to another Italian – Arrigo Cipriani – whose family founded Harry’s Bar in Venice, as I talked about in July. He too was determined we enjoy egg pasta. He thought up a machine which allows the pasta to be worked more than 80 times, simulating the manual labour of a rolling pin, to obtain an extremely thin elastic pasta after rolling. The pasta is made from specially selected ingredients and uses 7 eggs for each kilo of durum wheat flour. After rolling, it is dried slowly – for up to 14 hours. All this means that just 250g of the pasta can serve 4-5 portions, it cooks in 2-4 minutes, but it can be kept in your store cupboard as it lasts for 24 months.
Cipriani make tagliolini (thin ribbons of pasta); tagliarelle (their version of tagliatelle); pappardelle (wider ribbons) and tagliardi (little squares) in their Classica range. They also make spinach pasta in the classic range, and a range called Delicata which is a lighter pasta made without the egg yolk. But I would stick with the original Classica range. This is the pasta served in Harry’s Bar.
Not only is egg pasta a perfect match for meat sauces as the mayor pointed out, but it is also equally well matched to delicate cream sauces. This is because it is super absorbent, soaking up all the flavours of sauces such as Alfredo (the Roman dish with butter and Parmesan); or mushroom; or gorgonzola; or primavera (with spring vegetables: broad beans, peas, asparagus). Or try it with that most summery of pastas even in winter – pesto. And if you have treated yourself to a new pasta pan and sauté pan, which I featured in May and June, then what better way to use them than with the best egg pasta.
A silken texture
Tagliarelle, pappardelle, tagliolini (as well as spinach pasta)
£6.95 each, 250g packet
Or buy a mixed case of 6 tagliarelle and 6 tagliolini for £76.45
0800 783 3397
Availability and price as at 30th September 2019