THE ITALIAN pastasciutta, literally “dry pasta,” refers to pasta in sauce as opposed to “wet” pasta in broth, and it is the ideal way to use the ribbons of pasta in this chapter. Broader strips such as pappardelle are usually dressed with rich, meaty ragú; thinner strips, such as fettuccine and tagliatelle, are dressed with light creamy sauces, fresh tomato sauce, or simply with butter or extra-virgin olive oil and grated cheese. The thinnest pasta strips such as tagliolini and cappellini are cooked and served in broth.

Tagliatelle, according to legend, was invented in 1501 when Zaffirino, court cook of Giovanni II Bentivoglio, served them to Lucrezia Borgia when he was inspired by her blonde tresses. Today, a regulation-size ...

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