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12 Best Tagliatelle Substitutes That are ALMOST Identical

Tagliatelle (pronounced “tal-ya-TELL-eh”) is an egg pasta that is well-known for its elongated, flat ribbon-like structure. Typically a homemade Italian cuisine, it’s made from semolina which is a durum wheat-based flour.

The pasta’s unique name originates from the Italian word, tagliare, meaning “cut”, in which tagliatelle is a translation for “to cut”. The reasoning behind this is that in its creation, tagliatelle is commonly made by rolling the semolina dough into flat sheets and cut into ribbons using a kitchen knife.

Tagliatelle Substitutes

The History behind Tagliatelle Pasta

Tagliatelle is as rich in real and legendary history as it is in Italian cuisines. In legend, it was proclaimed that this pasta was created in 1487 Bentivoglio by Maestro Zafirano for the high-profile wedding of Lucrezia Borgia and the Duke of Ferrara. Zafirano was said to be inspired by the bride’s long golden blonde hair, which coincides with the ribbon shape that the pasta was given. Though this story exists, it is also believed that Tagliatelle was invented even earlier, originating from the Emilia-Romagna region of Bologna in northeastern Italy. 

Due to the Italian Academy of Cuisine, the stretch of the Tagliatelle pasta should be six to seven meters in length before boiling and expand to eight meters after cooking. Since the pasta’s texture is coarse from the semolina flour, once cooked it takes on a porous quality which makes Tagliatelle the perfect foundation for heartier, more savory sauces to be paired with it. 

Tagliatelle in Recipes

Tagliatelle is typically an easy and quick pasta to cook, only needing lightly salted water and boiling until softened. However, the pasta can also be bought in a dried or fresh state, which will alter the amount of time it needs to be cooked. Fresh pasta tends to cook very quickly, only needing five minutes or less depending on thickness. Dried pasta may need a couple more minutes to cook, usually seven to ten. It’s best to keep a keen eye on either kind of pasta to ensure that they don’t overcook past the “al dente” stage, which is when the pasta is firm but soft enough to bite. 

A classic recipe that is traditionally paired with Tagliatelle is Bolognese sauce, which is a slow-cooked meat sauce that also originates from Bologna, Italy. As mentioned before, this pasta lends a great base for a large variety of hearty recipes. Some may contain meats such as chicken, bacon, and pork. Other recipes can also be made vegetarian with mushroom, spinach, zucchini, and other fresh garden vegetables, or even be pescatarian conscious by making a fish-based dish with salmon or tuna.

All of the possible combinations will range in tasting experience due to differences in flavors, temperatures (Tagliatelle can be served hot or cold), and levels of sauciness. A dish can easily be made light and fresh or rich and creamy. If Tagliatelle pasta becomes unavailable to you or you’re in a bind, the substitutes listed below will also be highly complementary to your recipes. 

Tagliatelle Substitutes

1. Fettucine

Fettucine is one of the first chosen as a substitute for Tagliatelle because of its flat and ribbon-like structure. The name Fettucine also literally translates to “ribbons”. It has even been debated that these two kinds of pasta are the same due to their similarities.

However, their differences lie in their thickness and length as it varies according to which region they originated from. Fettucine is traditionally a Roman and Tuscan dish and is classically paired with meat or chicken. A recipe that Fettucine is typically found in is Fettucine Alfredo.

This pasta can also be found fresh or dried and is highly accessible in its dried form at local grocery stores. As for cooking time, it should be ready around the eight to ten-minute mark. If there is an egg allergy or avoidance, Fettucine can also be made with or without egg in its base, which does not affect the resulting taste of the desired dish. 

2. Pappardelle

Pappardelle is also known as a ribbon pasta, which originated from Tuscany, an Italian region. The name “pappare” translates to “to gobble”, which points to its wide and flat structure that makes this pasta easy to quickly consume. This pasta is also an egg and flour-based pasta which pairs greatly with thick and hearty sauces such as carbonara, Alfredo, Bolognese, and meat ragu.

During the winter months or days of feasting, it was more appropriate to prepare Pappardelle for its filling nature. If you’re more akin to seafood cuisine, Pappardelle is a great substitute for Tagliatelle. However, this pasta can also be topped with pork, beef, or even spiced duck. When it comes to its cooking time, it ranges from seven to ten minutes. 

3. Linguine

Linguine is a pasta that is most like Fettuccine in texture, though they differ completely when it comes to shape. It’s more elliptical and wider than the traditional spaghetti pasta, yet not as wide as the Tagliatelle or Fettuccine. The base of the Linguine can be created with a range of different flours such as white flour, whole wheat flour, and potato flour.

Created in the province of Genoa in Italy, it is made to be on the more gentle side and is traditionally topped with tomato, pesto, and fish-based sauces. This pasta is considered to be an appropriate Tagliatelle substitute due to them both being long. Linguine can be used in all Tagliatelle recipes, and its boil time tends to range between nine and thirteen minutes. 

4. Tagliolini or Taglierini

Tagliolini (also known as Tagliernini) is another ribbon-like pasta that is also crafted by using semolina amongst other basic ingredients such as flour and salt. This pasta traditionally originates from Molise and Piedmont in Italy. Though it is similar in thickness and shape to Tagliatelle, it’s better when topped with light or seafood-based sauces.

Tagliolini is a notably quick pasta to cook, as it only tastes about six minutes to reach the al dente state. This pasta is very flexible and can substitute for many Tagliatelle dishes, however, they also tend to be harder to find. 

5. Fusilli

Fusilli, which is also widely known as rotini in the United States, is not flat like Tagliatelle but was created with a corkscrew shape. Also originating from Italy, Fusilli gets its name from the word fuso meaning “spindle”, as it’s traditionally spun with a small rod for its unique shape to take form.

This pasta can also be made plain or whole wheat similar to Linguine, but it can also vary in taste and color with added ingredients. For example, a cook may mix in tomato or beetroot to create a red pasta, cuttlefish ink to create black, or leafy greens such as spinach to make green.

Fusilli is also very agreeable with thicker sauces as it will adhere well to the grooves of the pasta. When it comes to cooking time, however, be aware that it ranges from ten to thirteen minutes, which is considerably longer than what it takes to boil Tagliatelle. 

6. Farfalle

Farfalle is a pasta that is well distinguished due to its bow-tie ribbon shape and tends to be a favorite amongst younger children. It’s also known as the “butterfly pasta”, as the Italian word for butterflies is farfalle. Similar to Tagliatelle in origination from the Emilia-Romagna regions, Farfalle also traditionally pairs greatly with thick white sauces.

It can also vary in color with added ingredients, which will also slightly alter the tasting experience of the pasta. Farfalle tends to have one of the longer cooking times, which can be up to fifteen minutes. Though it takes more time to make a recipe, it’s highly accessible in local grocery stores and can be sorted by plain, wheat, and with or without egg as an ingredient. 

7. Lasagna

Though this may seem like a far-fetched option as a substitute for Tagliatelle, Lasagna closely resembles the thickness and length once the large sheets are sliced thin. This is one of the oldest types of Italian pasta and is traditionally made to be stacked with alternate toppings such as meats, vegetables, tomato sauces, cheeses, and an array of herbs and spices.

This dish is typically cooked in an oven, however, the flat sheets can be boiled and cut into strips that can create a suitable base for a saucier recipe. Similar to the Tagliatelle pasta, Lasagna also originated from Emilia-Romagna and was crafted with durum wheat, which allows them to be very close in taste and texture. This pasta has a longer cooking time which is fifteen minutes and is easy to find at a grocery store.

8. Gemelli

Gemelli is another traditional Italian pasta that has proved to be a great substitute due to its unique rope shape. Its name translates to “twins”, which references how the pasta looks like two separated strands rolled together. In reality, the Gemelli forms when one long strand is folded in half and then twisted to take form.

It has been said that Gemelli is best to be paired with salads, vegetables, and oil-based sauces. Like Fusilli pasta, the shape will be able to hold the desired sauce or accompanying dressing to amplify the tasting experience. Gemelli’s cook time is closer to Tagliatelle pasta, in which it takes around seven to ten minutes to reach the al dente state.

9. Spaghetti

Spaghetti is the most famously consumed pasta in Italian cuisine. It’s traditionally prepared with durum wheat and semolina like Tagliatelle pasta but can also include additional vitamins and minerals. Spaghetti is more cylindrical and can vary in thickness depending on its specific sub-type. For example, spaghettoni which is a thicker version, and capellini which is thinner.

This pasta is a suitable substitute because it can easily be paired with many different recipes, especially those that include meats, vegetables, tomato sauces, and cheeses. Due to Spaghetti varying in size, its cook time will typically range from eight to twelve minutes. Spaghettoni tends to take longer to reach the al dente state, while it’s a much faster process for Capellini.

10. Bucatini

Bucatini, also named perciatelli, is known as a more unique version of the Spaghetti pasta. Also originating from Italy and crafted with durum wheat, Bucatini has a thicker cylindrical shape with a hole in the middle that functions as an area for sauce to be encapsulated in.

This pasta is considered to be an alternative for Tagliatelle as it’s a great choice for recipes that call for thinner sauces such as arrabbiata and carbonara. Bucatini can also be paired with ingredients like eggs, cheese, vegetables, sardines, and anchovies. As for its cooking time, it will take Bucatini around nine minutes to thoroughly boil. 

11. Trenette

Trenette is a flat and slim type of pasta that closely resembles the likeness of Linguine. Originating from the Liguria regions of Italy, it is traditionally paired with a pesto called trenette al pesto, a sauce made from basil leaves that can also be served with green beans and potatoes.

What makes this pasta slightly different from the rest is that it’s crafted from a completely egg-less dough. This allows Trenette to be one of the easier pasta to make fresh and by hand at home. Though it is considerably thinner than Tagliatelle, it is also categorized as a ribbon pasta which makes it a suitable alternative for accompanying sauces.

The sauce recipes tend to be more on the thinner, more vegetarian side by including fewer meats and more vegetables and herbs. Trenette also has a similar cook time, as it will reach the al dente stage between six and nine minutes.

12. Mafaldine

Mafaldine, which is alternatively named reginette, is also notable as a ribbon-shaped pasta. Created in the Naples region of Italy, the Mafaldine pasta was named in exaltation to Princess Mafalda of Savoy (reginette translates to “little queens”). This pasta is also on the flatter side, with wavy edges, and is in closer resemblance to the Linguine and Fettuccine pasta.

The curled edges of the Mafaldine serve to scoop and hold the delicate sauces that it is classically paired with, which will amplify the recipe’s taste in every bite. Though it remains versatile which makes this pasta a suitable substitute for Tagliatelle, it’s recommended to top with gamey sauces, seafood-based sauces, white sauces made from soft cheeses, curry, ginger, or saffron.

Mafaldine generally has a longer cooking time, which can range from nine to twelve minutes to reach the perfect boil. 

Conclusion

Tagliatelle is a great and customizable choice when it comes to pairing with thick sauces due to its size and porous texture. However, traditional Italian cuisine has also invented a plethora of alternatives to this pasta that can provide a savory and delicious experience regardless of what recipe is chosen.

Though all of the options listed above generally come from the same place, they all can differ in some form when it comes to their ingredients, colors, or shapes concerning their sauce functionalities. When looking for a substitute for Tagliatelle, it’s best to start with what the recipe entails as far as ingredients, cook time, and whether you desire to take a trip to the grocery store or to handmake the pasta in the comfort of your kitchen.