Ask Evan: Fettuccine vs. Spaghetti

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askevan_header_2Every Tuesday I answer a question from a Good Food listener.  You can email me a question, leave one on Facebook or add one in the comments section here.  Today’s question is from Jan:

Do you think fettuccini and spaghetti, cooked al dente and without any sauce or seasonings, taste the same or different?

fettuccine !
Traditionally there is a difference between spaghetti and other long round shapes and fettuccine, the wider flat shape: the addition of eggs.  Packaged durum wheat pasta is made in special factories where every element of the production from selection of grain variety to drying is geared to producing a toothsome product which achieves an “al dente” doneness. Fettuccine, on the other hand is usually either bought fresh or made at home with readily available “00” double zero or the Italian version of all-purpose flour and eggs. Eggs are key, for it is the flavor of the eggs and the accompanying difference in texture they create that makes fettuccine the delicate yet strong pasta it is. Good fettuccine, should be delicate in the mouth due to it’s thinness, yet strong enough to still have texture. The egg lends a richer taste which pairs very well with either meat sauces or sauces that have butter, cheese or cream. Spaghetti’s perfect blandness is just the foil you need for more piquant and strong tasting sauces with chiles, garlic, capers, olives, herbs and of course, the acidity of tomatoes.  In my opinion dried durum wheat fettuccine with no eggs is a dried pasta makers conceit and doesn’t really count as fettuccine.