47-yolk tagliatelle

47-yolk tagliatelle

Best Kitchen Basics
Petrina Tinslay

The inspiration for this comes from superchef Massimo Bottura. I once cooked it for his book launch and named it quite pointedly, ‘no fucking spaghetti in Bologna’. The world’s most famous Italian dish, behind pizza, is spaghetti bolognese. People, do not order that in Italy. It will mark you as a pillock of the highest order. Spaghetti is from the south and Bologna is in the north and the twain never met. In the north they make ragu bolognese and they serve it with a fresh egg pasta called tagliatelle. Tagliatelle al ragu.

Ragu bolognese doesn’t contain tomatoes, garlic or red wine. Some laws are immutable.

My favourite recipe for ragu comes from the classic 1954 book, Italian Food, by Elizabeth David.


Quantity Ingredient
1kg 00 flour
47 eggs
butter, to serve
freshly ground black pepper, to serve
grated parmigiano reggiano, to serve


  1. Sift the flour into a pile on a work surface.
  2. Carefully separate the yolks from the whites and reserve the whites for another use. Avoid any trace of yolk in the whites.
  3. Make a well in the centre of the flour and add the yolks. Use the tips of your fingers to stir the yolks in a circular motion, incorporating the flour as you go to make a crumbly mass. Depending on the size of the eggs, humidity etc., you may need a tablespoon of water or so to achieve this.
  4. Start to knead the mass with the heel of your hand. Knead for some minutes until the dough is smooth and silky and starts to relax.
  5. Divide the dough into four and wrap it in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to relax the dough.
  6. Roll one of the dough quarters out by hand to around 5 mm thick.
  7. Put the dough through the widest setting of your pasta machine. Fold the pasta in half and put it through again. Repeat this five or six times – the dough will start to look even-coloured and textured.
  8. Lower the setting on the pasta machine and put the dough through again. Continue to the lowest setting. The dough will be getting quite long by now.
  9. Dust the dough lightly with flour to stop it from sticking, and leave it to dry a little on the floured work surface. Repeat with the remaining dough.
  10. Run the dough through the cutter to produce the tagliatelle, or roll up the sheet and cut it by hand with a sharp knife into 5 mm widths.
  11. Cook the tagliatelle in lightly salted boiling water for 2–3 minutes, drain and serve with butter, pepper and Parmigiano Reggiano – or your favourite ragu.


  • You can make these tagliatelle in smaller quantities as suits your requirements.
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