Whether this is your first date or you’ve been married for decades, a good pasta dish never fails to put a smile on anyone’s face — and luckily, it is also extremely romantic and easy to make.
Tagliatelle is perhaps one of the most underrated pasta shapes, and is the perfect match to many types of popular sauces. To help you host the date of your dreams, we’ve gathered the best tagliatelle recipes that will make your crush think you actually know how to cook. If you’re not sure how much you need, we’ve got you covered. “Italians suggest around 100g of pasta per person,” explain the experts at Pasta Evangelists. “For the perfect al dente bite, we recommend boiling fresh tagliatelle in generously salted water for approximately 3-4 minutes.”
1. Tagliatelle al Ragù alla Bolognese
It doesn’t get more classic than this. The rich, hearty, meaty sauce is perfectly accompanied by the long strands of pasta, which, unlike spaghetti, have the porousness and surface area to truly make your ragù pop. With a nice glass of red wine — may we recommend a full-bodied Nebbiolo? — you’ll have a delicious dinner that’s not only filling but also romantic.
- Cooked tagliatelle
- 300g minced beef
- 150g pancetta
- 50g finely chopped carrot
- 50g finely chopped celery
- 50g finely chopped onion
- 300g tomato passata
- 1.2 litres beef or poultry stock
- 240ml whole milk
- 120ml red wine
- 3 tbsp olive oil (or 50g butter)
- Salt and pepper
- Finely dice the pancetta until it turns into a paste. In a thick pan, sauté it until rendered.
- Add the oil or butter, then the vegetables, sweating until softened (10-15 minutes).
- Place the mince in the pan and cook until browned — there should be no liquid left.
- Pour in the wine and stir, allowing the alcohol to evaporate. Incorporate the passata, stirring.
- Cover the pan and let simmer for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Add stock if the ragù becomes dry.
- Stir in the milk and cook for a few more minutes, then season with salt and pepper.
- Add your cooked tagliatelle and combine well.
- Serve with a healthy dose of parmesan.
2. Wild Mushroom Tagliatelle
There’s nothing like a wintery dish to get you in the mood for Valentine’s, and what’s cosier than mushrooms? Wild funghi are commonplace in Italy, with porcini being a huge favourite. This tagliatelle recipe is a quintessential Italian dish, requiring very few ingredients to produce a delicious meal that would warm your — and your date’s — heart.
- Cooked tagliatelle
- 100g shiitake mushrooms, de-stemmed and thinly sliced
- 60g porcini mushrooms
- 125ml double cream
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 25g grated parmesan
- 10g parsley, chopped
- 30g butter
- ½ cup pasta water
- Salt and pepper
- Soak the porcini mushrooms in a large bowl of warm water for an hour.
- Heat the butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for a minute.
- Put the shiitake mushrooms in and cook for a few more minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove the porcini mushrooms from the water — do so carefully as to not stir up dirt or sand that sunk to the bottom. Dry them gently and add into the sauce along with the cream.
- Bring to a simmer and cook for a few minutes, until the cream is slightly thickened.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Incorporate the pasta, cheese and parsley into the sauce, stirring gently over low heat for about a minute. If necessary, add some of the reserved pasta water.
- Serve topped with the rest of the parmesan.
3. Seafood Tagliatelle
Impressive and delicious, seafood is a huge favourite for dates. The scents of the sea are as amorous as they come, and combined with a light sauce and fresh pasta this dish is truly idyllic. Reminiscent of the azure beaches of the Italian Mediterranean, this recipe calls for a variety of seafood that’s common in the area, from squid to clams. The latter being known as an aphrodisiac, it’s really a sensational choice for any Valentine.
- Semi-cooked tagliatelle
- 400g mussels
- 350g clams
- 400g prawns
- 500g small squid
- 10 cherry tomatoes, diced
- ½ glass of white wine
- A handful of basil
- 2 whole garlic cloves
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- Salt and chilli flakes
- Soak the clams in cold, salted water for at least an hour.
- Scrape the shell of the mussels underwater. If it is necessary to debeard, do it now.
- Set a large frying pan over high heat, and once scalding, add the mussels with a cup of water. Tap and allow them to open.
- Once opened, move the pan away from the heat. Strain the water to keep away any debris and keep the fluid.
- Peel and devein the prawns. Remove the head.
- Clean the squid and cut it into pieces.
- In a clean, hot frying pan, heat up the oil and add garlic and chilli. Add the squid and sauté for a few seconds.
- Add the tomatoes and let them cook for a minute or so, then place the basil and prawns in the pan.
- Pour in the wine and cook for 2-3 minutes, then remove from the heat.
- Scratch the clams under running water and then use the technique utilised for the mussels to open them.
- Incorporate the mussels and clams into the pan, as well as some of the reserved mussel water.
- Add the drained tagliatelle and let the flavours infuse for 3 minutes before turning off the heat and serving.