Navigating the pasta aisle, you might stumble upon bags labeled “egg noodles” nestled amongst familiar pastas. While seeming similar, there are distinct characteristics that differentiate them.
The primary difference is their composition. True to their name, egg noodles must contain eggs. Conversely, many dried pasta varieties in stores don’t incorporate eggs in their ingredient list.
Upon cooking, egg noodles and pasta manifest different textures. While they can be used interchangeably in dishes, there are optimal pairings for each. Traditional pasta generally fares better with robust sauces due to its durability, whereas the softer constitution of egg noodles pairs well with milder dressings.
Venturing into homemade pasta, you’ll discover some recipes that integrate eggs. However, at its core, pasta necessitates just durum wheat semolina flour and water. When combined aptly, they yield the desired dough that’s boiled to become pasta. Egg noodles require a mix of flour, eggs, salt, and water.
Many savor pasta cooked “al dente” — firm to the bite, resulting in a hearty, less mushy texture. This style also aids in the pasta sustaining heavier sauces such as Bolognese. Contrastingly, egg noodles, once fully cooked, embody a soft, springy texture. This makes them ideal candidates for lighter sauces, ensuring the noodles aren’t overshadowed.
Egg noodles shine in dishes like chicken noodle soup due to their softer, easy-to-eat nature — a blessing when one’s ill. They’re also a staple in ramen (as long strands), the Ashkenazi dish lokshen kugel, and Swabian Spätzle — twisted noodles often served with sauce or gravy.
Pasta, with its global appeal, is closely associated with Italian culinary traditions, especially in the U.S. Staples include spaghetti, cacio e pepe, and baked ziti. Its adaptable flavor ensures it complements dishes, letting sauces and other ingredients be the stars.
When selecting between egg noodles and pasta, consider your dish. For soupy delights, egg noodles could be apt. For dishes with a heartier sauce, opt for pasta.
Understanding the nuances between egg noodles and pasta can elevate your culinary endeavors, ensuring every dish is a delectable experience.