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I can buy industrially produced tagliatelle only in nests¹. Why is it delivered in this form?

Some considerations I made myself or found in a dissatisfying Reddit on the subject are:

  • It might be somehow possible to exploit or preserve this form during preparation, yet I failed to do this.

  • A package of nest tagliatelle has more than six times the volume than a package of the same amount of spaghetti, so I doubt that it’s logistically advantageous.

  • Self-made pasta may be easier to produce this way, as it is easier to dry them, but I doubt that this translates to industrial scales. Also, if it did, why not deliver spaghetti in nests?

  • The price is the same as for other pasta of comparable quality, thus I doubt it’s a marketing gag.

  • It may help measuring the pasta, but then people are not that stupid.

¹ Currently this is the only pasta available at all, because it’s not very famous with hoarders, but that’s another story.

2

To prevent it from adhering together in undercooked bundles when boiling.

For long pasta noodles, the wider the noodle, the more issues one has with them sticking together on the "flat" sides. Pasta that sticks together doesn't cook all the way through (because it's thicker), and at a certain stage of cooking becomes impractical to separate. Even linguine is annoying this way, and if you ever tried to cook fettucine that's sold as straight noodles, you'll find that you need to stand over the pot with a pasta fork to separate the strands.

When wide, flat noodles are sold as a nest or an uneven bundle (wide rice noodles are sold this way) they go into the pot already separated, and adherence between strands is minimal.

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  • So, the stickiness ceases before the nest structure collapses? – Wrzlprmft Mar 24 at 9:58
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    Not completely, but since the noodles aren't arranged in long parallel groups, even where the stick together its in small spots, instead of along 5cm of length. Much easier to separate just by stirring. – FuzzyChef Mar 24 at 21:43
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When making egg pasta at home if it's not used right away it's common to flour slightly and wrap into nests to dry. This is a simple and effective way to do dry your pasta without it hanging over every cupboard door, door knob, your dog, etc. I suspect that manufacturers package this way for marketing reasons to make it feel more authentic.

When I make pasta I generally dry it in batches by hanging for just long enough to not stick then I create nests on parchment paper until more dry. These are also easy to store and pop into a pot of not as much water as previously taught by everyone.

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    My kitchen used to look like Shelob's lair when I made pasta ;) – Tetsujin Mar 22 at 11:54
  • So, the essence of your answer is: “because it’s authentic”? Also, what do you mean by “not as much water as previously taught by everyone”? – Wrzlprmft Mar 22 at 17:04
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    Yes, I believe that manufacturers sometime package things to make them look less industrial. Italian food is all about home and hearth, so packaging pasta in nests make people feel like it's made by hand by an old Italian grandmother who is trapped in a tower like Rapunzel with her only hope of escape to braid long strands of pasta. The water comment is because we were always taught to use a ton of water, but it turns out that not only is that not necessary (and a waste of salt and water and energy), if you're using the water for sauce you're better off using much less so there's more starch. – myklbykl Mar 22 at 19:27
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    I agree “for marketing reasons” is essentially right, but I feel it comes out sounding more cynical than is necessarily fair. A more sympathetic description would be that manufacturers do it because it’s traditional: it’s always been done that way, and so consumers expect it, and would avoid brands that do something else. – PLL Mar 22 at 20:45
  • I didn't mean to sound cynical, but I like your approach. "Traditional" is an optimistic attribute. – myklbykl Mar 22 at 21:09

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