The difference between pasta and egg noodles?

In terms of recipe preparation, was is the different between standard pasta (flour and eggs, some times oil) and egg noodles? And to clarify, I’m interested in the recipe, not the shape.

I’ve googled this and the best guess I can come up with is that while pasta is made with flour and WHOLE eggs; egg noodles are made with flour and egg YOLKS, using water to add enough moisture.

Is this correct?

Actually, most dry pasta is made without any eggs at all. “Egg noodles”, at least in my mind, refers to any pasta made with whole eggs or egg yolks, as opposed to dry pasta made only with durham wheat.

It’s funny you ask this, because our family had a huge debate over this over Thanksgiving.

As far as we could tell, it went like this:

Fresh pasta: eggs
Dried pasta: water
Egg noodles: eggs

Very strange.

AFAIK, ordinary pasta is made from durum wheat and water. Nothing else.


OK, that’s organic poncey pasta, so it contains “spring water” :rolleyes: but ordinary stuff is also egg-free.

As Henry Hill says in Goodfellas:

Granted, it’s not the best citation, but it goes to show they’re definitely different.

I managed to find the difference so I figured I’d post it for posterity’s sake:

When flour (preferably duram wheat) is mixed with egg (solids) it is termed a noodle, and under Canadian law a noodle must contain a certain level of egg solid (sorry but I don’t have a specific number). It can contain oil but doesn’t need to.

When flour is mixed with water (and some times oil) it is termed macaroni (sp?). This can contain eggs, but the traditional South Italian tradition is just flour and water.

Macaroni is pasta formed into tubes.

Pasta does not contain egg. You can put egg in if you like but that is not normal pasta.

My world has shattered!

I’m not so sure about that.

Do you consider ravioli and lasagna sheets pasta? Because I’ve never seen a recipe for either that does not contain eggs. Egg pasta in general, whether cut as fettuccine, tagliatelle, or pappardelle, seems to be very common when prepared fresh.

I’m not buying your statement that egg in pasta dough is not normal, because it seems normal to me—even the cookbooks I bought in Italy had recipes involving eggs for basic pasta dough. Perhaps it’s a regional difference, I don’t know.

Agreed. Pasta has flour, water, and salt. Egg in pasta, indeed! My grandma would throw a fit. Egg noodles are only fit for soup.

This is odd, as I’ve been taught by an Italian neighbor to put eggs in certain kinds of fresh pasta, especially lasagne. Once again, either it’s regional, or it’s an American thing—although like I said, the cookbook I got from Italy has eggs in one of its two basic pasta recipes. My curiosity is especially piqued now.

To be honest, I’m not sure how my grandma makes lasagne. It could very well have egg in it. I suppose that lasagne is technically pasta, but it certainly isn’t the first thing that comes to mind under that category, at least in my experience. For me, growing up, pasta was always non-egg noodles, usually spaghetti or ziti, with some sort of sauce on them, usually sugo (always tomato) or olive oil-with-stuff. It may be a regional thing – my grandmother was Sicilian.

Well, I have heard it said that flour+water equals pasta, and flour+eggs equals noodles. But that seems a gross oversimplification to me. I can’t seem to find any really definitive texts lying around.

My comment was in relation to the previous post # 6: "When flour is mixed with water (and some times oil) it is termed macaroni (sp?). "

Pasta may have other things beside flour and water - e.g. spinach, squid ink and tomato - but that is not plain, old, standard pasta.

So, technically, noodle is a subset of pasta. That is, they’re both pastes, but pasta is a catch-all term, while noodle is a pasta with eggs. Notice, also, that even though most people call them spaghetti noodles, they’re technically pasta, and not noodles at all.

Never go in against a Sicilian when PASTA is on the line!

Sorry. Couldn’t resist.

Most pasta sold in the U.S., at least, is labelled in small print “Enriched Macaroni Product” which implies to me that legally, pasta IS all macaroni, whatever the shape.

I’d just like to say that I have nothing to add to this thread. However, I’m enjoying learning about my name.

according to

Legend has it that upon being served a dish of this food, an early Italian sovereign exclaimed “Ma caroni! " meaning “how very dear.” This semolina-and-water PASTA does not traditionally contain eggs. Most macaronis are tube-shape, **but there are other forms including shells, twists and ribbons. ** Among the best-known tube shapes are: elbow (a short, curved tube); ditalini (tiny, very short tubes); mostaccioli (large, 2-inch-long tubes cut on the diagonal, with a ridged or plain surface); penne (large, straight tubes cut on the diagonal); rigatoni (short, grooved tubes); and ziti (long, thin tubes). Most macaronis almost double in size during cooking. The Italian spelling of the word is maccheroni .”

so other shaped macaroni is allowed. Still doesn’t clear up definitions

re: “My grandmother’s recipe includes eggs” and “Every pasta recipe I have includes eggs” etc.

Yes, fresh pasta typically includes eggs. But normal, store-bought dried pasta does not include eggs. Check the ingredients.

I think the confusion is that there’s so many different types of pasta, all slightly different. Fresh pasta - the stuff you make at home or shudder buy in packages at the grocery store’s deli case includes eggs. Dried egg pasta includes eggs. But plain ol’ dried pasta - the dry spaghetti, fettucine, linguine that you buy & boil - does not include eggs.

And don’t ask me what those crazy Canucks do. They know enough to call Kraft Dinner “Kraft Dinner” instead of “Macaroni and Cheese”, but then again, they all seem to like Tim Horton’s coffee. You can’t rely on 'em for anything, and obviously their pasta naming conventions are suspect.

So, please can I ask whether maccheroni is the Italian for “pasta no matter what the shape”? The resaon is that an American friend seems to call all pasta “macaroni”, whereas I call “pasta” of whatever shape “pasta” and what I (UK) call “macaroni” is what she calls" elbows". It was quite worrying when I first heard about the elbows - visions of cannibalism. :eek:

I would like to learn the correct term, or nearest possible in English, so as to dispel one bit of my ignorance.