Published January 1, 2002. From Cook's Illustrated.
Noodles that are mealy, pasty, or fishy have no place in your favorite casserole.
Egg noodles are not the stars of the pasta world. They lack the panache of penne, the sultriness of spaghetti, the rotundity of rotini. Yet in their role as trusty sidekick to dishes like beef Stroganoff and chicken paprikash, or in a casserole, egg noodles can make or break a meal.
Classic egg noodles are thick, wide ribbons of pasta with a fat content that's slightly higher than that of other kinds of pasta because of their high percentage (up to 20 percent) of eggs. Their firm, sturdy texture is what makes them such an appealing complement to casseroles and heavy soups and stews.
We chose eight widely available brands, cooked them in salted water, and then tasted them tossed in a small amount of canola oil to prevent clumping. We were looking for a clean, slightly buttery flavor and a firm yet yielding texture. Although the top two finished within one point of each other, the rest were unqualified disasters.
The winner was praised for its "clean, neutral" flavor, and the runner-up was a German brand that can be found in the international aisle of some supermarkets. Fans of these noodles described them as "yummy," with a "wheaty" flavor and "firm" texture. Coming in at the bottom was a brand whose ultrathick noodles were described as "a little too hard," with "too little flavor."