Pasta is a beautiful thing. It’s simple, easy to cook, filling, and so versatile that it’s compatible with nearly any type of sauce. But while just about anyone can boil some spaghetti and open a jar of sauce, a truly great pasta dish can be one of the most delicious foods on earth. These 16 Italian pasta dishes are quite possibly the most delicious ones of all.
While pasta can trace its roots to Asia, and nearly every culture has some sort of noodle to call its own (from spätzle in Germany to pelmeni in Russia), it’s the Italians who’ve truly made pasta a hallmark of their culture. Every region, every town has its own signature styles of pasta, from bigoli in Veneto to strozzapretti in Emilia Romagna, and there are thousands of pasta dishes that can be found on a jaunt through the country.
Thankfully, many of Italy’s greatest hits have found their way across the Atlantic, and have also become popular dishes in America in their own right. The reason? They’re insanely delicious. If your pasta vocabulary starts with spaghetti and meatballs (which doesn’t actually exist in Italy) and ends with fettucine Alfredo, then you should definitely keep reading.
On the following pages you’ll find 16 pasta dishes that every food-lover should know about. Some may be more complex than others, but we guarantee that if you introduce them into your culinary repertoire, your family will thank you. And even if you decide not to make them at home, keep an eye out for them the next time you visit your favorite Italian restaurant.