Where to Eat in Italy Tradition and Elegance

New York Times: Discover the Best Italian Pasta Dishes and the 25 Places to Eat Them

Alessandra Meldolesi
copertina pasta nyt

The New York Times gathered a jury of five experts to select the best Italian pasta dishes. Here are the chosen ones, ranging from trattorias to three-star restaurants, from the north to the south, including the islands.

On the cover, the amatriciana from Santo Palato, credits: Andrea Di Lorenzo

What are the 25 pasta dishes that no one can miss in Italy? The question was posed by The New York Times, which gathered a jury for a two-hour video call, including chefs Davide Palluda and Stefano Secchi, and food writers Emiko Davies, Karima Moyer-Nocchi, and Roberta Corradin. Each juror was asked to list ten pasta dishes, which were then condensed and reduced, to be paired with wines chosen by the restaurant and reviewed by sommelier Marco Lami, Emiko Davies' husband. The dishes could be a recipe, a pasta shape, a type of pasta, or a sauce, often with a precise origin.

agnolotti del plin madonna della neve ok
@Madonna della Neve

Agnolotti del plin, Ristorante Madonna Della Neve, Cessole

This historic trattoria, which opened in 1952 and is still run by the same family, serves authentic agnolotti filled with veal, pork, and rabbit, either served plain or with butter and sage, sometimes with lemon, jus, or broth with a splash of Barbera. It is paired with Isolabella della Croce's Maria Teresa Barbera d'Asti 2022.

Busiate del Duomo, Ragusa Ibla

Ciccio Sultano calls this Trapani pasta "matriarchal," traditionally rolled around knitting needles; the typical condiment is almond pesto from Trapani, but he currently serves it with anchovies, mackerel, fennel, and saffron, plus grated tuna heart. Previously, he kneaded it with rose water and served it with red shrimp from Mazara. It is paired with Pietradolce Archineri Etna Bianco 2018.

Cacio e pepe, Roscioli Salumeria con Cucina, Rome

A simple but tricky recipe, which Roscioli makes by focusing on the ingredients: hand-picked Pecorino cheese, if mature tempered with a bit of Parmigiano, and a special mix of peppers. It is paired with Damiano Ciolli Podere Ciriolino's Cesanese di Olevano 2022.

copertina carbonara dandini
Carbonara of The Arcangelo-Credits Alberto Blasetti

Carbonara, Ristorante l’Arcangelo, Rome

Arcangelo Dandini's interpretation is authentic and stands out for its silky sauce, obtained from a mix of Roman Pecorino and smoked Sardinian Pecorino, enveloping the rigatoni, counted by the chef for each plate. It is paired with Tenute Filippi Ipazia 2022.

The crunchy part of the lasagna, from Francescana at Maria Luigia, San Damaso

One of Massimo Bottura's most famous icons is currently served in the classic menu at Casa Maria Luigia. It's a tribute to Italianity, made of overcooked spaghetti reduced down to a cream, whipped and served with a top-secret ragù to awaken nostalgic childhood emotions. It is paired with Comte Lafond Sancerre 2022.

the crunchy part of lasagna francescana at maria luigia
The Crunchy Part of the Lasagna- Casa Maria Luigia

Culurgiones, Hotel Ristorante Ispinigoli, Dorgali

Originally from Ogliastra, this recipe has spread throughout Sardinia. Filled with potatoes, cheese, and mint, with a distinctive shape, a spoonful of tomato sauce, and a sprinkle of Pecorino on each piece. It is paired with Cantina Tani Taerra's Vermentino di Gallura 2022.

Mezzanelli alla genovese by Coco Loco, Napoli

Chef patron Diego Nuzzo cooks the sauce like the monsù, with lard, onions, beef, and pork, for 4-5 hours and serves it with mezzanelli. It is paired with Quintodecimo Terra d’Eclano's Irpinia Aglianico 2015.

Pasta minestra with shellfish, La Torre del Saracino, Vico Equense

This recipe is a signature dish of Gennaro Esposito, inspired by the soup he ate as a child, made with less prized fish that remained unsold at the market. However, in this case, he uses no less than 700g of some of the best fish per person, presses it to extract the juices, and uses 15 types of dry pasta, so each bite is different. It is paired with Mastroberardino's Stilema Fiano di Avellino 2015.

minestra di pasta gennaro esposito
@Torre Del Saracino

Broccoli Orecchiette, Ricci Osteria, Milano.

Antonella Ricci and Vinod Sookar prepare the recipe without extravagance: broccoli, oil, garlic, anchovies, chili, and a few confit tomatoes, before adding a sprinkle of crispy bread. It is paired with Negroamaro Agricola Felline.

Paccheri alla Vittorio from Da Vittorio, Brusaporto

A staple of the three-star restaurant, the paccheri stand out for their incredibly velvety sauce and tableside service, concluding the second phase of risotto-style cooking. It is paired with Vie di Romans Chardonnay 2020.

Paccheri alla vittorioBeatrice Pilotto
Paccheri alla Vittorio @Beatrice Pilotto

Pasta with sardines, Trattoria Ferro di Cavallo, Palermo

In the city center, this trattoria, which opened in 1944, retains the irresistible rusticity of the recipe. Paired with Tasca d’Almerita's Regaleali Bianco 2022.

Pizzoccheri, Quattro Stagioni, Mantello

A flagship dish of the restaurant at the La Fiorida agriturismo, which is equipped with vegetable gardens and a dairy. Only the buckwheat flour is sourced externally, while the vegetables may vary. It is paired with Nino Negri's Inferno Valtellina Superiore 2019.

Etruscan Soup, Maggese, San Miniato

At his vegetarian restaurant, Fabrizio Marino has always served Etruscan soup, which is always sold out. It consists of foraged and cultivated vegetables in a local bean sauce, plus four pieces of pasta with variable fillings. Paired with Il Borghetto Montigiano's Sangiovese 2019.

zuppa etrusca maggese
Maggese's Etruscan Soup

Ravioli with Ricotta, Hazelnuts and Burnt Garlic, Oasis Sapori Antichi, Vallesaccarda

A dish present since its opening in 1988, born from a mistake by the founder Giuseppina Fischetti, who forgot a sauce on the stove, the dish is currently interpreted by the children and grandchildren with local ingredients and homemade oil. Paired with Boccella Rosa's Taurasi Aglianico 2015.

Spaghetti all’assassina, Al Sorso Preferito, Bari

These spaghetti, which have recently become famous, were a well-kept secret of Bari. They were invented by Pierino Lonigro, owner of Al Sorso Preferito, who in the 1960s tried to cook the pasta in spicy tomato sauce until crispy. The secret? A heavy iron pan, used only for this. Paired with Paololeo Alture's Susumaniello 2020.

amatriciana santo palato ph Andrea Di Lorenzo
Sarah Cicolini's Amatriciana @Andrea Di Lorenzo

Spaghettone all’amatriciana, Santo Palato, Rome

Sarah Cicolini uses Lagano pasta and Apulian cherry tomatoes for this recipe, which is enriched by local guanciale and pecorino from small local artisans. Recommended pairing: Cantina Ribelà's Saittole 2020.

Pumpkin Tortelli, Dal Pescatore Santini, Runate

An evergreen of the Santini family's three-star restaurant, perfect in both balance and texture. Paired with Ca’ del Bosco's Annamaria Clementi Franciacorta 2015.

tortelli di zucca dal pescatore
@Dal Pescatore

Strangozzi, Enoteca L’Alchimista, Montefalco

Chef patron Patrizia Moretti prepares the strangozzi traditionally, with only water and flour, resulting in a slightly chewy outcome, and dresses them with seasonal vegetables, often locally sourced, and truffle. Paired with Trebbiano Spoletino of Tenuta Bellafonte.

Tagliolino Cacio and Butter, Cibrèo Caffè, Florence

A classic white pasta, specifically thin tagliolini with a rich color thanks to the addition of carrot pulp, with a Parmigiano, milk, and butter fondue. Paired with Podere Erica's l’Erica Rosé Sangiovese 2022.

Tagliolini with Lobster, Ristorante Cecio, Corniglia

Gabriele Pittavini has been running a fresh pasta shop for over twenty years. Today, he serves his handmade tagliolini with half a crustacean, paired with a Cinque Terre DOC 2023.

strangozzi enoteca l alchimista
Strangozzi, Enoteca L'Alchimista

Ragù Tajarin, Osteria da Gemma, Roddino

For nearly forty years, Gemma Boeri has been preparing her pasta by hand, including the famous tajarin with beef ragù, following her grandmother's recipe. A nostalgic dish to be paired with Agricola Gianpiero Marrone's La Pantalera Barbera d’Alba Superiore 2020.

Ricotta, Butter and Parmigiano Tortelloni, Hosteria Giusti, Modena

Salumeria Giusti, which has been operating since 1606, is said to be the world's oldest deli. Today, Daniele Morandi prepares handmade pasta for its four tables, including his ricotta and spinach tortelloni, paired with Corte d’Aibo Spungola's Sauvignon Blanc 2022.

tortelloni di ricotta hosteria giusti
Tortelloni, Hosteria Giusti

Traditional Lasagna, Al Cambio, Bologna

Massimiliano Poggi and Piero Pompili serve a traditional lasagna made of seven layers, with a ragù that is enriched with ham and sausage. Paired with San Patrignano Avi's Sangiovese di Romagna Superiore Riserva 2019.

Trofie with Pesto, Antica Osteria di Vico Palla, Genova

Trofie are the pasta shape of choice for the authentic Genoese pesto, perhaps with the addition of potatoes and green beans, as done at Antica Osteria di Vico Palla, a casual spot in a 16th-century space. Paired with a young vermentino from Albenga.

lasagna al cambio2
Lasagna, Al Cambio

Vincisgrassi di Osteria Dei Fiori, Macerata

Originally called princisgras, this pasta casserole with truffles and ham was reserved for the nobility. It the became a dish of the people, with the addition of giblets and vino cotto, just as the Carducci brothers prepare it. Paired with Gàjole's Verdicchio di Matelica 2021.

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