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The Essential Guide to Ordering Pasta

Swooning for spaghetti pomodoro? Can’t get enough of cacio e pepe? You’re not alone, friend. There’s just somethin’ about a piping hot bowl of freshly made, Italian noodles.

One thing you need to remember is–no two sauces or noodles are the same. We’re here to dish all the saucy secrets behind ordering the perfect bowl of pasta. Andiamo.

Noodle on it

When you do a quick search for “how many types of pasta are there,” you’ll most likely come to the consensus that no one is entirely sure. But, internet estimates range from 350 all the way to 600. Casual.

Whether you’re partial to long and thin (think: angel hair), short and wide (like rigatoni) or stuffed (hello, ravioli)–the pastabilites are endless. (Yeah, we snuck that one by our editors.)

Toss it in sauce

When it comes to pasta sauce, always remember the Italian flag: green, white and red.

Green: Hello, pesto. Pesto’s vibrant coloring comes from heaps of basil, mixed with pine nuts, garlic, olive oil, cheese and herbs.

White: From alfredo to cacio e pepe, white sauce is usually cream or cheese based. In an ideal world, both…mmm.

Red: Bring on the tomatoes. The quintessential marinara sauce–or its meaty cousin, bolognese–make pasta magic happen. (And no..we didn’t forget about the lone “pink” ranger out there–the beloved vodka sauce–that brings together the best of both worlds.)

Top it off

If cheese is your thing, ask for grated parmesan on the side. Want to kick things up a notch? Try some roasted red pepper flakes. Herbs like fresh basil or oregano are also at the ready to elevate any red sauce dish.

Whether you’re ordering for breakfast, lunch or dinner–mhm, we said breakfast, just throw an egg on it–stay saucy with some pasta.