5 Famous Italian Pasta Dishes

Linguine, fettuccine, spaghetti, tortellini—you name it; the types of pastas (like all good things) are endless. And although we think every day should be National Pasta Day, there is one day devoted to this classic, hearty dish - and it’s coming up on October 17th!

So, as if we even needed another reason to celebrate pasta, here’s how to honor National Pasta Day the best way—Italian style.

Cacio e Pepe

Region of Origin: Lazio (Roma)

It seems only fair to start off with the predecessor of a classic, fan favorite—mac and cheese. Though its literal meaning is ‘cheese and pepper,’ Cacio e Pepe is so much more than its seemingly simple ingredients.

Once you choose your pasta (we recommend egg tagliatelle, bucatini, or spaghetti), the key to mastering this dish lies in perfecting the sauce. The secret? Skillfully mixing the pepper and Pecorino cheese with the pasta’s hot cooking water to soften the cheese. Once melted, you’ll have an irresistibly creamy sauce to coat each strand.

Cacio e Pepe Traditional Italian Pasta

Pasta Bolognese

Region of Origin: Emilia-Romagna (Bologna)

Though Americans love spotting the word ‘Bolognese’ on a menu, you wouldn’t find it in Italy. In fact, depending on where your nonna is from, you probably know this thick meat sauce as a Ragu. As a variation of Ragu, Ragu alla Bolognese or Bolognese sauce is the most popular version of Ragu and is a long-cooked, meat-based sauce.

With tomatoes as one of its main ingredients, this pasta is also simmered with finely chopped onion, parsley and celery. Combine your slow-cooked, rich red sauce with a fresh pasta such as tagliatelle or fettuccine for a pasta sure to make even your nonna proud.

Pasta Bolognese Traditional Italian Pasta

Pasta Carbonara

Region of Origin: Lazio (Roma) 

Meat, eggs, cheese—meet pasta. Pasta, meet your favorite ingredients. For pasta carbonara, the main ingredient is egg yolk, which is paired with pancetta (some recipes use bacon) and Pecorino cheese - sometimes also mixed with Parmigiano Reggiano. While spaghetti or tagliatelle are the traditional choices for this velvety sauce, feel free to go alla carbonara with other noodles such as rigatoni or fusilloni.

Pasta Carbonara Traditional Italian Pasta

Pasta Puttanesca

Region of Origin: Campania (Napoli)

Another quick recipe, pasta puttanesca, doubles as the perfect dish for large groups or a starter with a few friends. Made with ingredients you likely already have on hand, this aromatic melange includes tomatoes, capers, anchovies, and olives to give it its unique flavor. Combine your puttanesca sauce with an angel hair pasta or spaghetti for a quick, savory pasta your palate will swoon over.

Pasta Puttanesca Traditional Italian Pasta

Pasta al pomodoro

Region of Origin: All of Italy takes credit for this one! 

Pasta al pomodoro (pasta with tomato sauce) is the most classic of all Italian first courses. More than just a symbol of Italian cuisine, pomodoro is the mother lode of pasta sauces and a part of the national identity. For a quick, crowd-pleasing dinner, you can buy your pomodoro sauce or make it yourself!

Using high-quality tomoatoes, puree them in a blender and add 1/2 cup of the pasta water back into the sauce, pair with spaghetti or bucatini and voila! Sometimes the most simple things in life are the best, and this sugo is definitely a sensory experience you’ll never forget.

Pasta al Pomodoro Traditional Italian Pasta



Pasta Pasta Pasta 

Discover more famous pasta recipes!

Pasta Milanese

Spaghetti Alla Carrettiera

Pasta with Cucuzza


At Ditalia, we know the holiday season can get a little hectic. That’s why we make things easy with everything you need to celebrate National Pasta Day - straight to your door! Experience the best of artisan pasta and sauces with this delightful 7 piece gift basket. This introduction to Italian pasta includes select sauces from the Casina Rossa Collection and hand-made pastas such as Liguria and Puglia. Finding this gift basket on your doorstep feels like a holiday in itself!

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