Greetings from the Barilla Test Kitchen!

As a culinary team, we got together with our editor to talk about innovation with pasta, and our favorite recipes for giving your guests the favorites they’ve been missing, without over-stretching your back-of-house teams.

American diners are definitely still in love with Italian food, and even though they’ve been cooking up pasta dishes at home, they are still missing their restaurant-quality favorites. These are classic dishes that are a bit too complex to be made at home, but are perfect for restaurant kitchens.

A little bacon is always a good way to lure in American diners, and the classic Amatriciana takes full advantage, with very few ingredients. Using a less-common cut like bucatini ups the ante and helps elevate the dish to dining-out fare.

Spicy dishes tend to get more popular in the warmer months, so this is a great dish to bring out around now. The only ingredient you might not already have on hand is the n’duja, but it’s well worth bringing in – the spicy, spreadable sausage features the iconic chiles of Calabria, and we love it for its versatility.

Pretty much anything that says “Tuscan” sells, and for good reason. The simple, hearty, rustic flavors have broad appeal, and with a little added romance on the menu about a slow-cooked ragout with red wine, lamb and beef, it becomes irresistible…and again, not something home cooks are likely to do.

Pesto is a sauce category we’re watching closely – independent chefs are coming up with amazing new combinations of herbs, nuts, cheeses and even chiles or veggies. The pesto possibilities are endless, and they are so easy to make and prep ahead. This one is centuries-old, a traditional pesto from Sicily made from tomatoes and almonds; it’s made to pair with this unique pasta shape, also native to Sicily.

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