Pasta has become a cornerstone for many a meal around the world — and it’s probably not as bad for you as you think. Whether it’s a lonely bowl of mac-n-cheese in front of Netflix, or a mind-blowing parmesan cup of Cacio e Pepe on the streets of Rome, pasta is universally beloved. We often view pasta as a delivery mechanism for whatever we flavor it with: A nice Bolognese, a little Alfredo, some red gravy — maybe even a few anchovies, some garlic, cherry tomatoes, olives, and shallots for a nice Puttanesca.
We love pasta, but we probably don’t spend much time contemplating the chefs toiling over boiling pots of salty water and simmering pans of ragu in an over-heated kitchen to make it just for you.
Today, let’s celebrate (and rank) our favorite pasta chefs from film and television who have braved the kitchen to teach us a few tricks and educate our palates. This one’s for them!
Primo — Big Night
Big Night follows two Italian immigrant brothers trying to make a go of their very traditionally Italian restaurant in 1950s America. It’s a challenge to say the least. Stanley Tucci and Tony Shaloub make a brilliant dyad of give-and-take as the manager and chef respectively. The whole film culminates in one big night when the siblings show off what real Italian cuisine is supposed to be. Best of all? You can make the infamous Timpano pasta course (the same one that might make someone want to “f*cking kill you” because it’s so good) with this handy recipe from The New York Times.
Carl Casper — Chef
“You sit. You eat. And you vomit those words back.” Carl Casper is pretty low when we meet him in Chef. Well, only as low as someone who’s dating Scarlet Johansson can be. That’s still a big win. It’s with ScarJo’s character that Casper makes a simple and delicious plate of Pasta Aglio e Olio — or pasta with garlic and oil. The chopping of that much garlic is probably the hardest part. After that, it’s just a matter of frying the garlic and tossing in some amazing noodles. A little lemon and some fresh herbs and you have a stellar pasta course.