If you’re reading this, you’ve probably made pasta at some point in your life. It’s really not that hard; You boil some pasta and dump some sauce on top. But as you probably know, there’s a big difference between the spaghetti you made in your college dorm and the pastas being served at some of America’s best restaurants.
In seeking out the best non-chain restaurant pasta dish in every state and Washington, D.C., the first thing we had to do was set the parameters for what constitutes a pasta dish. We stuck with dishes that hewed to Italian sensibilities (You can certainly consider ramen to be a pasta dish, but that’s a whole other ranking), and the pasta itself had to be the primary focus; we didn’t consider risotto to be a pasta dish, and dishes that are served alongside pasta, like chicken parm or veal saltimbocca, weren’t considered either. With these dishes, pasta is the star of the show.
In our list you’ll find tortellini, spaghetti chitarra, pappardelle, linguine, lasagna agnolotti, squid ink spaghetti, gnocchi, ravioli, strozzapretti, and many more of the countless pasta styles found in Italy. Some are perfect interpretations of traditional dishes, some are ingenious inventions of creative chefs. But at the end of the day, it proves one thing: No matter where you are, an amazing plate of pasta isn’t too far away.