The Real Reason Lidia Bastianich Never Serves Pasta On A Plate

Anthony Bourdain once famously said, "Food is everything we are. It's an extension of nationalist feeling, ethnic feeling, your personal history, your province, your region, your tribe, your grandma. It's inseparable from those from the get-go" (via Parade). It seems fitting, then, to take a tip on such a fundamental dish as pasta from America's culinary nonna herself, Lidia Bastianich. The Italian-American chef even wrote a book called "Nonna Tell Me A Story," in which the real-life grandma shares stories of Christmases spent in Italy with her own grandchildren.

Celebrity chef, Emmy-winning television host, cookbook author, and restaurateur, Bastianich is no stranger to innovative cooking techniques. From creative spins on classic recipes to the perfect speed for adding stock to risotto, Bastianich seems to have a tip for it all. The chef doesn't even use a colander to strain her pasta. Now, via an interview with TODAY, Bastianich lets home cooks in on the real reason she never serves pasta on a plate — and why it makes such a difference.

Keep that pasta hot in a soup bowl

Particularly in the visual age of Instagram and Pinterest, presentation is more important than ever — but serving isn't just about aesthetics. "If you use a wide plate and spread it out," explains Bastianich, via TODAY, "your pasta will be cold and that's the end of it." Instead, for a warm, alluring mouthful, Bastianich recommends serving pasta in a warmed soup bowl. Similar to the drawbacks of the plate, scooping hot pasta into a cold bowl will instantly cool the pasta, says Bastianich. By pre-warming the bowl, your pasta will stay hot from stove to table. For added heat (and a visually-pleasing presentation to boot), Bastianich says to shape the pasta into a mound in the center of the bowl, so it will trap the heat and continue to warm itself as you dig in.

To do it, pasta brand Barilla recommends gathering longer pasta, like bucatini or spaghetti, into a soup ladle and twirling it into a ball — carefully inserting the prongs of a fork into the ladle can help get the job done. Then, gently transfer the mound to your soup bowl. It's like what Julia Child meant when she joked, "It's so beautifully arranged on the plate, you know someone's fingers have been all over it" (via GBH). The handiwork will be worth it. To try it out for yourself, use Bastianich's pasta-serving technique to recreate her special take on fettuccine alfredo.