Whether you grew up eating cacio e pepe made right in your kitchen or recently discovered the religious experience that is a well-executed carbonara, there are a few places in L.A. that feel like the food equivalent of a hug from your nonna. Here's where to find made-from-scratch pastas that will give you that warm feeling inside.
Mandilli di seta at Factory Kitchen
This pasta, whose name comes from the Italian word for handkerchief, arrives in thin square sheets slathered with Ligurian almond-basil pesto, a classic sauce that hails from the Northern Italian coast. Much to the credit of veteran chef Angelo Auriana (who cooked at Santa Moncia's Valentino for nearly two decades) the noodles arrive with al dente bite and the nuanced flavor of fresh basil. 1300 Factory Place, Los Angeles; (213) 996-6000, thefactorykitchen.com
Spaghetti rustichella at Bestia
A perennial favorite at this Arts District heavyweight is traditional squid ink pasta tossed with a blend of lobster, sea urchin, garlic, Calabrian chilies and breadcrumbs. The dish has a distinct jet-black look but tastes like a hearty bite of the sea. Note the flourish of sea urchin on top, which sits atop the pasta like a golden crown to preserve its purity. 2121 E. Seventh Place, Los Angeles; (213) 514-5724, bestiala.com.
Gnocchi at Osteria Mozza
On a menu that any true-blooded Italian would respect, the gnocchi at Nancy Silverton's landmark restaurant is a major standout. Made with duck ragu, a hearty and rich take on a traditional Venetian classic, the juxtaposition of pillowy Italian dumplings with an earthy meat sauce creates an awe-inspiring contrast of textures. 6602 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles; (323) 297-0100, la.osteriamozza.com.
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Spaghetti with cured egg yolk, pistachio and anchovy at Sotto
Chef Steve Samson rotates the ingredients in his handmade spaghetti seasonally, but you'll often find soulful flavors that pay homage to Sicily's rugged coastal cuisine. The current spaghetti dish at Sotto incorporates cured egg yolk, anchovy, pistachios, breadcrumbs and a dash of chili flake — a captivating tribute to Southern Italy. 9575 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles; (310) 277-0210, sottorestaurant.com.
Truffle pappardelle at République
Pappardelle, those wide and flat noodles that are perfect for twirling around your fork, comes topped with an ample serving of fresh, shaved Italian white truffles at Walter Manzke's République. Aromatic and delicious, this dish is a decadent splurge that will transport you directly to the countryside of Alba. 624 S. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles; (310) 362-6115, republiquela.com.