The Best Pasta Cookbooks for Home Cooks, Recommended by the Pros

Learn how to become a pasta-making pro from the experts.

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

best pasta cookbooks
Photo: Courtesy of Amazon

If you're like us, pasta is part of your weekly rotation — spaghetti, farfalle, cavatelli, pappardelle, bucatini… the list goes on. But what about your ability to mix flour and water to create these delicious delicacies all on your own? From beginner to pro, these pasta cookbooks, recommended by professional chefs, will help you take your pasta-making skills to the next level.

Whether you're looking for elevated classics or easy weeknight pasta dishes, these recipe collections teach you how to masterfully prepare every type of pasta with jokes and heartwarming narratives along the way. Keep scrolling to see the best pasta cookbooks for every home cook.

Our Top Picks

Flour + Water

best pasta cookbooks
Courtesy of Amazon

In this pasta cookbook, chef Thomas McNaughton of San Francisco's Flour + Water restaurant dishes on his strategies and tips for creating simple, flavorful pasta. "Not only is the book beautifully photographed, but I find that it's one I actually use at home," says Amanda Wilson, culinary director at Tortazo. "It's for a home cook but definitely doable for someone who wants to experiment with new shapes and cooking with seasonality in mind."

Recipes include tagliatelle bolognese, pumpkin tortellini with sage and pumpkin seeds, and tomato farfalle with chicken polpettine, roasted peppers, and basil. "I love the simplicity and the seasonal breakdown [of recipes]," says Kristyn Brewer, executive chef at Winona's.

  • Full Title: Flour + Water: Pasta
  • Author: Thomas McNaughton
  • Number of Pages: 288
  • Ebook Available: Yes

Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking

best pasta cookbooks
Courtesy of Amazon

Our list of the best pasta cookbooks wouldn't be complete without a nod to Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. This book, originally published in the early '90s, combines two of Hazan's most popular recipe collections: The Classic Italian Cookbook and More Classic Italian Cooking. From her famed tomato sauce with onion and butter to recipes for gnocchi, risotto, and other pasta dishes, this pasta cookbook goes far beyond the dough and covers every delicious layer of Italian specialties.

  • Full Title: Essentials of Italian Cooking
  • Author: Marcella Hazan
  • Number of Pages: 704
  • Ebook Available: Yes

Pasta by Hand

best pasta cookbooks
Courtesy of Amazon

Written by 2012 Food & Wine Best New Chef Jenn Louis, consider Pasta by Hand your definitive guide to making dough from scratch. With more than 65 recipes for hand-shaped traditional pasta and dumplings, plus savory, simmering sauces to enjoy alongside, Louis's detailed explanations and shaping sequences are among the easiest to follow and master. Before you know it, you'll be hand-making gnocchi, orecchiette, gnudi, spaetzle, and more like a pro.

"This book is really unique in that it focuses solely on hand-formed shapes and dumplings and includes a number of different dough recipes from all over Italy," says Angie Rito and Scott Tacinelli, chefs at Don Angie. "We love the tactile experience of forming pasta piece by piece, completely by hand, and this book focuses on just that."

  • Full title: Pasta by Hand: A Collection of Italy's Regional Hand-Shaped Pasta
  • Author: Jenn Louis
  • Number of Pages: 208
  • Ebook Available: Yes

Encyclopedia of Pasta

best pasta cookbooks
Courtesy of Amazon

As you learn the art of making pasta, take some time to read up on Italy's fascinating pasta history, as told by food scholar Oretta Zanini De Vita. While this isn't your traditional pasta cookbook, this body of literature will be valuable as you continue your cooking journey. "This is an amazing and deeply valuable work of culinary scholarship — an anthropology of Italian pasta that is also a major contribution to Italian cultural history," says Nancy Harmon Jenkins, cookbook author of Cucina del Sole.

  • Full Title: Encyclopedia of Pasta
  • Author: Oretta Zanini De Vita
  • Number of Pages: 400
  • Ebook Available: Yes

RELATED: The 22 Best Cookbooks for Spring 2022

Mastering Pasta

best pasta cookbooks
Courtesy of Amazon

After researching pasta for more than a decade, award-winning chef Marc Vetri finally felt ready to publish Mastering Pasta. Whether you're a home cook or a professional, this comprehensive guide covers everything from gnocchi to risotto, stuffed to baked pasta, classic to innovative sauces, and everything in between. There are more than 100 easy-to-follow recipes, plus engaging anecdotes and informative explanations. Vetri even writes about the science of flour types to explain how to craft the very best pasta by hand or with a machine.

"He gives so many great tips, tricks, and techniques in the book, and there are some incredible recipes," says James Beard Award-winning chef Nina Compton. "I call Marc the "Pasta Don" because he has a way with flour and water that is truly special."

  • Full Title: Mastering Pasta: The Art and Practice of Handmade Pasta, Gnocchi, and Risotto
  • Author: Marc Vetri
  • Number of Pages: 272
  • Ebook Available: Yes

Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well

best pasta cookbooks
Courtesy of Amazon

Originally published in 1891, Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well is the oldest published Italian book of recipes. It's been reprinted 13 times, with the number of recipes growing from 475 recipes to nearly 800.

"This is not just a cookbook about pasta; it also sheds light on the history and intention for these pasta recipes," says Alex Tubero, executive chef at Amali. "In many cases, there is more than just one recipe for a specific dish and doesn't have exact measurements for ingredients (a half an egg shell of water or a fist full of flour); I think this is important for people learning to cook or to refine their skills because it promotes cooking with your intent rather than just following a detailed recipe with can make a dish taste soulless."

  • Full Title: Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well
  • Author: Pellegrino Artusi
  • Number of Pages: 653
  • Ebook Available: Yes

American Sfoglino: A Master Class in Handmade Pasta

best pasta cookbooks
Courtesy of Amazon

This pasta cookbook won the 2020 James Beard award for photography and is a favorite among some of today's greatest chefs for its step-by-step explanation and technique for handmade past-making. It's so good, James Beard Award-winning chef Nancy Silverton said, "you may never again be tempted to buy dried, packaged pasta at the supermarket." It teaches you how to make 15 different pasta shapes and use them in dishes like lasagna Bolognese and tagliatelle with bacon and butter.

  • Full Title: American Sfoglino: A Master Class in Handmade Pasta
  • Author: Evan Funke
  • Number of Pages: 272
  • Ebook Available: Yes

Pasta: The Spirit and Craft of Italy's Greatest Food

best pasta cookbooks
Courtesy of Amazon

You can't deny the depth and breadth of Missy Robbins' ode to pasta, aptly named Pasta. "Her book is an encyclopedic regional and visual feast and the definitive guide to all things pasta," says Nilou Motamed, television personality and judge on Netflix's Iron Chef. From lasagna to tagliatelle, this pasta cookbook achieves the perfect balance of step-by-step instruction, gorgeous imagery, and cheerful storytelling — all the while setting you up for maximum pasta-making success.

  • Full Title: Pasta: The Spirit and Craft of Italy's Greatest Food, with Recipes
  • Author: Missy Robbins and Talia Baiocchi
  • Number of Pages: 416
  • Ebook Available: Yes

Cooking by Hand: A Cookbook

best pasta cookbooks
Courtesy of Amazon

Filled with more than 140 recipes, Paul Bertolli's Cooking by Hand weaves his food memories and personal stories with deep explorations into some of his favorite ingredients and Italian dishes. "Reading this cookbook is like stepping back in time and returning to the motherland," says celebrity chef Marcel Vigneron. "The recipes are deceptively simple but also inspire you to become more creatively involved in the food that you cook, which is what makes them so perfect."

  • Full Title: Cooking by Hand: A Cookbook
  • Author: Paul Bertolli
  • Number of Pages: 288
  • Ebook Available: Yes

Italian American

best pasta cookbooks
Courtesy of Amazon

In Italian American, chefs Angie Rito and Scott Tacinelli highlight a harmonious mash-up of adored family classics with new, innovative riffs. Every dish, however, is equally as comforting, from pinwheel lasagna to saucy shrimp parmesan meatballs. "Italian American is the first cookbook that I've wanted to cook my way through," says chef Max Sussman and restaurant vet Kate McCabe. "It's like a perfect blend of red sauce nostalgia and modern creativity. The experience has been unreal — everything I've made turns out perfectly."

  • Full Title: Italian American: Red Sauce Classics and New Essentials
  • Author: Angie Rito
  • Number of Pages: 320
  • Ebook Available: Yes

Back Pocket Pasta

best pasta cookbooks
Courtesy of Amazon

In Back Pocket Pasta, Colu Henry caters his collection of recipes to home cooks who are pressed for time — each one of the more than 75 included recipes are weeknight-friendly, which means readers will be able to prepare them in almost the same amount of time it takes to boil the water.

"These recipes are totally doable, delicious takes on all the classics, plus a lot of seasonal pasta recipes inspired by Colu's life in the Hudson Valley," says New York Times recipe developer Lidey Heuck. "Whether I'm craving any particular pasta dish like a la vodka or linguine with clams, or I'm in the mood for something a little off the beaten track, Back Pocket Pasta is always my first stop on the cookbook shelf."

  • Full Title: Back Pocket Pasta: Inspired Dinners to Cook on the Fly
  • Author: Colu Henry
  • Number of Pages: 240
  • Ebook Available: Yes

RELATED: 19 of the Best Baking Cookbooks, According to the Pros

Never Trust a Skinny Italian Chef

best pasta cookbooks
Courtesy of Amazon

If you've watched Netflix's Chef's Table, then you may have seen a first-hand look into the mind of Massimo Bottura. Consider this book the written version of that. A tribute to Bottura's 25-year career and the evolution of his three-Michelin-star restaurant Osteria Francescana, Never Trust a Skinny Italian Chef highlights 50 of his most prized, innovative recipes that home chefs can aspire to create. "[This book is all about] typical ingredients but a different way to see the classic Italian kitchen," says Christian Chirino, executive chef at Tur Kitchen.

  • Full Title: Never Trust a Skinny Italian Chef
  • Author: Massimo Bottura
  • Number of Pages: 296
  • Ebook Available: Yes

Scott Conant's New Italian Cooking

best pasta cookbooks
Courtesy of Amazon

If you're looking for a pasta cookbook specializing in recipes that won't take you hours to prepare, this pick should be your go-to. New Italian Cooking includes more than 130 recipes that can be whipped together in 45 minutes or less, including Conant's beloved spaghetti puttanesca, "boneless" osso buco, and long-simmering classic bolognese. "I love his approach of modernizing Italian classics but keeping the true soul and flavor of the recipes," says Jose Mendin, chef and restaurateur of Pubbelly Global.

  • Full Title: Scott Conant's New Italian Cooking
  • Author: Scott Conant
  • Number of Pages: 304
  • Ebook Available: Yes

Simple Pasta

best pasta cookbooks
Courtesy of Amazon

Pasta is a love language that Odette Williams speaks fluently. Her collection of uncomplicated, crave-worthy recipes celebrates the art of cooking in a simple, thoughtful form. With Simple Pasta, Williams makes preparing pasta by hand a painless and fun process for every member of the family. From carbonara to cacio e pepe to crispy Italian sausage and broccolini orecchiette, her recipes range in flavor, depth, and complexity. "The book is a must-have for anyone who enjoys cooking or entertaining, you'll turn to these recipes — pasta and so much more — again and again," says chef Spencer Bezaire and wine director Sabrina Bezaire, co-owners of Eszett.

  • Full Title: Simple Pasta: Pasta Made Easy. Life Made Better.
  • Author: Odette Williams
  • Number of Pages: 256
  • Ebook Available: Yes

The Authentic Pasta Book

best pasta cookbooks
Courtesy of Amazon

This book of regional Italian pasta specialties is a favorite of Mike DeCamp, executive chef at Jester Concepts. "The recipes work well for a home cook," he says. "The stories are beautiful, and I love the fact that they are recipes collected from his travels [through] Italy."

  • Full Title: The Authentic Pasta Book
  • Author: Fred Plotkin
  • Number of Pages: 318
  • Ebook Available: Yes

Our Expertise

Clarissa Buch Zilberman is an acclaimed food writer with nearly a decade of experience. She has written for Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, Travel & Leisure, and more. For this piece, she extensively researched the best pasta cookbooks and consulted more than a dozen chefs to find out which recipe collections are on their bookshelves.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles