The real reason Lidia Bastianich never serves pasta on a plate

Particularly in the visual age of Instagram and Pinterest, presentation is more important than ever, but service isn’t just about aesthetics. “If you use a wide plate and spread it out,” Bastianich explains, via TODAY, “your pasta will be cold and that’s it.” Instead, for a warm and enticing bite, Bastianich recommends serving the pasta in a warmed soup bowl. As with the downsides of the plate, putting hot pasta in a cold bowl will instantly chill the pasta, Bastianich says. By preheating the bowl, your pasta will stay hot from stovetop to table. For extra 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 retains the heat and continues to warm as you dig.

To do this, make pasta Barrel recommends scooping longer pasta, like bucatini or spaghetti, into a soup ladle and turning it into a ball — carefully inserting the tines of a fork into the ladle can help get the job done. Then, carefully 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 work will be worth it. To try it for yourself, use Bastianich’s Pasta Serving Technique to recreate his special take on fettuccine alfredo.

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