Few things are simpler, yet more difficult to perfect, than a plate of pasta. At Babbo, as in Italy, pasta falls primarily into two camps: hard and fresh. At Babbo we serve both types of pasta, and so should you. When choosing a pasta to make, consider the season. I think of soft pasta most often in the cooler months, when braised foods fill my tub and get me to my happy place. In the early summer at the sea, I want linguine fine or bavette (ribbon-shaped pasta) with my clams or rock shrimp, and make it spicy; in the late summer with tomatoes and eggplants knocking, I dream of thick spaghetti. I never think of capellini, or angel hair—they just rub me the wrong way. But make pasta the way you like it. Your guests can tell if you’re faking.
This is excerpted from The Babbo Cookbook, by Mario Batali.