When you order pasta at a fancy restaurant, chances are it'll come to you plated perfectly — swirled in a little mountain of noodles, basically tailor-made for Instagram. But how do restaurants do this? Long pasta can be tricky to work with without sauce splashing all over the rim or errant noodles escaping.
Turns out there's an easy way to avoid all of that if you follow a simple (and smart!) method. And I was reminded of it when I was watching chefs compete in a pasta competition in Milan — because that method is also what I do when I'm food styling recipes for work. All you need are two kitchen tools that you probably already have.
The way to do it might actually be familiar to you: You've probably eaten spaghetti by twirling it with a fork against a spoon to keep everything in place, right? This technique builds on that idea on a larger scale. All you need is a ladle and either a carving fork or a pair of long, tweezer-like tongs.
Here's how to do it: When your pasta is ready, pick up a portion of it with the tongs or carving fork, then anchor it in a ladle. After that, all you have to do is twirl, twirl, and twirl until the pasta is coiled into a neat little nest in the ladle. Keeping the fork still in the ladle, move it over to the plate, gently nudge the nest of pasta out of the ladle, and slowly remove the fork.
What you're left with is a beautifully coiled serving of pasta that will stay exactly where you put it. Pretty plates of pasta won't necessarily taste better, but they are an impressive and fun way to to showcase your delicious creations to friends and family on your next pasta night.