Great Spaghetti Tips - How to Serve Spaghetti at the Dinner Table

There are two common ways to serve spaghetti. I have had it served to me both ways by Italian-American hosts. So I would say either way may be condidered correct (at least by some). My guess is that the difference is which way their mama did it when they were growing up.

Method One: You can immediately mix the pasta and sauce together in the kitchen, as soon as the pasta is done. And then place it on the table for your guests to pass around and help themselves to. The advantage here is that you assure yourself that you do not run out of sauce before all the pasta is eaten (or vice versa). This is the way it is typically served in American restaurants.


Method Two: You can place the cooked pasta in a spaghetti serving bowl, and serve the sauce in a separate dish, allowing the guests to each choose for themselves how much sauce they want. The advantage with this method, is that each guest gets to eat according to their own personal preferences. Traditionally, Italians use only a small amount of sauce with their pasta, but Americans tend to like to drench their pasta in lots of sauce.

Additional serving information:
Spaghetti with red sauce is often served with a sprinkling of grated hard cheese on top. Parmesan or asiago cheeses are commonly used. The cheese should always be freshly grated for best flavor.

Some American restaurants will serve whole pieces of meat (for example chicken cacciatore) or fish (for example a grilled salmon) on a bed of lightly oiled or sauced angel hair pasta. This is perfectly acceptable in American homes and restaurants.

Just for your information, though, in the “old country,” it is never done this way. Spaghetti and sauce is served together as a first course, and then the meat (or fish) is served later as a second course. Surprisingly, this is true even for the famous Italian-American classic “spaghetti and meatballs.” In Italy, the pasta and sauce would be served first, and then the meatballs would be served as a second (main) course.

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