In May, we challenged our readers to build a six-pack from scratch in 30 days. Today, we present that challenge’s spiritual opposite: a list of the seven best pasta dishes in Chicago, which could conceivably double as a guide to building a six-pack in 30 days.

Look, if you’re gonna indulge, now’s the time to do it. And as you’ll learn from our list, which runs the gamut from bucatini to agnolotti to a devastating cacio e pepe, Chicago is absolutely the place to do it.

The Restaurant: RPM Italian
The Dish: Mama DePandi’s Bucatini
What Makes it So Damn Good: Family recipes get passed down for a reason, and Mama DePandi’s Bucatini is crafted with the kind of dependable excellence that only comes with decades of experience. Housemade semolina bucatini is cooked to order then tossed with a pomodoro sauce made of tomato, roasted garlic, onions and a dash of chili flakes. The dish is then finished with Genovese basil, chopped parsley and freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. It’s a lesson in thorough pasta preparation, with no detail overlooked.

52 W. Illinois St, Chicago, IL 60654