Disclosure: This post is sponsored by BarillaAs always, I only partner with brands that I love and truly believe in, allowing me to create more quick and easy recipes to get us through the week without breaking the bank. All opinions expressed are my own.

Remember that Italy trip I took? The one where I ate my body weight in pasta?

Well, I wasn’t there just to eat all the pasta.

I was actually there for the sixth edition of the Pasta World Championship in Milan and Parma!

I know. There’s an actual championship of chefs competing to win the coveted title of Pasta World Champion.

From 19 competitors from 15 countries and 4 continents, it was 3 days of a nail-biting, heart-racing thrilling competition.

Well, maybe not for me.

I just tried to sample all of the pasta I possibly could. As I patiently waited, hovered and lingered around the chefs’ stations.

But guys, look at this dish here.

I cannot even believe the creativity that went behind this dish.

Individually stuffing the rigatoni, one by one. It’s definitely not like my usual parsley garnish either.

And with 1 hour time constraints the first round, and then 30 minutes for the subsequent second and third rounds, the 19 chefs raced to the finish line.

Being as quick and efficient as they possibly could, while also creating works of art, weaving in their own versions of a simple pasta pomodoro on day two.

But there’s one chef to mention here: Accursio Lotà, a 32 year-old chef from Sicily, currently working at Solare restaurant in San Diego, representing the United States in this competition.

With his final dish, he created a seafood carbonara with no eggs and no dairy utilizing seafood eggs (rather than the traditional chicken eggs), green mandarin and red mazara shrimps.

I mean, with that, there is no surprise that he was crowned the ultimate champion.

The best part about all of this? I am actually going to San Diego in 2 weeks and I already snagged reservations at his restaurant so I’ll be able to tell you firsthand how all his other dishes are – which I’m sure will knock it out of the park.

Also, the biggest thank you to Barilla for letting me experience such an adventure.

I heave learned that pasta, as simple as it is, brings people together through tradition – but through this championship, pasta is reinvented with the classic accompaniments – just in new, innovative ways, and I cannot wait to put this forth in my own recipes!