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Primo pasta 

Little Azio

This speedy pizza-and-pasta joint, particularly the Midtown location, is a good choice when you're hungry before a show and don't have time for a lengthy meal. Order at the counter from the mix-and-match menu (angel hair, rigatoni, pesto, marinara -- the standard suspects) and your pasta will be out to you in minutes. We're stuck on the bowtie-shaped farfalle paired with the Rustica, a feisty combination of sausage and peppers. 903-B Peachtree St., 404-876-7711; 749 Moreland Ave., 404-624-0440. www.littleazio.com.

Pasta da Pulcinella

We're old-school customers of this Midtown restaurant, and still miss its original location in the now-dilapidated strip of businesses across from the Federal Reserve Building. We also remember when the Pizzoccheri coi Rapini, a dish that inspires fierce loyalty among its fans, cost $6.95. Other old-time winners, as sterling as ever, include the Tortelli di Mele with apple and sausage, and the classic, meaty tagliatelle Bolognese. 1123 Peachtree Walk. 404-876-1114. www.pastadapulcinella.com.

Sotto Sotto

Oh my. Where to begin? With the silky, Bechamel-based lasagnette? The rich, sensual Tortelli di Michelangelo? Impressively affordable and still vibrantly hip, this is simply the finest Italian restaurant we have, and the pasta selection is the foundation of its excellence. 'Nough said. 313 N. Highland Ave. 404-523-6678. www.sottosottorestaurant.com.

Sugo

Frederic Castellucci is the ringleader of this family-oriented spot that specializes in the art of charming overkill. The list of ingredients in each dish astounds. The size of the portions stupefies. If you don't know where to jump in, start with the Pasta Duetto, which features two baseball-sized sausage meatballs. Vegetarians will dig Dorothea's garden parpardelle. 408 S. Atlanta St., Roswell. 770-641-9131. www.sugorestaurant.com.

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