Pasta bars are an easy, fun, and entertaining way to feed your party guests. Here are some great tips to help you execute this DIY spread! Learn how to pull off these creative pasta bar ideas for your next party!
Tantillo Foods offers all of the ingredients necessary to put together a fantastic pasta bar. Shop our products now!
Why Offer a Pasta Bar?
Everyone loves pasta! It’s versatile, family-friendly, and dietary-restriction inclusive. With plenty of vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free noodle, sauce, and topping options, everyone will find something to enjoy! The combinations can appeal to the most adventurous eaters as well as the pickiest, which takes the worry out of your meal planning and prepping.
Building your Bar: Supplies & Equipment
You don’t have to haul out every tool, utensil, or piece of equipment in your kitchen to create the perfect pasta bar. Here are the key pieces you’ll need to put this easy event together:
- Serving forks, knives, and plates
- Napkins (enough for each guest x2)
- Display bowls in varying sizes
- Serving spoons, ladles, and tongs (enough for each of your toppings)
- Printable menu cards to identify the ingredients
- Crockpots for sauces and hot toppings or cooking pots if you’re keeping everything warm on the stove top
Building your Bar: Ingredients
Next comes the fun part… the ingredients! You can use as many or as little of these recommendations as you’d like! Also, feel free to use pre-made options to save yourself some time.
Choose three of these options to serve on your pasta bar:
Cooking your Noodles to Perfection
The pasta is the star of your pasta bar, so you need to make sure it’s cooked to perfection. Here are a few tips to help ensure you’re serving delicious noodles:
- Salting technique. Salting the pasta water is a traditional and necessary step to achieve robust flavor. The goal is to infuse the pasta with just a hint of salt. This elevates the flavor of the noodle and gives balance to the entire finished dish. Keep in mind that you need to use more salt than you think. For example, a good noodle to salt ratio is for every pound of dried noodles, add two tablespoons of salt to your boiling water.
- Achieving al dente. To achieve the perfect al dente texture, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Then, pour in your noodles and stir. Boil for approximately seven to eight minutes (or about two to three minutes for fresh pasta), taste-testing every so often until the noodles are soft with just a hint of chew. Voila, perfectly cooked pasta!
- Don’t be afraid to add fat. Adding a little fat to your cooked noodles will keep them from sticking together. This will also provide richness to your finished dish! Drizzle a teaspoon of Tantillo Premier Extra Virgin Olive Oilover the noodles to really bring the meal together.
- Reserve the pasta water. It might seem a little strange, but reserving some of your pasta water is a great trick to fix sauce that has become too thick. Stirring in just a touch of the seasoned water will thin the sauce without taking away from its flavor.
Stock up on Tantillo Imported Artisanal Pasta!
A Variety of Sauces
Choose three of these options to serve on your pasta bar to add variety:
Tips to Keep your Sauces Warm
Another key to a delicious pasta dish is the sauce. Make sure you serve your sauces nice and hot with these quick tips:
- Stove Top Service. If you’re planning on using your stove to keep your sauces warm, a water bath (double boiler in chef speak) is the perfect solution. This way, the sauce will not burn sitting in a pan directly over the heat source. Fill a pot 1/4 full with water and place a metal bowl or pan insert on top. Keep the burner set at low, and after you’ve reheated your sauce, pour it into the top bowl or insert and cover. Check the water level in the bottom periodically and refill when necessary.
- Crock Pot Method. If you have plenty of crock pots to cover the sauces and the hot toppings, you’re in luck! However, if you only have a few, there’s also a hack for that—mason jars! Fill mason jars with warm sauce (and warm toppings too), fill your crockpot 1/4 full with warm water, set to ‘keep warm,’ and arrange your jars inside the pot.
Stock up on Tantillo Imported Pasta Sauce!
Add More Options with Toppings
Choose five to six of these options to serve on your pasta bar:
- Italian sausage
- Vegan crumble or vegan sausages
- Sautéed spinach or greens
- Sun-dried tomatoes
- Roasted peppers
Choose two to three of these options to serve on your pasta bar:
- Chopped basil
- Grated parmesan
- Hot pepper flakes
How Much Pasta Should You Make?
Now that you know what to include in your pasta bar, how much should you actually make? Here are some no-fail ratios to help ensure you’ll never run out of food for your guests:
- Pasta: Estimate one cup of dry or raw pasta per person and 1/2 cup for the kiddos. For tough to measure long, thin noodles, a one-pound box will usually feed four adults.
- Sauce: Estimate 3/4 cup (6oz) of sauce per person. One 35oz jar of sauce will usually feed about five people.
- Toppings: For proteins like sausage, meatballs, and chicken, estimate 4oz per person. For veggie toppings, estimate 1/2 cup, cooked, per person.
- Garnishes: Cheese is the big one! Estimate about three tablespoons per person. With chopped basil, serve one tablespoon per person, and for hot pepper flakes, 1/4 teaspoon per person.
Consider Adding Some Easy Sides
Having a couple of side dishes is a really nice option to boost your pasta bar’s appeal. Salads are a perfect pairing with any type of pasta dish. Consider providing either a fresh garden salad, a Caesar, or antipasta. Garlic bread, rolls, or artisan loaves are also a lovely addition for sopping up sauce or served with a light drizzle of olive oil.
Building your Pasta Bar’s “Bar”
Having a few Italian alcoholic and non-alcoholic drink options will always impress your guests. A selection of red and white Italian wines are perfect. We recommended serving one of the following wines:
- Pinot Grigio
Check out our blog post on How to Pair Wine with Pasta for even more great tips!
Adding a few traditional cocktails and mixers like Aperol Spritz, Lemoncello Bellinis, or Negronis are also very fun. Consider including a few Pellegrino sparkling waters for those who prefer a non-alcoholic refreshment.
Create Your Pasta Bar with Tantillo Foods
These creative pasta bar ideas will leave your guests thoroughly impressed! When you’re ready to begin putting your pasta bar together, shop Tantillo Foods for everything you need. Tantillo offers a range of traditional imported pasta sauces, artisanal pastas, exquisite olive oils, and tangy vinegars. Cover all your party bases with our traditional and delicious Italian ingredients!