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PASTA:: Perfect for GoodFood Gatherings

Everything you see, I owe to spaghetti - Sophia Loren

Pasta is such a perfect food. And this is not only because Italian blood runs through our veins,...da vero! Pasta - ever-so-versatile - can be:

  • dressed up or casual,

  • fresh & light or rich & creamy,

  • extravagant or budget-friendly,

  • room temperature or hot from the oven, and/or

  • stuffed or strings or shells or BUTTERFLIES...

The options are truly endless. And PERFECT for our idea of a GoodFood Gathering. Don't know about our concept of GoodFood Gatherings? This is entertaining at it's most basic - providing good food, offering something to wet the whistle, but most importantly, allowing the time to share laughs, ideas, stories and life with those who have joined at our table. For this type of entertaining, we look for those recipes that emphasize fresh, seasonal ingredients - straightforward preparation - and interesting flavor combinations from different cuisines. Take a peek at prior posts listing dozens of menu ideas to springboard your ownGoodFood Gatherings. With a focused eye on pasta as a possible cornerstone for your next GoodFood Gathering, here are a few favorites we recommend adding to your entertaining repertoire: Fresh & Zesty ~ Pesto No-Fail Dinner Party - Summer Pesto (includes 8 recipes and variations!) One of the easiest ways to bring summer freshness to the table for dinner guests? Pesto! A sauce originally crafted of basil and garlic in Genoa, Italy (Pesto alla Genovese), the name itself references to the "pounding" or "crushing" of herbs and other ingredients. Traditionally, pesto is made with a mortar and pestle - but it works as well in a food processor. A Classic Tomato Sauce ~ Marinara Grace Parisi called it right in her Classic Marinara Sauce for Food & Wine Magazine The secret to excellent tomato sauce? According to F&38;W's Grace Parisi, the trick is starting with superlative whole (not crushed) tomatoes and simmering them with whole (not chopped) garlic cloves. The result: A classic marinara that can quickly be spun into all sorts of variations. Traditional Family Style ~ Lasagne A go-to brand for easy, oven-ready noodles and lasagna "filling" options is Barilla. We have been loyal to their lasagne noodles, and their basic interpretation of lasagne, for years (shhh...don't tell Nonna!!) They feature five delicious options on their website under Lasagne, Oven Ready including:

  • Butternut Squash Lasagne

  • Lasagne Bolognese-style

  • Lasagne with Meat Sauce

  • Autumn Lasagne

Melt-in-your-mouth Luxury ~ Pasta with Robiola & Truffles (we stand by this pasta dish as a veritable recipe RAVE!!) Another exceptional interpretation of an Italian "nouvo" classic from Food & Wine Magazine. This indulgent first course marries three of Italy's best ingredients: egg pasta, winter truffles and Robiola Rocchetta, a creamy cheese from northern Italy, which forms the base for an incredibly rich sauce.

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Pasta Perfetto on Foodies Night In (#FNIchat) Today's Foodie's Night In program, co-hosted by The Savvy Host and Cooking with Caitlin, was dedicated to pasta. "Pasta Perfetto" covered Italian noodles from homemade recipes, to favorite sauces, to wine pairing,...ending with pasta DESSERTS! Did you miss the delicious dialogue? See below for this week's discussion questions:

  • From shells to spaghetti and even farfalle, what shapes hold sauce best? Gnocchi or cavatelli? Fresh or dry?

  • Secret ingredients or tips for making homemade pasta? Add flavor and color? Recipes?

  • What is THE all-time best bowl of pasta you’ve had the pleasure of eating? What restaurant serves is right?

  • Raving about risotto – What’s your favorite recipe? Is it REALLY that hard to make?

  • Cooking tips – al dente or “mush?” Fling the fettuccine or taste the tagliatelle – how to know when pasta’s done?

  • Carbonara, arrabiata, puttanesca, alfredo – What’s your saucy style? Best way to season – super saucy or keep it simple?

  • What to pour with pasta – favorite wine - champagne - beer - or other beverage?

  • Ready to battle? What’s the BEST meatball recipe? Is your sauce homemade? Tips for doctoring up a jar?

  • Twirling technique: Is slurping acceptable? How best to get pasta into your mouth? Is a spoon necessary?

  • Can leftover pasta come back to life? Tips for par-cooking? How to store? How to perk up?

  • Chestnut vermicelli, rice pudding, pastira – how about pasta for dessert?

  • CLOSING QUESTION - Use your noodle now: Name what makes pasta perfect in three words or less.

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