My hubby and kids absolutely love pasta in all forms, and I enjoy making it when we have guests over. It's a favourite of adults and kids alike, and here's a fun way to make it an exciting suppertime experience: make a DIY family pasta bar! The concept is simple. Cook a few kinds of pasta to please your small or large crowd, make a couple of different sauces, and prepare some fun toppings that your family and friends can choose from to create their very own unique dish.
My kids had a blast when I served our pasta supper like this the other day - they felt so special and grown up when they could choose their own fixings. I simply fried up a lot of the toppings while the pasta was cooking, and I used pre-made sauces to cut down even further on the food prep time. It made for a fun and yummy night!
You can use whatever types of pastas and toppings you and your guests would enjoy, but here's what I used for our special DIY pasta bar:
I cooked some Barilla Plus Penne and Spaghetti (they deliver 27% more protein than Barilla’s traditional semolina pasta), plus some Barilla Gluten Free Rotini (a great option for gluten intolerant guests).
Then, I baked some chicken breast & bacon in the oven and chopped it up. I sauteed mushrooms, ham, spinach and ground beef separately and chopped/cubed them. Finally, I warmed up a pre-made marinara sauce and an alfredo sauce and chopped up some fresh tomatoes.
I put everything in pretty bowls and completed the spread with a little dish of parmesan cheese.
The girls loved to choose their own ingredients and try different toppings to see what they liked the best. (Cheese and ham generally get the best reviews!)
My favourite combo is penne, alfredo sauce, spinach, chicken breast and mushrooms. YUM!
Try a DIY pasta bar like this at your next family gathering and I bet you'll be hooked! It's just such a unique and lovely-looking way to serve a dish that everyone will love. What would YOU add to your pasta bar?
Thank you, Barilla® Canada, for reminding us how important family dinners are! Families across the country are uniquely different, and yet we all experience the common need for greater connection. That’s why Barilla® created Share The Table® – to help inspire, empower and support all families to enjoy more meaningful meals. Barilla believes that while mealtime may not be a panacea for building strong children and families, it is still one of the most important things we can do to instill a sense of courage, confidence, and character in our children today, so that they, in turn, can make the world a better place.
Click here to get some more recipe ideas from Barilla® to help facilitate a fun family dinner tradition! They also share ideas to make mealtime more interactive (like downloadable games!), and you could even win a trip to Italy by sharing your supper time photos!
Happy supper time!
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Barilla® Canada. As always, all of the opinions shared here are my own.