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Homemade pasta in cookie cutter shapes?

The Dairy Queen Jan 30, 2011 08:14 AM

I want to take a pasta dish--basically mini meatballs in a tomato-based sauce-- to a potluck, so, I will be bringing it in a crock pot to keep it warm. The hitch is, I want to cut the pasta into specific shapes using cookie cutters. Would this work or would the pasta all clump together due to the non-optimal serving conditions?

Have any of you had success cutting pasta in oddball shapes with cookie cutters? Any cautions/concerns/tips/pointers to share?

Thank you!

P.S. apologies for this absolutely looney question!


  1. blue room Jan 30, 2011 10:46 AM

    The theme clues were confusing 'til I googled more info -- sounds like fun! And a ten thousand dollar prize too!
    Puff pastry a very good idea-- you mentioned there will be potato chips already, anyway.
    I think maybe "deconstructed" will be the operative word-clue here. Any shapes put right on top wouldn't *have* to be very hot, would they? Then, take a picture, and eat!

    1 Reply
    1. re: blue room
      The Dairy Queen Jan 30, 2011 05:02 PM

      I wish I could say you are the only one who found the clues confusing. ;-).

      And, your point is spot on. I have lots of great ideas now. I just have to pick one and execute!


    2. greygarious Jan 30, 2011 10:21 AM

      Some sort of pie or stew topped with baked puff pastry letters?

      5 Replies
      1. re: greygarious
        The Dairy Queen Jan 30, 2011 10:25 AM

        Beef stew was one of the dishes I was considering, so, yes, the baked puff pastry letters could work, too!


        1. re: The Dairy Queen
          c oliver Jan 30, 2011 10:57 AM

          jfood and others cook puff pastry topping ahead of time and add at the end. Could you take along a toaster oven and reheat the letters?

          1. re: c oliver
            The Dairy Queen Jan 30, 2011 11:05 AM

            I fear bringing along a toaster oven might be too much. There's a lot of ice and snow out and we'll already be carrying our dish plus beverages. But, it's probably only about a half hour from door to door, from my house to where the potluck will be. So, I think I could do the puff pastry letters before I left home, transport them separately, then add them to the dish on site.


            1. re: The Dairy Queen
              I used to know how to cook... Jan 30, 2011 11:31 AM

              Could your letters travel on top of the crockpot? Wrapped in foil or a tea towel? Might stay warmer.


              1. re: I used to know how to cook...
                The Dairy Queen Jan 30, 2011 04:58 PM

                Interesting idea, thank you!


      2. The Dairy Queen Jan 30, 2011 10:06 AM

        And, not to be too mysterious about the "theme", I'm trying to make my dish somehow fit clues 1 - 7 here. http://www.twincities.com/ci_17239331... I fear that this may be more confusing than enlightening, but, nevertheless, it's what I'm trying to do.

        So, for letters I'm thinking Q's, P's, and A's, B's, and C's.


        1. blue room Jan 30, 2011 09:05 AM

          Oh I hope you take pictures. The cookie cutter shapes are how big? Hearts like Sherri ? -- I wish she had a picture too! I love the idea, what's the occasion?

          14 Replies
          1. re: blue room
            The Dairy Queen Jan 30, 2011 09:12 AM

            It's for a theme potluck. It's kind of a long story. I was thinking either zoo animals or letters of the alphabet. I don't have the cookie cutters yet, but I was thinking smallish ones if I could find them. So, ideally, not bigger than 2 inches tall.


            1. re: The Dairy Queen
              c oliver Jan 30, 2011 09:15 AM

              Could you do something baked? A lasagna type dish where the same shapes were layered carefully one on top of the other and a final layer where the shapes clearly showed. A square when served would be one animal?

              1. re: c oliver
                The Dairy Queen Jan 30, 2011 09:23 AM

                You know...that's a very interesting idea. And, really, only the top layer would have to be hand-cut shapes. I could use regular noodles for the underneath layers. I think the key will be how do transport this dish and keep it hot. (I'm in Minnesota). I was thinking a heavy ceramic crock would certainly keep the dish hot in transit. If I did a couple of small lasagnas, I could maybe transport them in our big cooler.

                I'll have to think about that! Thank you!


              2. re: The Dairy Queen
                Gio Jan 30, 2011 09:18 AM

                An alphabet soup variation... I Love It.

                Use a very simple sauce...just EVOO, garlic tomatoes, S & P, maybe some dried oregano or basil. 2" letters should hold together. Perhaps a trial run?? Just a thought.

                1. re: Gio
                  The Dairy Queen Jan 30, 2011 09:41 AM

                  Yes, like a variation on alphabet soup, except I want it to be a bit heartier. This is the type of potluck where lots of people bring potato chips and desserts and we're sorely lacking in main dishes.


                  1. re: The Dairy Queen
                    The Dairy Queen Jan 30, 2011 09:43 AM

                    By the way, my husband just reminded me that there's a group that brings a hearty pasta in tomato sauce dish every year, so I think I need to morph my dish to be a beef stroganoff in brown gravy kind of dish. I could do chicken, but beef would fit the theme better.


                2. re: The Dairy Queen
                  nemo Jan 30, 2011 09:22 AM

                  I have a set of alphabet cutters about 1" high. Can't remember if they were called canape cutters or what. So you should be able to find them, although I did get mine a number of years ago. And if you go with chicken soup, they do make alphabet pasta. But if you want specific letters, I doubt you'd want to sort through several boxes just to pick out the ones you want!

                  1. re: nemo
                    The Dairy Queen Jan 30, 2011 09:39 AM

                    Yes, I was thinking of sorting through boxes of alphabet pasta just to pick out the letters I want, but that's as much effort as making my own! I think.


                    1. re: The Dairy Queen
                      Sherri Jan 30, 2011 09:42 AM

                      Sounds like the culinary version of "Dirty Word Scrabble" but that's a post for another day ...........

                      1. re: Sherri
                        The Dairy Queen Jan 30, 2011 09:44 AM

                        HA! Funny!


                  2. re: The Dairy Queen
                    blue room Jan 30, 2011 09:30 AM

                    Well, the crock pot transport / transfer is the dealbreaker, probably. Even if it worked you'd be too stressed by then to enjoy the rest of the evening?
                    Letters would be *way* more recognizable than animal shapes, though, if you are able to figure how to do this. At least keep the idea in mind for a better venue? Fried potato letters?

                    1. re: blue room
                      The Dairy Queen Jan 30, 2011 09:38 AM

                      Fried potato letters? Interesting idea, could you elaborate?


                      1. re: The Dairy Queen
                        blue room Jan 30, 2011 10:10 AM

                        Here they are in the frying pan -- I used a mandolin to slice the potato evenly, and have a set of inch alphabet cutters.

                        1. re: blue room
                          The Dairy Queen Jan 30, 2011 10:21 AM

                          HA! Now you're going to have to have fried TDQ potatoes for lunch!

                          That is a very interesting idea. I recall this wonderful, layered ground beef and potato dish from Penelope Casas that I should have another look at. I'll bet the fried potato slices would suit that dish perfectly!

                          Thank you!


                3. c oliver Jan 30, 2011 09:04 AM

                  Isn't looney a prerequisite for true Chow membership?

                  (Based upon absolutely nothing!) I'd guess that served the way you intend the shapes would be unrecognizale if they even stayed intact. The only way I can see it being effective is if you were cooking the pasta separately, putting some in individual pasta bowls and "placing" the meatballs and lightly saucing. But I love the idea.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: c oliver
                    The Dairy Queen Jan 30, 2011 09:08 AM

                    Yes, I think you're right (on both the looney part and your point about the unrecognizable shapes...)

                    Hmmm...I may have to abandon this idea.


                  2. s
                    Sherri Jan 30, 2011 08:52 AM

                    It's not a "looney question", TDQ, or if it is, I'm right there with the rest of the loonies. In the full rushing flush of l'amour, I made pink heart-shaped pasta for Valentine's Day. I used beets for the color/flavor; it was visually stunning but a once-in-a-lifetime plate.

                    Trying to maintain the shape of (fragile) homemade pasta with meatballs and a sauce in a CrockPot sounds daunting, especially after the first big scoop with the serving spoon.

                    It doesn't sound at all disastrous, it just sounds like a lot of additional work for not much return. I am having a very difficult time imagining the pasta retaining its cookie cutter shape.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Sherri
                      The Dairy Queen Jan 30, 2011 09:03 AM

                      Your last sentence goes to heart of my worries: a lot of additional work for not much return...

                      Maybe I should do a chicken soup instead of meatballs and tomato sauce.


                    2. todao Jan 30, 2011 08:37 AM

                      Cutting pasta into shapes with a cookie cutter is not uncommon, attaching them to a meat ball with a tooth pick is likely to be more challenging. Fully cooked sheets of pasta, depending on the formula, tends to tear rather easily and the toothpick piercing it will certainly exacerbate that tendency. I'd suggest that you prepare your morsels individually and lay them in the sauce on a shallow pan, (chafing dish) then drizzle more sauce over the top. IMO, piling the mass into a crock pot to keep them warm sound like a recipe for disaster

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: todao
                        The Dairy Queen Jan 30, 2011 08:43 AM

                        Oh sorry I wasn't clear. This is intended to be a hearty meatball and pasta dish.

                        I'm thinking of tossing the mini-meatballs and sauce with the pasta, then pouring it it all in the crock-pot for people to later serve themselves, probably with a big serving spoon, though perhaps with tongs.

                        Does that still sound disastrous?


                        1. re: The Dairy Queen
                          Jay F Jan 30, 2011 11:23 AM

                          Fresh pasta does not belong in a crockpot, ever. Use box pasta. Period.

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