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How to serve pasta as finger food, and Nepali Italian finger foods.

joonjoon May 11, 2011 11:45 AM

Hi all,

I'm going to be "catering" an engagement party for my best friend. She is Italian and her fiance is Nepali. I would like the food to be mostly finger foods that represents both of their culinary cultures in various ways.

My first question: Is there a way to serve pasta as a finger food? I'd like to serve some pasta of some sort (thinking like a Nepali spiced carbonara/alfredo...or maybe tomato based), but I have no idea how to serve it in a finger food setting. Any suggestions?

Finally, if anyone has some ideas for Nepali/Italian fusion type dishes I'd appreciate any ideas. This is what I have floating around in my head so far:

Edit: Added some new ideas:
chicken chili tacos with momo sauce. (http://www.food-nepal.com/recipe/R051...
)Nepali spiced italian meatballs...on a stick or on bread?
Tandoori wings?
Bruschetta "carpaccio". rare Filet/Arugula/Parm/Caper/Lemon Juice/EVOO, tomato cilantro,
Fig ricotta honey balls wrapped in prosciutto.
Cucumber/cilantro/tomato/evoo "caprese"
meat on a stick
mini potato skins, alu dum style: http://www.food-nepal.com/recipe/R006...
curry puff pastry
Nepali lentil "hummus"

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  1. j
    joonjoon RE: joonjoon May 11, 2011 11:54 AM

    Maybe serve the pasta in some parmesan crisp cups?

    3 Replies
    1. re: joonjoon
      Phurstluv RE: joonjoon May 11, 2011 12:20 PM

      I love fricos, but I don't know if I'd put pasta in them, might be too messy, esp if the pasta is sauced.

      Is your friend Italian from Italy or from America? Just curious, as I'm sure that would be two different tastes entirely.

      Back to the pasta conundrum: you could do a baked mostaccioli or ziti, that was packed with a white sauce and cheese, spinach, other goodies, and then refrigerate until very well chilled. Then cut into small bite sized squares that people could pick up and eat, but it has to hold together. Or scrap the pasta and do a few large frittatas? They are very easy to make in large quantities, (think 9x13" pan) and again, let set and cool, then cut into cubes for finger food.

      Sorry, I don't know anything Nepalese, so I'll let other CHers fill in there.

      1. re: Phurstluv
        joonjoon RE: Phurstluv May 11, 2011 01:12 PM

        My friend is american italian but has spent a lot of time in italy and loves real italian food. Unfortunately I'm not as well versed in italian fare....

        With your baked ziti idea - would it be served cold? I can't imagine it holding together after being heated. But maybe I can do little mini lasagna cubes served on toothpicks?

        I've never made a frittata but that sounds like a great idea.too.

        1. re: joonjoon
          Phurstluv RE: joonjoon May 11, 2011 01:16 PM

          Yes, either cold or room temp. And lasagne cubes would work too. I think as along as it holds together, room temp is best, to catch all of the flavors. Yes, I'd do toothpicks just to make it easier for guests to pick up.

          Frittatas are wicked easy, like an omelet you don't flip, you put it under the broiler to finish cooking the top.

    2. chowser RE: joonjoon May 11, 2011 12:27 PM

      I like Phurstluv's fritatta idea, filled w/ pasta. If you're willing to deep fry/pan fry, you could fry ravioli. Stealing an idea from Top Chef, you could freeze an egg yolk, use it to stuff in ravioli and fry--serve with Nepali sauce. You could also refrigerate pasta in muffin cups until firm (like mac and cheese idea), bread and fry. Use the mint chutney as a dip?

      What about just doing arancini, instead of pasta? That's great finger food and easy to doctor up with different fillings.

      1 Reply
      1. re: chowser
        joonjoon RE: chowser May 11, 2011 01:16 PM

        Thanks chowser, the freezing of egg yolk sounds like way too much work! lol.

        Love the arancini idea!! It would be great filled with some kind of italian/nepalese curry meat sauce.

      2. sunshine842 RE: joonjoon May 11, 2011 12:51 PM

        there's a restaurant in Tampa (which started as Bella Bella, then morphed into Bella Trattoria, and now is apparently Bella's Italian Cafe) that USED to serve homemade farfalle pasta that was cooked and then deep fried, sprinkled with grated parmigiano, and served with a side of red sauce for dipping.

        I swear we used to fight over it, then just give up and order a second plate.

        Alas, it doesn't seem to be on the menu any more.

        6 Replies
        1. re: sunshine842
          joonjoon RE: sunshine842 May 11, 2011 01:08 PM

          That sounds delicious...but how was it served? Can it be served finger food style?

          1. re: joonjoon
            sunshine842 RE: joonjoon May 11, 2011 01:09 PM

            Yep -- came on a big plate with the bowl of red sauce in the middle.

            Absolutely finger food, as it ends up about the same texture as a thick-cut chip -- a little bit greasy (but not bad) and a crunchy texture. Good stuff. Still don't know why I've never actually made it myself, as I've thought about it for parties a jillion times (probably because I deep-fry about 3 times a year.)

            If you did it with some of those fancy multi-colored shapes, it'd look like a million bucks, too.

            1. re: sunshine842
              gembellina RE: sunshine842 May 12, 2011 09:27 AM

              Deep-fried pasta was the first thing that came to my mind too. JO has a recipe: https://www.jamieoliver.com/bloggers/... (well that's not the recipe but you can decide if you like the look of it!)

              1. re: gembellina
                sunshine842 RE: gembellina May 12, 2011 10:50 AM

                Nope, that's not how it looked at all.

                Looked more like this (this is a sweet version, but closer to the idea)


          2. re: sunshine842
            jbsiegel RE: sunshine842 May 12, 2011 10:07 AM

            Bennigan's YEARS AGO used to serve the same thing! Loved it!

            1. re: jbsiegel
              sunshine842 RE: jbsiegel May 12, 2011 10:47 AM

              well, it had the same name, anyway...the stuff this little place in Tampa made was manna. The stuff at Bennigan's was good, but it wasn't qualified to wipe the bowl of dipping sauce of the other place (which wasn't all that much more expensive than Bennigan's, to my college budget's delight)

          3. c
            ceekskat RE: joonjoon May 11, 2011 12:57 PM

            How many people are you cooking for?

            Spiced meatball - I would prefer without bread
            Definitely meat on a stick

            Tortellini drizzled with cilantro pesto in skewers (or served with toothpicks). I've served the regular caprese in toothpick form (ovolini, grape tomatoes, both cut in half, & basil) & it was well received.

            Samosas (always a hit, you can use wonton wrappers for ease); I love the Deep brand mini frozen ones found in the Indian grocery stores.

            Something along the lines of naanizza.


            2 Replies
            1. re: ceekskat
              joonjoon RE: ceekskat May 11, 2011 01:07 PM

              There's going to be about 20 people..

              I love the samosa idea - I think I'm going to do a samosa with an italian sausage murphy filling (potatoes & cherry peppers). Looks like a samosa on the outside, tastes like sausage & peppers on the inside!

              Love the tortellini with cilantro pesto idea!!

              Naanizza? Is that like a naan pizza? Brilliant.

              1. re: joonjoon
                Phurstluv RE: joonjoon May 11, 2011 01:17 PM

                LOVE the Italian samosa idea!! Winner!!

            2. j
              juli5122 RE: joonjoon May 11, 2011 01:04 PM

              What about doing a small pasta, and serving it in those japanese soup spoons. I went to a party and they did risotto that way and I thought it was very clever. Good luck sounds delicious.

              1. Quine RE: joonjoon May 11, 2011 01:26 PM

                I think if she really loves Italian food then she knows and loves that it ain't all pasta.
                This website offers some downright yummy looking and italian finger foods:


                Otherwise how about gnocchi with various dips, pesto, cheese etc. fried raviolli with an asian chile dipping sauce. Mini lasagna roll-ups? Polenta cut into round,and fried (or not) with a sauce or topping?

                1. a
                  adido RE: joonjoon May 11, 2011 01:28 PM

                  I’ve made lasagnas in mini muffin cups. I used wonton wrappers so you don’t even have to boil the past first. I’ve used red sauce and fresh mozzarella and a spinach and artichoke dip as filings. The possibilities are endless and they are perfectly portable. There are also recipes out there for spaghetti pie – left over spaghetti with a binder you can bake and slice. You can also get good quality manicottis’ - bake and slice them into individual portions same with cannelloni. These are basically Americanized pasta dishes.

                  1. rcallner RE: joonjoon May 11, 2011 02:17 PM

                    I've served rectangular ravioli (cooked, then breaded and either baked or fried) as a hand appetizer on a platter dotted with either pesto or red sauce, interspersed to make the platter pretty.

                    1. ursy_ten RE: joonjoon May 11, 2011 02:31 PM

                      How about some stuffed giant pasta shells? I'm thinking like this:

                      1. Jay F RE: joonjoon May 11, 2011 03:51 PM

                        Really good fresh tortelloni on skewers. Put them on a platter and pour something salsa-esque on them.

                        1. v
                          valerie RE: joonjoon May 11, 2011 04:30 PM

                          Not really italian, but pasta...these mini mac and cheese bites. I have not made them, but I have it on my to do list -- my kids would love them (who wouldn't?).


                          1. perk RE: joonjoon May 11, 2011 06:10 PM

                            A caterer here in Los Angeles does lasagna cupcakes. I think I've seen recipes on Epicurious.

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