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Necessary to serve a green veggie if main course is pasta?

If I make shrimp scampi over pasta as my main course, do I need to serve a veggie alongside? I was thinking maybe a side salad or a 1st course salad or ?. And I want to serve it in these pretty pasta bowls so there isn't really a plate to put the veggie on the side. But then I worry that the meal will look too pale. Do I need some baby broccoli or ??? on a separate dish?
I have this problem with fettucini alfredo too or pasta carbonara.

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  1. Throw some chopped parsley on top and call it a day.

    1 Reply
    1. I would serve a salad or vegetable as a first course--broccoli or rabe would be Italian--and then serve the pasta on it's own. If you make sure to set the shrimp on top, you won't have that pale a plate. Of course parsley could give you a green hit or you could try chives--if you are happy having either of those flavors in your dish.

      1 Reply
      1. re: escondido123

        I second the idea of a salad. A fresh, crisp salad with a nice vinaigrette is a nice contrast to the richness of the pasta dish.

      2. Use a combination of spinach and regular pasta.....ala * Paglia e Fieno*.....or Straw and Hay pasta.


        4 Replies
        1. re: fourunder

          i don't like this sort of thing because the pastas do not cook in the same amount of time.

          you don't "need" to serve a green, but something besides pasta and shrimp will feel more like a complete meal. you could set side plates and do do a platter of roasted tomatoes, peppers and tapenade, and/or a platter of roasted broccoli or asparagus.

          1. re: hotoynoodle

            i don't like this sort of thing because the pastas do not cook in the same amount of time.

            Are you saying the the small amount of spinach used to color the pasta affects the overall cooking time? If one pasta says 10 minutes and the other says 9 minutes......start with the 10 minute pasta and when the timer hits 9, you drop in the other. It's that simple and done in homes and commercial kitchens every day.

            1. re: fourunder

              was picturing a package of pre-mixed, like that tri-colored rotini people use for pasta salad.

        2. I'd just through a salad together and call it a day. With fettucini alfredo and carbonara I will sometimes toss in some frozen peas or broccoli if I have them.

          1. Serve your salad Italian style -- after the pasta.

            1. I'd serve a salad as a starter before the pasta. Or sometimes, after the pasta

              But never with the pasta. Except, for reasons lost in family history, with lasagne, which we also have with salad.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Harters

                I think it's because lasagne is the only pasta dish that we eat on plates and not in bowls. So it's easy to put a scoop of salad on the same plate as the pasta. Whereas it's awkward to eat out of two bowls (I don't serve salads on plates). Lasagne is the only pasta dish that I feel like I need to have a salad with it.

                1. re: viperlush

                  Interesting point about the two bowls.

                  I always like salad with pasta dishes, but it is awkward to eat them at the same time for exactly the reason you describe, I think--I almost always serve the salad before.

                  1. re: IndyGirl

                    I like it served after, makes a nice interlude between pasta and dessert, especially if the pasta is rich.

                    1. re: magiesmom

                      Yeah, I have never done this but know it's traditional to do so. I think I'll try it!

              2. For me, a meal should have a vegetable. With the pasta dishes you mention especially, since they contain no vegetables, I'd include salad of some sort--either as a side on a salad plate or as a separate course since you want to use your bowls.

                1 Reply
                1. re: nomadchowwoman

                  A good mix of salad..................or mushrooms (sauteed in butter and evo) with spinach and thin slice red onion added to the mushrooms ( I like Baby Portobellos)one pot or pan .

                2. If I do the salad as a first course I was leaning towards arugula with pears, blue cheese, dried cranberries & toasted pecans...dressing TBD. Or some kind of composed salad. One of his favorites that I made was red grapefruit and sliced avocado in a pinwheel with basil vinagrette and sprinkled with toasted pine nuts--big hit with the man. I don't see us having the salad after the meal. As far as the green pasta, I already bought pasta last night so that's out.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: sparkareno

                    if it's an ina garten recipe, lol, i am quite sure it's very rich. i'd skip the cheese on the salad.

                  2. You could definietley just serve a salad with it, as suggested so far. If you do, I would suggest robust greens. The suggestion of throwing some peas in at the end is also good. I'll throw out one more option, which is to cook some broccoli florets, done plain, but seasoned - i.e. boil quickly in salted water. Then arrange a few florets around the edge of the pasta bowls. Acts as a garnish, but a reasonable vegetable, at the same time. You could do other veggies as well. I like to see a plate with color on it, personally. You could also add some strips of roasted red pepper, and have a very colorful plate.

                    1. Forget about serving courses or sides.....go for all three....the salad, vegetable and Scampi.....served family style. Everyone will be happy.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: fourunder

                        No, there are only 2 of us & it is for VD so I want it to be a little elegant. I am making Ina Garten's baked Scampi & serving it over pasta....it has browned bread crumbs on top & parsley and big butterflied shrimp with the tails sticking up so it will look nice.

                          1. re: sparkareno

                            Then it depends on how much you want to eat (prolong) before you move onto desert in bed.

                            1. re: fourunder

                              Believe me....it has all been well planned. There will be an intermission between appetizers & dinner. LOL

                                1. re: magiesmom

                                  As Dan Savage always says, enjoy your Valentine's Day first (wink wink), then eat dinner. Then you can enjoy each activity as much as possible :)