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Spaghetti at a dinner party?

cooktease Jan 17, 2014 05:39 PM

Is there any pasta dish fancy or special enough to serve at a dinner party?

While I have had success with homemade fettucini and DO know that that degree of preparation leads to delicious and pleasing results, I'm really hoping to find a use for some of the Barilla spaghetti rigati I was sent in bulk. Can it be jazzed up, or should I just explore other (slightly less convenient) avenues?

  1. b
    bob96 Jan 18, 2014 11:16 AM

    I'd recommend a short cut pasta, like gemelli or penne rigate (with ridges), for ease of eating, cleanliness, and easier bowl presentation. The following zucchini cream/pesto, from the cookbook author Rosetta Costantino, is ridiculously easy to make, and elegant, fragrant, and smoother and lighter than traditional herb-only pesto. Don't skip the bouillon cube--it gives hidden flavor, and is used commonly by Italian home cooks. A shower of freshly grated pecorino or parmigiano, and a fresh leaf of basil on top, makes this an elegant, delicious, and distinctive plate.http://www.food.com/recipe/pasta-with...

    1. coll Jan 18, 2014 09:47 AM

      Just got this in an email, some more ideas from Barilla themselves:

      1. c oliver Jan 18, 2014 07:35 AM

        Don't forget that OP is serving pasta as a SIDE DISH with a coconut curry butternut squash soup and broiled salmon. I missed that first time around!

        46 Replies
        1. re: c oliver
          coll Jan 18, 2014 07:37 AM

          Pasta is usually served as a first course, not a side dish. That's how I would do it anyway. She didn't say it was a side dish necessarily.

          1. re: coll
            c oliver Jan 18, 2014 07:39 AM

            In an Italian meal, yes. With that soup and the salmon, I'm betting not.

            1. re: c oliver
              coll Jan 18, 2014 07:41 AM

              I've never had pasta served with anything else (beside some bread), but maybe that's just in this part of the world. I don't even know how that would be accomplished...on the same plate with the salmon filet?

              1. re: coll
                c oliver Jan 18, 2014 07:46 AM

                Yep. And it's probably just in your "crowd." "Pasta" isn't necessarily only part of an Italian meal.

                1. re: c oliver
                  coll Jan 18, 2014 07:51 AM

                  Could have fooled me, and my "crowd" ;-)

                  So when is pasta not a part of an Italian meal, just out of curiosity.

                  1. re: coll
                    c oliver Jan 18, 2014 08:03 AM

                    You may want to start a thread about that. You might be surprised. I serve pasta frequently that's not part of an Italian meal.

                    1. re: c oliver
                      foodieX2 Jan 18, 2014 09:35 AM

                      As do I.

                      1. re: foodieX2
                        coll Jan 18, 2014 10:41 AM

                        Are we talking "pasta" or "noodles"? Just curious, examples?

                        1. re: coll
                          c oliver Jan 18, 2014 10:47 AM

                          Well, I suppose you now need to differentiate between your "pasta" and your "noodles."

                          I can't think of a 'shape' that I haven't served as a side dish for any number of dishes. But, again, I think this is a topic for its own thread if anyone is inclined.

                          1. re: coll
                            foodieX2 Jan 18, 2014 10:50 AM

                            pasta. Thought I still consider egg noodles to be pasta.

                            1. re: foodieX2
                              c oliver Jan 18, 2014 10:53 AM

                              Orzo is pasta, right. Macaroni? But, honestly, I use "pasta" as in long things like linguine as a side dish for, say, grilled chicken. With some kind of green as the other side dish. I'm surprised that coll hasn't heard of such a thing.

                              1. re: c oliver
                                foodieX2 Jan 18, 2014 11:07 AM

                                yes orzo is pasta and one of my favorite uses is Ina's roasted veggie one. Not what I consider "Italian".

                                I make lots of pasta salads in the summer. I use various shapes of pastas in lots of soups (chicken noodle, pho and other asian soups, etc) Another favorite in our house is dan dan noodles which I make with spaghetti when I don't have rice noodles.

                                And as you do pasta is often a side dish too.

                                1. re: foodieX2
                                  c oliver Jan 18, 2014 11:10 AM

                                  Oh, sheesh, I totally neglected all the Asian pastas! BTW, Andrea Nguyen's pho is great!

                                  1. re: c oliver
                                    foodieX2 Jan 18, 2014 11:20 AM

                                    just googled and that does look really good!

                                    1. re: foodieX2
                                      c oliver Jan 18, 2014 11:24 AM

                                      VERY good! I make the broth in a LARGE stockpot and then freeze in serving size portions. Super easy then to have a wonderful couple of bowls of pho.

                                      1. re: c oliver
                                        foodieX2 Jan 18, 2014 11:28 AM

                                        brilliant! It's making the broth that often stops me from making pho because it a big time commitment. You inspired me to make big batch!

                                        1. re: foodieX2
                                          c oliver Jan 18, 2014 11:30 AM

                                          YAY! It's quite luxurious to be able to say 'hey, let' have pho.' :)

                                          1. re: c oliver
                                            foodieX2 Jan 18, 2014 11:35 AM

                                            and not have to go out! (which is what I usually do when the craving strikes)

                                2. re: c oliver
                                  coll Jan 18, 2014 11:27 AM

                                  Do I sound like a 'Greens" kind of girl? Not that I don't haven't heard, or even made, them, but I don't think pasta as an accompaniment. Unless you are talking mac and cheese, which I feel confident in saying is not pasta.

                                  1. re: coll
                                    c oliver Jan 18, 2014 11:31 AM

                                    What's a "'Greens' kind of girl"? You lost me with that one.

                                    1. re: c oliver
                                      coll Jan 18, 2014 11:42 AM

                                      When I make "pasta" the only greens that go in there are fresh herbs, or maybe some spinach.

                                      1. re: coll
                                        c oliver Jan 18, 2014 11:44 AM

                                        So you don't serve a green vegetable along with pasta? Okey dokey.

                                        1. re: c oliver
                                          coll Jan 18, 2014 11:51 AM

                                          Not usually no. Unless you count salad.

                                    2. re: coll
                                      foodieX2 Jan 18, 2014 11:32 AM

                                      So even italian foods you don't serve pasta on side?

                                      What about things like veal scaloppine? One of my favorite dishes I ate at a small place outside of Vinci and it was served with garlicky greens and pasta as an accompaniment.

                                      1. re: foodieX2
                                        coll Jan 18, 2014 11:40 AM

                                        Not on the side, as a first course. I can't comment on your experience since I wasn't there, but I too have been in Italy and there is usually a progression of courses. Not all at once. Pasta and then the meat.

                                        1. re: coll
                                          foodieX2 Jan 18, 2014 11:47 AM

                                          There was progression of courses, in this case pasta was not one of them and the sautéed greens were such as what you find in the states-swiss chard. Though I had many others when living there- kale, turnip, rapini to name a few

                                3. re: coll
                                  BangorDin Jan 18, 2014 10:56 AM

                                  Mac and cheese, or macaroni salad with celery & relish & and mayonnaise don't seem Italian to me, but I get the point.

                                  1. re: BangorDin
                                    c oliver Jan 18, 2014 11:08 AM

                                    I get YOUR point.

                                    Not that wiki is the be all and end all, but here is some concrete info:


                  2. re: c oliver
                    cooktease Jan 18, 2014 07:53 AM

                    Yes yes, but I'm curious philosophically about the serving of pasta at parties in general, so I'm glad for the added conversation. I've learned a lot!

                    1. re: cooktease
                      c oliver Jan 18, 2014 08:37 AM

                      You may want to start a thread about that. Especially since coll has never heard of pasta as not being part of an Italian meal.

                      1. re: c oliver
                        coll Jan 18, 2014 08:39 AM

                        I waiting with bated breath!

                        1. re: c oliver
                          cooktease Jan 18, 2014 08:48 AM

                          Isn't that what this thread is already? I left out excessive specific detail in the original post for that reason, and the replies seem to be mostly addressing pasta in general.

                          After all, there will be future dinner parties.

                          1. re: cooktease
                            c oliver Jan 18, 2014 10:48 AM

                            Yes, but now you're digressing to generic discussions so will miss feedback. I don't care as I'm quite comfortable with my "PASTA" use.

                            1. re: c oliver
                              coll Jan 18, 2014 11:32 AM

                              As far as I'm concerned, pasta means Italian. Noodles are Chinese and egg noodles are Jewish/Eastern European. Orzo is middle eastern. Mac and cheese, 100% American. Maybe some will disagree but this is how I see it. I think this is an argument that no one can win, I'm sorry you don't want to see it that way. Pasta means Italian....Americans used to say Macaroni, same difference. Just sticking up for my heritage.

                              1. re: coll
                                c oliver Jan 18, 2014 11:38 AM

                                Er, weren't you the one who said that all pasta is Italian? Sorry. "Pasta" is a generic term. Egg noodles are Jewish? Orzo is Middle Eastern? Macaroni? Definitely Italian. It's not an argument at all IMO. It's just what is and isn't.

                                1. re: c oliver
                                  coll Jan 18, 2014 11:44 AM

                                  Now I see why we aren't in sync. Where does the word pasta come from then?

                                  1. re: coll
                                    c oliver Jan 18, 2014 11:47 AM


                                    So, what about egg noodles, orzo, macaroni? Aren't they all pastas?

                                    1. re: c oliver
                                      coll Jan 18, 2014 11:53 AM

                                      No read your link: "Pasta is a staple food[1] of traditional Italian cuisine". Macaroni is just an old fashioned word for pasta, used, not sure if used by Italians as much as not.

                                2. re: coll
                                  foodieX2 Jan 18, 2014 11:54 AM

                                  Orzo is middle eastern?? I may be mistaken but I thought Orzo is the Italian/latin name for barley. When I lived there it was most often packaged as risoni but you still saw it called orzo as well.

                                  1. re: foodieX2
                                    coll Jan 18, 2014 12:00 PM

                                    Orzo is pasta that is shaped like wheat (or perhaps barley, if you have a good imagination).

                                    1. re: coll
                                      foodieX2 Jan 18, 2014 12:04 PM

                                      Oh I *know* it is pasta that is supposed be shaped like small pieces of barley, hence the name.

                                      Frankly I'm just amazed that a self proclaimed "italian" considers it middle eastern. And that Pasta all'uovo is "jewish"

                                      1. re: foodieX2
                                        coll Jan 18, 2014 12:24 PM

                                        Egg noodles are "Jewish", at least here in NY. However we don't put Italics around the word here, it's not a slur as far as I know. Anyway Italian "pasta" made with eggs is not called egg noodles that I've ever heard. It's just pasta, made with eggs.

                                        This whole conversation is getting ridiculous and OT and I am on to bigger and better things. See you on the next thread.

                                        1. re: foodieX2
                                          c oliver Jan 18, 2014 07:45 PM

                                          foodie, the first time I ever had orzo was from the Greek 'section' in Frugal Gourmet Cooks Three Cuisines. Last I checked Greece was in Europe. And 'elbow macaroni' is pasta. Again, I think coll is referring to regional, Italian-American jargon.

                                    2. re: coll
                                      foodieX2 Jan 18, 2014 11:59 AM

                                      And another. So in your mind Pasta all'uovo (egg noodles) are considered jewish??

                                      1. re: foodieX2
                                        coll Jan 18, 2014 12:03 PM

                                        I make pasta with egg. Egg noodles, as such (like Goodmans) is something else all together here in the USA.

                                        1. re: coll
                                          foodieX2 Jan 18, 2014 12:08 PM

                                          semantics but if it keeps your heritage "clean" in your mind, go for it

                          2. Veggo Jan 18, 2014 07:26 AM

                            I frequently prepare sofrito with ample garlic and oil, add clams, mussels, and shrimp, and serve over linguini, and yes, grated romano. I know which friends have dietary restrictions or preferences.

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: Veggo
                              coll Jan 18, 2014 07:31 AM

                              Unfortunately the OP has a shellfish allergy. Your sauce sounds good though. I often do Fra Diablo with a mix of everything for company myself.

                              1. re: coll
                                Springhaze2 Jan 18, 2014 07:36 AM

                                And the OP is already planning to serve coconut curry butternut squash soup as a starter and broiled salmon as the main entree.

                                But yes, that does sound good. I just might need to make some kind of clams/mussels/shrimp over pasta dish today.

                                1. re: coll
                                  Veggo Jan 18, 2014 07:40 AM

                                  I missed the fine print not in the original post.

                                  1. re: Veggo
                                    coll Jan 18, 2014 07:42 AM

                                    It's OK I do that myself all the time!

                                    1. re: coll
                                      Veggo Jan 18, 2014 07:50 AM

                                      More fine print - kosher also. I can't be of help.

                              2. mbfant Jan 18, 2014 06:35 AM

                                Pasta for a dinner party is fine, but specifically spaghetti takes some thought, as you have realized. Make it both easy to cook and easy to eat.

                                Easy to cook means as little as possible to do after the guests have arrived. The 10 or so minutes while the pasta is actually cooking are available to you for work because you don't want to abandon the cooking pasta on the stove. Avoid anything like carbonara or cacio e pepe that are tricky to make in quantity and require a certain tranquility of mind and careful temperature control. They're too risky.

                                Easy to eat means nothing too oily or tomatoey. A small amount of tomato and lots of cheese, which helps the pasta stick together and makes it easier to twirl and keep on the fork.

                                Unfortunately tomatoey and oily sauces are the ones that go best with spaghetti.

                                So what does that leave you? Not bolognese (which does NOT go with spaghetti in any case), which is too heavy for the rest of your menu, as would be any meat sauce containing pieces of meat. Meat sauce in which meat has been cooked and then removed would do, but add plenty of cheese to the pasta before adding the sauce. Gricia (like carbonara without the egg) goes well with spaghetti and would work if you can get good guanciale or pancetta. "Umido di cipolla" (there's a recipe in "Sauces & Shapes") is made of onions cooked till very soft with a small amount of tomato, so that would work. Another that's good with long pasta is crema di peperoni, pureed roasted bell peppers.

                                16 Replies
                                1. re: mbfant
                                  coll Jan 18, 2014 07:12 AM

                                  For some reason, I had the feeling the OP really meant "pasta" not "spaghetti" from the mention of "fetticini", "rigate" and "fancy pasta dish". If that is the case, I was going to suggest some type of stuffed pasta like ravioli, but to me the rigati is fancy enough for most purposes. Maybe with a primavera sauce? Spaghetti is more for family type meals in our house.

                                  1. re: mbfant
                                    Puffin3 Jan 18, 2014 07:12 AM

                                    I like the 'tooth' of rigati. Depending on how many courses you are planning a heavy pasta like rigati can be pretty filling.
                                    How about making a light aioli type sauce? This is one I sort of accidently discovered: In a food processor add six hard cooked egg yolks. Six whole garlic cloves which have been blanched. At the lowest speed drizzle in enough good OO to make a light thin dressing. S&P. Add a few drops of fresh squeezed lemon juice to your taste. Toss this into the steaming hot rigati. Dress with some capers.
                                    I like to add a teaspoon of anchovy paste to the processor at the beginning. It's optional.
                                    In some places along the Mediterranean coast they toss in an anchovy into pretty much every savory dish.
                                    No cheese.

                                    1. re: Puffin3
                                      greygarious Jan 18, 2014 08:47 AM

                                      You are confusing rigati (an adjective that means ridged and yes, there is ridged spaghetti) with rigatoni, a ridged tubular pasta.

                                      1. re: greygarious
                                        coll Jan 18, 2014 09:26 AM

                                        When I hear "rigati" this is what I think of (not Ronzoni though)

                                        Rigatoni is fat penne rigate.

                                        1. re: coll
                                          mbfant Jan 18, 2014 02:07 PM

                                          Rigatoni have nothing to do with penne except that they are both tubular. The opening of penne is quite a bit smaller and penne are cut on the bias, rigatoni straight across.

                                          I had never heard of spaghetti rigati till today. Indeed Barilla makes them, but I don't THINK they're a traditional shape. In any case, whereas it's true that the righe of pasta rigata help a little to grab the sauce, what is more important is the texture of the pasta itself, which should be quite rough. Rough-surfaced pasta (extruded through bronze) doesn't just make the sauce stick, it actually absorbs the sauce, which is better.

                                          1. re: mbfant
                                            bob96 Jan 18, 2014 08:59 PM

                                            Maureen, I've tried the Barilla spaghetti rigati, and it;s an unusually odd and unpleasant cut--neither fish nor fowl. I've never seen the form outside the Barilla line, either.

                                            1. re: mbfant
                                              coll Jan 19, 2014 04:18 AM

                                              I guess I was picturing ziti, which I know is NOT ridged but has the straight cut. I use both of those interchangeably myself,I even mix together. I'm not a purist by any means: It's all a big happy tubular family to me.

                                              My true favorite though is mezzi rigatoni, for something a little different.

                                      2. re: mbfant
                                        calumin Jan 18, 2014 07:23 AM

                                        This Sicilian pesto, with cherry tomatoes and almonds, would go well with spaghetti.


                                        1. re: mbfant
                                          cooktease Jan 18, 2014 07:40 AM

                                          Thank you for the very thoughtful comment!

                                          You are right--I am talking specifically about spaghetti. Barilla was promoting a relatively new pasta shape which they call "spaghetti rigati," basically spaghetti with ridges. I do like a lot of things about it--it holds sauce better than typical spaghetti, and it's great when you just want something quick and convinient. But I would not call it "fancy" or "special" on its own.

                                          Thank you for introducing me to umido di cipolla--that looks lovely and do-able.

                                          Really great information on this thread in general. Thank you everyone for taking my query so seriously!

                                          I do have some weird confounding variables, like the fact that my housemates like to keep a kosher kitchen, so the meal is kosher dairy (no pancetta in house for me). But both of your recommendations look great and will probably go well with my main course.

                                          Thank you everyone! Luckily my friends are mostly arty bohemian New Yorkers for whom a home cooked meal is a novelty in and of itself. I think this will go well!

                                          Thanks again!

                                          1. re: cooktease
                                            Berheenia Jan 18, 2014 11:31 AM

                                            I looked up Barilla spaghetti rigati and it looks interesting. I've never had a ridged spaghetti before but anything that keeps the sauce from sliding off appeals to me as I am a big sauce person. Maybe an Arabiata sauce would work with your menu? I think I'll try a meat sauce with my spaghetti rigati as soon as I buy some more pasta. Currently the pantry is full.

                                            1. re: Berheenia
                                              coll Jan 18, 2014 11:36 AM

                                              Also try buccatini sometime, it is marvelous with a thick sauce.

                                              1. re: coll
                                                c oliver Jan 18, 2014 11:42 AM

                                                Regarding bucatini:


                                                1. re: coll
                                                  Berheenia Jan 19, 2014 05:45 AM

                                                  Thanks I have tried it and didn't care for it at all- it was too too dense a pasta for me.

                                                  1. re: Berheenia
                                                    coll Jan 19, 2014 05:57 AM

                                                    Luckily there are hundreds of pasta shapes, something for everyone ;-) Buccatini is very heavy, I agree. I also like angel hair, for something lighter and more elegant.

                                                    1. re: coll
                                                      bob96 Jan 19, 2014 10:14 AM

                                                      I wouldn't call bucatini heavy, properly prepared. It's more resilient than spaghetti, and can, as a result, be a little harder to manage neatly in the plate. But I find it extremely satisfying, and the form works beautifully with ragu and heartier sauces.

                                                      1. re: bob96
                                                        coll Jan 19, 2014 10:32 AM

                                                        Personally I love it! But I can see that others might find it too different, if only used to the usual suspects.

                                          2. b
                                            BobbieSue Jan 18, 2014 05:48 AM

                                            My brother had a pasta party with a variety of pasta sauces and let the guests try what they like. He set it up like a salad bar, buffet style, with the sauces, cheese toppings, breads and garlic, olive oil, etc. different wines. It was fun.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: BobbieSue
                                              BobbieSue Jan 18, 2014 05:54 AM

                                              I forgot to mention he also had a few different pastas as well.

                                            2. r
                                              Roland Parker Jan 18, 2014 01:10 AM

                                              My grandmother, who hosted a lot of formal dinner parties, thought nothing of serving individual chicken pot pies on good china and sterling silver. Everyone loved them. I've also been guests at very formal dinners in Italy where pasta was served as one of the courses.

                                              There's a mistake in assuming that if you're having a formal dinner party then the food must be fussy. That's not the case. If the food looks and tastes good, you're fine. Even a plain homemade tomato sauce and rigati, served in small pretty bowls, will look just as nice anything more "fussy" and will probably be enjoyed more. Of course it helps to have good wines too ;)

                                              1. t
                                                Teague Jan 17, 2014 08:18 PM

                                                I live in Kansas City, and everyone I know is extremely casual, there really is no such thing in my life as a formal dinner party. If you wear slacks and not jeans, it's pretty darn fancy. I have enjoyed lovely spaghetti and meatball suppers with friends, and it was delightful because I love them and the spaghetti was fine. The pasta was from a box and the meatballs were divine. The wine is usually excellent, and the company is even better. I don't really understand formality. I am sure it has its place. Just not in my life I guess.

                                                1. q
                                                  quddous Jan 17, 2014 08:09 PM

                                                  I do a lot of dinner parties at my own place and the dish I make most often is spaghetti bolognese. It's very hard to go wrong making it.

                                                  If I was taking spaghetti to someone else's house, I would probably go with a pesto sauce (like the one recommended by wattacetti) as they do better cold.

                                                  1. a
                                                    alarash Jan 17, 2014 08:08 PM

                                                    I'd make Cacio e Pepe and serve it as a second dish in small and elegant portions. It takes a bit of practice, but once you've got it down (took me 3-4 tries), it's delicious and elegant.


                                                    1. d
                                                      Dirtywextraolives Jan 17, 2014 07:21 PM

                                                      Do you have a sauce or prep in mind? Some are more "fancy" and easy to pull off than others. And how many are you serving? And what else is on the menu? This would n help me give you suggestions.

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: Dirtywextraolives
                                                        cooktease Jan 17, 2014 07:56 PM

                                                        I'm happy to go in any direction with sauce or preparation.

                                                        Other things being served: a coconut curry butternut squash soup, broiled salmon and I've made a simple syrup with fresh ginger that'll probably go in bourbon based cocktails.

                                                        1. re: cooktease
                                                          Dirtywextraolives Jan 17, 2014 09:14 PM

                                                          Ok, then I would do a simple pasta sauce like an aglio olio (oil & garlic) or butter and herbs if serving it with the salmon. You don't want to be competing with the fish with a tomato or meat sauce.

                                                          If serving it as a separate course, then you can be a bit more adventurous with ingredients & flavors.

                                                          1. re: cooktease
                                                            Springhaze2 Jan 18, 2014 07:11 AM

                                                            My thought was something like this sauce served on the pasta with your broiled salmon on top (not shredded and mixed in). Sometimes I add peas or capers. Just not sure how it will work with a coconut curry soup as the starter.


                                                            Or this: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/whole-wheat-spaghetti-with-lemon-basil-and-salmon-recipe/index.html

                                                            Or how about something like this, but maybe cut down on the jalapenos ?

                                                        2. greygarious Jan 17, 2014 07:04 PM

                                                          Somebody boycotting Barilla send their already-bought pasta to you? Happily, I only had one box to chuck, and the squirrels ate it once I mixed it with peanut butter.

                                                          Seriously, though, if I were serving spaghetti to guests I'd make it known ahead of time, and make it clear they should feel free to dress down. No reason to ruin a favorite article of clothing with a fatty splash of tomato or other sauce. I'd serve Spaghetti Carbonara and call it Thanksgiving a la Trillin (google it).

                                                          8 Replies
                                                          1. re: greygarious
                                                            c oliver Jan 18, 2014 01:13 AM

                                                            One of my faves is Hazan's carbonara. A little arugula salad with OO and vinegar and shaved Parm. Some bread. Sparkling rose' (a rec from the Wine board a few years ago). Simple but everyone always seems to think it's special. And no tomato-splashing :)

                                                            1. re: greygarious
                                                              cooktease Jan 18, 2014 08:50 AM

                                                              Seriously? You would warn your social circle? You're worried about 'ruining' things? I didn't specify tomato sauce in the initial post, but even if I had, I'm glad I'm not surrounded by people as fussy as you. That's no party at all.

                                                              1. re: greygarious
                                                                foodieX2 Jan 18, 2014 09:32 AM

                                                                Your friends are that uptight (and clumsy) that you have to *warn* them when serving tomato based dishes? I assume you also don't serve red wine, beets, dark sauces or gravies? only clear based soups and liquids?

                                                                Never mind that a traditional carbonara can really leave a stain, especially on silk. Would you tell the men to leave the ties at home and the gals to wear washable cotton?

                                                                1. re: foodieX2
                                                                  coll Jan 18, 2014 09:33 AM

                                                                  How about lobster bibs, and be done with it!

                                                                  1. re: coll
                                                                    foodieX2 Jan 18, 2014 09:37 AM

                                                                    LOL! Somehow I think that grey would consider any kind of bib to be gauche.

                                                                    1. re: foodieX2
                                                                      coll Jan 18, 2014 09:39 AM

                                                                      Retro/fun would be my take. Start the party off on the right foot! .

                                                                      1. re: foodieX2
                                                                        greygarious Jan 18, 2014 03:24 PM

                                                                        Not at all - ponchos all around, for all I care! Plenty of people - including CH posters - mention consideration of what they're wearing before choosing a restaurant cuisine or before making their menu choice. Unless you're klutzy, you can probably manage wine, gravy, etc. But stringy foods splash and drip more. If I know there's going to be wet strands of food, I'm not wearing something light-colored that can only be dry-cleaned.

                                                                        1. re: greygarious
                                                                          cooktease Jan 18, 2014 11:53 PM

                                                                          My apologies for implying otherwise.

                                                                2. w
                                                                  wattacetti Jan 17, 2014 06:35 PM

                                                                  At times to make things "special enough" for a dinner party, you might just want to take the simpler route and be a little more soignée with your plating. Or at least more than I did the last time I served Barilla with some ramp pesto.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: wattacetti
                                                                    cooktease Jan 17, 2014 07:56 PM

                                                                    Looks pretty to me!

                                                                  2. girloftheworld Jan 17, 2014 06:24 PM

                                                                    pasta with a nice lobster sauce can be good. Fancy and special dont have to be the same thing. there is a big difference between a spaghetti dinner held in a gym by the cub scouts and a pasta dinner prepared lovingly for guests with good wine and fabulous conversation. Heck a milllion Itlian Grandmascant be wrong

                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                    1. re: girloftheworld
                                                                      Worldwide Diner Jan 17, 2014 07:32 PM

                                                                      I had a wonderful linguine with lobster at Street & Co. In Portland, ME. http://www.streetandcompany.net/home

                                                                      There was a whole lobster in that dish though so it ain't cheap.

                                                                      1. re: girloftheworld
                                                                        cooktease Jan 17, 2014 07:58 PM

                                                                        I so agree with you--it helps to be in the company of loving friends.

                                                                        Unfortunately I'm cursed with a shellfish allergy so I will never know the joys of lobster sauce :(

                                                                        1. re: cooktease
                                                                          Jeanne Jan 18, 2014 02:46 AM

                                                                          Your shell fish allergy is really unfortunate cooktease. If you're also serving salmon do you want a pasta side dish or main dish?

                                                                          How about a spaghetti in an alfredo dill type sauce with the salmon lightly mixed into the pasta? With lots of dill (and of course garlic too) and freshly grated parmesan? One of my favorite pastas.

                                                                          1. re: Jeanne
                                                                            c oliver Jan 18, 2014 03:28 AM

                                                                            I'm confused. OP didn't mention salmon. ???

                                                                            1. re: c oliver
                                                                              coll Jan 18, 2014 03:33 AM

                                                                              She did, downstream.

                                                                              1. re: coll
                                                                                c oliver Jan 18, 2014 03:49 AM

                                                                                Oops, obviously I didn't read everything. Then forget the rec for carbonara also. OP is obviously look for a side dish.

                                                                            2. re: Jeanne
                                                                              cooktease Jan 18, 2014 04:19 AM

                                                                              I love that idea! Thank you, I think I'll go that direction!

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