Author Topic: Pasta Feed Help  (Read 4063 times)

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mbbored

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Pasta Feed Help
« on: September 10, 2012, 06:31:56 PM »
Hey folks, it looks like I have 10 days to plan a pasta dinner for 30 with $100, for meat eaters, vegans, and vegetarians. My menu so far looks like

Lots of noodles (short? Long? Both?)
Meat sauce
Marinara
Alfredo sauce
Big salad
Sauteed veggies
Freshly grated parmesan
Bread & olive oil
Chocolate cake
Fruit bowl

Should I add appetizers? Do I have a budget for that? How much pasta and sauce to make?

NyaChan

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Re: Pasta Feed Help
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2012, 06:39:34 PM »
Not sure of amounts, but if you are short on money, I think you can cut the meat sauce and just have white & red - the great thing about pasta is that a lack of meat is not immediately apparent or a problem (for myself that is...).  With the variety of items including bread & veggies & salad for sides, I don't think you need appetizers unless you are planning on a long wait before serving - especially since I don't think $100 bucks will cover appetizers also if you are buying all the ingredients that make up the things you mentioned. 

jpcher

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Re: Pasta Feed Help
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2012, 07:33:12 PM »
I agree with NyaChan about the meat sauce. Maybe, budget allowing, grill up some Italian sausages and slice (or crumble) on the side if people want to add it to their marinara. I understand that the meat takes on flavor when cooked in a sauce, but we're looking at a tight budget.

Or sautee some cubed chicken breast with a basil pesto (or spiced as you like) instead of the sausages. Chicken will work well with both the alfredo and marinara.

Mushrooms are a good alternative to meat and cheaper, too. Maybe do a side dish of mushrooms (sauteed in a savory broth) instead of the above suggested sausage/chicken.

What are you planning for the sauteed veggies?*

Pasta? I think I would go with a spaghetti and a penne or rigatoni for variety. The pasta is the least expensive, so go with plenty of this.

Maybe add a basil pesto to your table (small jar about $5-6, served in a bowl with a small spoon) This would work well for a 3rd sauce. You won't need much because of your other sauces.


Appetizers? Depends on your schedule. You already mentioned bread and olive oil. What about serving that for the appetizer? Maybe slice a few tomatoes splashed with balsamic . . . what isn't eaten during the appetizer phase can always be brought to the dinner table.


Good luck! I really think you can do this on a $100 budget. ;D





*You can take this for what it's worth (my own personal preference :-\) Please stay away from green bell peppers! In my opinion, they are overpowering and the other veggies soak up the flavor of the green bells and that's all I can taste. But that's just me. ;)




eta: I just googled "How much pasta?" and it seems like the general consensus is 1 lb. per 4 people if the pasta is the main course.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2012, 07:41:33 PM by jpcher »

buvezdevin

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Re: Pasta Feed Help
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2012, 10:46:25 PM »
Depending on how your budget works out, you may want to go with just a red marinara sauce, and have a "meat" version and a vegan version.  Or, as a PP suggested, have some cooked crumbled Italian or other sausage to customize.  Since vegans won't eat a typical Alfredo sauce, I would skip that unless you really want it, and by using a single base sauce, use any extra budget to up the veg range or other items.

I do think it would be great to offer two types of pasta, seconding the spaghetti and rigatoni - but really any type of long noodle and a short shaped version would be nice.
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mbbored

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Re: Pasta Feed Help
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2012, 10:47:21 PM »
Thanks for the responses so far! I love the idea of pesto: I'm trying to do this all from scratch and my basil plant is going a little nuts. As for the veggies, I'm leaning away from sauteed veggies and towards my roasted broccoli which converts non-broccoli eater.

Isometric

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Re: Pasta Feed Help
« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2012, 11:17:15 PM »
If you have a basil plant, pesto is perfect! I love pesto but it can get a bit expensive if you're buying ready made.

I agree with two types of pasta - I know I avoid eating longer stuff around others because it gets a bit messy! Penne & fettuchini (sp?) would be my picks. Pasta is super cheap, generic brands here run $1 per bag. I'd be tempted to get 15, probably overkill at 1/2 bag each but you don't have to cook it all.

Re the vegies and salad, you probably don't need to do both, if the budget is looking a bit tight! I'd probably go with butter/marg for the bread, instead or as well as olive oil.

I'd also just double check the ingredients of the pasta and sauces for the vegan, should be ok especially as you're doing a lot yourself, but milk products and non vegan/vegetarian E numbers (e.g. 120 red coloring - carmine/cochineal) seem to sneak in a lot of places!

PastryGoddess

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Re: Pasta Feed Help
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2012, 01:20:14 AM »
If you want to do vegan pasta sauce you can either make it from scratch or use Newmans Own. It's the only vegan pasta sauce I know of that is sold in most major markets.

If you definitely want to do a meat sauce a large family pack of ground beef or turkey will do.  Not sure of the markets near you, but where I am most markets have ground beef or turkey on sale every week.  I've got ground turkey on sale for $3.49 at my local store

Poor mans bruschetta to go with your bread and olive oil: 2 cans of diced tomatoes, an onion, fresh basil, olive oil, salt, and garlic.  Chop all together throw in a bowl and call it a day.  If you get everything on sale it'll cost you less than 5 bucks

Why don't you do a roasted vegetable medley?  People can add that to their pasta if they want

O'Dell

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Re: Pasta Feed Help
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2012, 06:00:06 AM »
I say go with short pasta like penne or farfalle. I love pasta! But I don't like long pasta, spaghetti in particular, for larger dinners. Not only is it messy to eat at the best of times, if it gets cool it stiffens and becomes unappetizing and even messier!

If you want to offer different kinds of pasta and your budget allows, why not offer different shapes but also different flavors such as whole grain pasta or veggie flavored pasta? They usually aren't too much more expensive than regular.

I like the sound of the pesto too. Walnuts instead of pine-nuts will be less expensive. There are vegan recipes out there.
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JonGirl

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Re: Pasta Feed Help
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2012, 06:39:34 AM »



What about spinach and ricotta cannaloni with tomato sauce?
Or a beef ravioli with meat sauce. They always go down well.
Stewart/Colbert '16

greencat

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Re: Pasta Feed Help
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2012, 07:05:45 AM »
I agree with prior advice to nix the alfredo sauce - it's expensive and a large array of people can't eat it, both vegans and any lactose-intolerant.  You can make mini-meatballs fairly cheaply, cook them in advance, and then have them separately in a crockpot in a bit of sauce so they soak up the flavor - ground beef is usually $1/lb or less in the 6+lb large packages from walmart.

For the far fewer people that can't eat tomatoes (heartburn problems as well as allergies and personal preferences) they should be able to toss their pasta with olive oil and spices.

Check your diners for nut allergies though since you're planning on pesto - I've seen recipes for making it without the nuts (and the substitute ingredients are, as a bonus, cheaper!)

Stuffed mushrooms are a fairly easy and cheap appetizer - and there are many different ways you can stuff them to make them vegan or vegetarian friendly.

My personal vote on the pasta type is for rotini.   It's better to serve a shaped pasta instead of a long one for group meals because they're a lot less messy.  One of the common supermarket brands also happens to make a whole grain tricolor rotini that is made with some different vegetables in the pasta.

Doing roasted veggies en masse is easier than doing satueed veggies en masse.

Oh Joy

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Re: Pasta Feed Help
« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2012, 07:10:36 AM »
Who makes up most of the guest list?  Reason I ask is that pasta feeds around here are often for teenaged boys on sports teams, who often don't care much about what they eat in a group setting as long as there's a lot of it and nothing too strange.  Sometimes parents are fed as well.

mbbored

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Re: Pasta Feed Help
« Reply #11 on: September 11, 2012, 11:04:00 AM »
Who makes up most of the guest list?  Reason I ask is that pasta feeds around here are often for teenaged boys on sports teams, who often don't care much about what they eat in a group setting as long as there's a lot of it and nothing too strange.  Sometimes parents are fed as well.

I'm feeding fellow grad students and their significant others: we're in our 20s/30s/40s, the crowd will be 70% female, and 50% international (if that makes a diffference).

Thanks for the advice about sticking with short noodles: that makes a lot of sense. And O'Dell, I love the idea of having both regular and whole grain pasta. This is California and a "healthier" option is never unappreciated.

greencat

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Re: Pasta Feed Help
« Reply #12 on: September 11, 2012, 11:07:05 AM »
I'd suggest going for a home-made sauce then - your guests will appreciate the difference - and it's cheaper to make a big pot than to buy jars of sauce!

audrey1962

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Re: Pasta Feed Help
« Reply #13 on: September 11, 2012, 11:34:01 AM »
This is what I would do:

One sauce: Marinara (a vegan sauce or make your own)
Two types of pasta: one short noodle (such as penne), one long noodle
Put everything else on the side, including the meats and cheeses

lady_disdain

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Re: Pasta Feed Help
« Reply #14 on: September 11, 2012, 11:39:16 AM »
This is what I would do:

One sauce: Marinara (a vegan sauce or make your own)
Two types of pasta: one short noodle (such as penne), one long noodle
Put everything else on the side, including the meats and cheeses

I would only add a second sauce (pesto, since basil is available). Easy to make, cheap if you substitute the pine nuts and it freezes well in case of leftovers.

Have you thought of drinks yet?