Party with Pasta: Celebrate, It’s National Pasta Month!
Pasta Tips for Easy Entertaining
NEW YORK, NY, October 2, 2014 – For hundreds of years, pasta has been an integral part of Americans’ diets and one of our most beloved foods. Naturally low in sodium and cholesterol-free, nutritionists agree that pasta makes the perfect foundation for nutrient-dense food partners, such as fiber-filled vegetables and beans, heart-healthy fish and monounsaturated oils, antioxidant-rich tomato sauce and protein-packed cheeses, poultry and lean meats. It is also a convenient, cost-effective and wholesome solution to entertaining. From popular pasta salads to decadent dinners, pasta is easy to prepare and can be incorporated into hundreds of different recipes and types of cuisines.
To celebrate National Pasta Month this October, Pasta Fits has launched a contest where visitors simply vote on their favorite pasta party meal for a chance to win a cash prize! To enter, visit our Facebook page or contest page and fill in your information. Pasta Fits will also be launching a new video series offering insider cooking tips and ideas!
“I love to prepare pasta when I entertain because it doesn’t take much time and is always a crowd pleaser,” says Diane Welland, Registered Dietitian. “You can incorporate lean proteins and almost any type of vegetable in most pasta recipes to create a healthy and delicious meal for your guests.”
According to Pasta Fits, the National Pasta Association’s digital culinary and nutritional resource which issues a new recipe each week, the most popular recipes of 2014 included pasta salads, vegetarian and vegan dishes, and new twists on classics, such as macaroni and cheese.
Welland offers the following tips for preparing pasta meals that will impress your guests:
- Garnish with fresh basil or other herbs
A great way to enhance the flavors of your pasta dish without upping salt intake is using freshly chopped herbs. Popular herbs that pair well with pasta dishes include basil, oregano and parsley. All of these herbs can be used in large quantities in pasta dishes without sacrificing the flavor of the dish. More potent herbs such as rosemary, sage and thyme are other great options, but should be used sparingly, as they can overpower the flavors of your pasta dish.
- Fill your plate with color
Pasta is an excellent foundation for a healthy meal and can be paired with a multitude of fruits and vegetables. The best pasta dishes are often the ones that are the most colorful, and incorporate a wide variety of nutritious veggies and fruits in them! Dark leafy greens like spinach and kale are packed with healthy vitamins such as vitamin K and folate, and can be easily incorporated into your pasta dish. Orange vegetables like carrots and butternut squash also pair up well with pasta and are full of vitamin C and beta carotene. Red vegetables like red peppers and tomatoes, high in vitamins A and C, are always a favorite. Don’t be afraid to try new combinations with you pasta dishes; the possibilities are endless!
- Jazz up an old classic
One of the many reasons why pasta is a favorite in households is because of its versatility! While eating traditional pasta dishes like lasagna and mac and cheese is delicious, don’t be afraid to take a new twist on an old classic. For example, jazz up your mac and cheese by adding seasonal ingredients—like pumpkin! Simply stir the pumpkin into the béchamel or melted cheese and you’ll have a piping hot bowl of yummy fall comfort food. Or, if you enjoy pasta with a kick, add in crushed red peppers, cayenne pepper. For something different try combining pasta with interesting roasted vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, beets or Brussels sprouts.
- Try out pasta for dessert
It may sound unusual, but pasta desserts are widely popular in Italy and have been around since the Renaissance! There are a multitude of desserts made with pasta from sweet, light treats to rich and filling indulgences. Try impressing your guests by making one of our dessert pasta recipes featured on www.pastafits.org!