We love pasta in our house.  Ask Marisol what she would like for dinner any day of the week and she would tell you pasta, her favorite being Penne.  The hardest thing I find with serving pasta for dinner is taking out certain ingredients from dishes to suit each person.

I'm also a huge fan of getting the kids involved in the kitchen.  We normally have one night a week where it's a 'make your own' night.  Whether it be putting your own toppings on pizza, or making tacos or burritos.  So last night I decided to set up a pasta bar in the kitchen and let everyone choose their pasta, their toppings and their sauce.  Everyone loved it.  For the first time there was no-one picking out what they didn't want to eat, no-one complaining about the type of pasta I used and everyone ate all of their dinner.

Pasta Bar

Pasta Bar


  • La Romanella Organic Penne Rigate
  • La Romanella Organice Fettucine


  • Grilled Sweet Italian Sausages (cut into bite-sized pieces)
  • La Romanella Salami
  • Zucchini (sliced and halved)
  • Mushrooms (sliced)
  • La Romanella Roasted Garlic Pasta Sauce
  • Sun-dried Tomatoes
  • Mini Heirloom Tomatoes (halved)
  • Artichoke Hearts (diced into smaller pieces)
  • La Romanella Shredded Parmesan Cheese
  • Garlic (crushed)
  • Onion (diced)
  • Fresh Basil
  • Salt & Pepper


  • French Bread – sliced and warmed in the oven

Here is my biggest tip.  You are not going to be able to fit everything on the stove so that it is all warm when dished up.

Grill the sausages ahead of time, put them in a baking dish, cover with foil and pop into the oven to stay warm.

Use individual baking dishes (I have a collection of small Culinary Colors Bakeware Dishes), put in a little olive oil and separate the vegetables into each and pop into the oven for roasted vegetables.  I was a couple of dishes (and space) short so I combined the sundried tomatoes, artichoke, garlic and onion into one which I used in place of the pasta sauce for my pasta dish.

On the stove, you then have space for 2 pots for pasta, a steamer for any vegetables you don't want to grill (which I used to steam the asparagus) and a pot to warm the pasta sauce.

This would make a great casual dinner party idea with friends too.

Disclosure:  I was compensated for this post (and received a giant box of La Romanella products) as part of the #LaRomanella #sfsmarties campaign for Collective Bias.

 Smart and Final contest
La Romanella products are available at Smart & Final.

Smart & Final are on Twitter and Facebook



Weddings Illustrated

You Might Also Like These Too


Rhondi February 26, 2011 - 12:51 pm

Wow, this is genius! We do lots of different food bars, but never thought of this one. And we’re Italian and eat lots of pasta, and I have some picky eaters at home. Thanks for such a great idea!

Amy @ Dealusional February 26, 2011 - 1:03 pm

We are big into food bars in our house too (our favorite being baked potato bar). Your food always looks way better than ours, though 🙂

Tonya Staab February 26, 2011 - 6:42 pm

Thank you so much.  I must say I love choices too.  Even hubby had 2 bowls so that he could try it 2 different way.  Sunset magazine, now wouldn't that be nice :). 

Tonya Staab February 26, 2011 - 6:44 pm

I would love to try a baked potato bar.  Marisol ate her very first mashed potatoes at preschool the other day, I'm *this* close to getting her to eat a baked potato I think.

Tonya Staab February 26, 2011 - 6:47 pm

Thank you so much.  I'm always looking for ways to get the kids to try new foods and have a stress free dinner :).

Kim P. February 26, 2011 - 2:07 pm

Your food bar looks very professional…should truly be in Sunset magazine. I know it would be a hit w/the kids but what adult doesn’t like choices! Great post.

Barbara Manatee February 26, 2011 - 6:45 pm

what a great idea! I host a dinner party a few times a year for a handful of friends and this would be great for that! Thanks for sharing!

Jennifer M. February 27, 2011 - 7:21 pm

Ooh i love this idea! This makes preparing a meal for multiple tastes so much easier!

The Art of Being You

Dawn Sandomeno February 28, 2011 - 9:13 am

Can the boys and I move in, pretty please!

km February 28, 2011 - 11:39 am


Shana February 28, 2011 - 10:52 am

Wow that is such a great idea. Why haven’t I ever thought of that lol We love pasta here but my oldest doesn’t like marinara sauce and we both don’t like sausage yet every one else does. I am going to have to keep this in mind next time I do a pasta night. Thanks for sharing!

beachbrights February 28, 2011 - 12:30 pm


I shared on Facebook, Pinterest & Twitter. Good ideas should be shared 🙂


ConnieFoggles February 28, 2011 - 6:38 pm

It looks like I died and went to heaven. My kind of food!

Tonya Staab March 1, 2011 - 8:41 am

Ha.  So glad you liked it Connie.

Tonya Staab March 1, 2011 - 8:43 am

WOW, thank you so very much.

Tonya Staab March 1, 2011 - 8:58 am

I saw the KM and thought no, it couldn't be, not my favorite photographer/blogger commenting in my little world.  Oh Katherine Marie, if only I could leave comments on your wonderful site, I would profess my love for your fabulous ideas, tips and photographs.    Your fire safety posts were so absolutely fantastic.  And the photographing baby tips.  Wonderful.

Lisa @ Crazy Adventures in Parenting March 1, 2011 - 11:19 am

OMGosh, what a freakin’ smart idea!!!

groundhog.judy March 2, 2011 - 11:56 am

I have used the food bar idea for tacos and ice cream sundays but never pasta. What a great idea, expecially with picky children.

Tonya Staab March 6, 2011 - 7:20 am

Some days it's just easier to make everyone happy and not fight the battle with the picky eaters :).

Erin March 7, 2011 - 8:44 am

This is the perfect idea for my tiwns birthday party as all they ever ask for for dinner is nu-nu’s! Noodles (pasta) of any sort is their fav – thanks for the fantastic idea – 3rd bday done!

Maxx March 14, 2011 - 6:32 am

I really like this idea! I am Currently attention a vocational school and im taking Culinary Arts, and we have to do a project and I found this. Its amazing Im gonna use this idea.

mom taxi julie March 28, 2011 - 1:10 pm

That looks like fun! Did you have a lot left over? No one wants to eat left overs at my house so I’d end up eating it for lunch forever lol.

Tonya Staab March 29, 2011 - 1:12 pm

We had just enough left over for lunch the next day for everyone 🙂 

Christine August 30, 2022 - 11:43 pm

Do you add oil to keep the noodles from sticking? Or is there another tip?

Tonya Staab August 31, 2022 - 6:41 pm

Yes, I would add oil to keep them from sticking.


Leave a Comment

* By using this form you agree with the storage and handling of your data by this website.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More