Entertaining trends: DIY Pasta Bar

Figuring out what to serve at a dinner party can be a challenge when you consider every guest’s preferences and dietary restrictions. Enter the DIY food bar trend. The setup allows guests to customize their meal to their needs, and as a host, it’s a fun and festive way to change things up.

A pasta bar is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser and a breeze to put together once you learn a few key steps. Here are some tried-and-true tips to inspire your next gathering.

  • Labels are your best friend. Make sure to label all pastas, sauces and food allergy-friendly options. Not only is it appreciated by your guests, it’s a great way to bring some aesthetics and creativity to the presentation. Think chalkboard labels or cork and printable tent cards to add that extra touch.
  • Encourage creativity with plenty of options. To make the bar fun and interesting, offer a variety of pasta shapes and colours (rigatoni, penne, spaghetti) along with different sauce flavours (tomato, cream-based, meat) and toppings (parmesan, basil, olives). Then offer a big green salad to round out the meal. Don’t forget to include gluten- and dairy-free options.
  • Don’t make everything from scratch. Simplify things by serving premade sauces that you trust and know your guests will enjoy. For example, Bertolli pasta sauces are a great option as they are inspired by the simple goodness of Tuscan cooking with a few quality ingredients that are cooked lightly to lock in the flavour.

This rich and creamy Bolognese Sauce is the perfect meaty sauce for any kind of pasta. With heavy cream, savoury tomato and basil sauce, and dry red wine, this sauce is as flavourful as it is easy to make.

Bolognese Sauce
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4


  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 450 g ground beef
  • ½ cup dry red wine
  • 1 jar (630 mL) Bertolli tomato and basil sauce
  • ½ cup heavy cream (or whipping cream)


  1. Heat oil in 12-inch skillet on medium-high heat; add onions. Cook 3 minutes or until tender. Add meat; cook 4 minutes or until browned. Drain well. Return to pan.
  2. Add wine and sauce to meat mixture. Cook on low heat for 10 minutes. Stir in cream; cook until heated through.
  3. Serve over hot cooked pasta. Sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese, if desired.




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