Pasta is one of the easiest hosting tricks on the planet. Here are some ideas for including vegetables into a pasta buffet. Caramelized onions and peppers add a nice sweet component, as do the squash cubes. Best to balance with salty and meaty items.
See all the other pasta buffet components in my party menu Comfort Pasta for the full key to hosting a party in style. I’ve included recipes for three sauces, meat toppings, and some nice finishing touches.
Caramelized Onions & Peppers
This adds a nice pop of color and a touch of sweetness. I had a bottle of prosecco already open, which worked nicely in this dish—and in my glass while I was cooking.
MAKES 2 – 3 CUPS
GET OUT A SAUCEPAN…
2 TB olive oil
2 red bell peppers, cut into thin strips
2 large red onions, cut in half, then into thin strips
2 tsp salt
1/2 cup white wine (or prosecco)
Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat, add peppers, and onions, saute for 5 min. Reduce heat, cook another 15 min, stirring occasionally, till the onions brown and the peppers are nice and soft. Stir in the wine and cook until the it evaporates; about 6 – 7 min.
ROASTED KABOCHA SQUASH CUBES
Cutting the squash is the tough part. If you have a very sharp knife, use this method for peeling and dicing the squash. I started with this technique and switched to a very sharp peeler, which made it easier to get around the curves.
MAKES ABOUT 2 CUPS
PREHEAT OVEN 400ºF
3.3 LB kabocha squash, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 TB EV olive oil
s + p
Toss squash, oil and s + p together in a bowl. Spread out on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Roast for 30 min. While still hot, sprinkle with harissa, if you would like a little more flavor.
Offer steamed green peas, for a quick and simple addition to the buffet.
Add a bowl of one or more of baby arugula, sea beans (briny and crunchy accent), or watercress.
This recipe is part of our pasta buffet. See more recipes for throwing a laid-back affair in 11 Comfort Pasta