When setting up a pasta buffet, toppings are a key component. A mix of vegetables not only add to the flavor equation, but also to the nutritional total. I’ve included two recipes: a kabocha squash and caramelized onions & peppers, plus some no-cook items you can just plate and place. See the plan.

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.

recipe

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.

recipe

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

harissa (optional)

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.

GREEN PEAS

Offer steamed green peas, for a quick and simple addition to the buffet.

NO-COOK GREENS

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