The clubhouse at our vacation home resort holds a weekly pasta night. The meal is set up in an L-shape pasta bar with a serve yourself simple garden salad and garlic bread followed by the pasta station where the chef prepares your choice for you. The pasta station consists of pre-cooked penne and liguini, red sauce, white (béchemel) sauce, sausage, shrimp, mussels, chicken, green peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, an onions. The pasta dish is cooked on a portable propane burner. The chef drizzles olive oil in a small skillet then adds your vegetables and meat of choice. When that is warmed through, he drizzles a little white wine over the mixture, adds your sauce of choice and flips the pan to mix. Finally he adds the pasta of choice again flipping the pan to mix.
When cooking pasta, I like to cook extra for planned leftovers. I simply cool the cooked pasta then refrigerate it until needed. It is very easy to whip up a quick meal using pre-cooked pasta. Pre-cooked pasta warms nicely in a variety of sauces. It can quickly be turned into tasty homemade pasta cheese dish or other casserole, or used in pasta salads.
A blush sauce is very easy to make but it involves making at least the béchemel sauce to mix with a fresh or prepared ahead tomato sauce. A rosa sauce is similar to a blush sauce without having to make a béchemel sauce. A rosa sauce is made by stirring heavy cream into a tomato sauce as it is warming. Shredded parmesan cheese can be stirred into the rosa sauce if desired.
A pasta bar is a rather simple idea that can easily be duplicated at home with a few modifications. Kids love meals that allow them to make the choice of what they want to add. That is one reason why homemade pizza, tacos and taco salad where always big hits with our kids. As with other top your own dishes, keep it simple yet interesting. You don't need a lot of each topping either so a pasta bar is a great way to use up a few leftovers as well. Presentation can be as easy as setting up various bowls of the prepared ingredients on the table then let each family member top their pasta as desired.