Before we go into details, take this quiz to find out which Italian pasta dish suits you most!
It’s the difference between "I'll have seconds please!" and "I can't eat another bite!"
You invite a friend over for a hearty pasta dinner. You're about to toss the spaghetti into your boiling pot of water, but you stop yourself immediately and wonder - how much spaghetti for 2 people? Does this situation sound familiar to you? You're not alone. Many people struggle with measuring the pasta properly.
Serve a teensy-tiny taste of tortellini, and you'll leave your friend's tummy to rumble and their eyes to wander around for something to satiate it. Serve too much, and your friend's eyes may bulge from having underestimated that pile of penne you piled on their plate!
Calculating the right amount of pasta per person isn't as simple as it sounds. There are many aspects to keep in mind when the pasta goes from the package to the pot.
How to measure spaghetti, fettuccine, or linguine serving sizes depends on a few variables.
So pull up a chair, dig in as we get our pasta on, and make sure your serving size is spot on!
There are also plenty of different types of pasta sauce to go with them!
Typically, fresh pasta is a dough made from eggs and all-purpose flour.
Fresh pasta (being more delicate) is best served with a sauce that allows the pasta's texture to come through.
Fresh pasta is closest to its shape and size before and after it is cooked. This makes it easier to know how much you need per person.
Dried pasta is best served with sauces like tomato sauce, as its firmness holds up better. Dried pasta will expand greatly after being cooked, so you can expect a larger amount in the end.
Typically, 2 ounces of pasta (56 grams) per person is a good rule of thumb to follow when you're figuring out how much pasta per person.
However, let's explore some alternatives to this rule.
When working with fresh or dried pasta, you can determine how many cups of pasta per person you need by following this simple guideline:
If you decide you want to use a filled pasta such as ravioli or tortellini, using 6 to 7 ounces (or 175 to 200 grams) is your best bet.
Pasta is not just limited to straight old spaghetti! Take a stroll down the pasta aisle at any grocery store, and you'll see many shapes and sizes and brand names.
One thing to consider is that the same shape of pasta, made by different brands, can vary. Always follow the cooking instructions!
Depending on the brand, you will measure each pasta differently.
For example, 8 oz. of uncooked spaghetti, linguine, or any other tube-like versions will equal about 4 cups of other cooked pasta.
If one uses egg noodles, 8 oz. of this particular pasta will only equal about 2 and a half cups when cooked.
We've established that the average single serving size for pasta is about 2 oz., but what if your guests prefer more spaghetti than meatballs?
Considering your guests' appetite will determine if you bend the pasta rule to make more or less.
There is no better way to measure your serving sizes accurately than by using tools like:
However, if you don't have access to any of these, there are some smart ways to figure out if you need more or less.
By using the diameter of a standard quarter as the size to measure your pasta serving, you'll have roughly 2 oz. of dry pasta (or a single serving).
From spaghetti and shells to fettuccine and farfalle, and even ravioli or rigatoni, the right amount of pasta will vary. It depends on the size and shape of the pasta, the number of people you'll be serving, and how much of that "al dente" goodness they can eat.
Prepare your own delicious pasta at home - this step-by-step guide will help you out:
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