We’ve all drooled over a lovely plate of pasta professionally served at an upscale Italian restaurant. Do you ever wonder how the chefs make it look so perfect? From the tower of twirled noodles and the clean edging on lasagna to the lack of saucy splatter, there’s not a flaw in sight! Here, we’ll reveal the restaurant-worthy hacks on how to plate pasta for perfection.
The Long Noodle Twirl
This may be the most impressive style of pasta plating. Learn how to twirl long noodles so that not a single strand is out of place. It’s surprisingly very simple to create this eye-appealing swirl!
The Tools: Soup ladle, tongs, and a carving fork
The Best Noodles: Linguine, Spaghetti, Fettuccini and Pappardelle
- Once your pasta is nicely sauced and ready for the plate, portion pasta into the ladle using the tongs, and twirl with the carving fork. The pasta will “climb” up the fork in smooth strokes.
- Place your tongs underneath the fork and transfer to the plate, making sure to catch any drips along the way.
- Stand the fork up in the center of the plate, holding the handle. Slowly lift the fork, removing the pasta. You may need to coax the noodles a bit with the tongs.
- Spoon additional sauce (if needed) over the pasta before serving, and add any additional toppings. Just like that, you have perfectly plated pasta!
Chef Tip: Cook your noodles in an extra-large pot. This way, you don’t have to break the long noodles in order for them to fit. You need this extra length for plating the perfect twirl!
Short Noodle Switch
It may seem like there’s not much you can do in terms of plating short noodles. However, many chefs and food stylists have a secret trick to enhance presentation: they use a mold to hold the noodles together on the plate.
The Tools: Large round cookie cutter/tin can and a slotted spoon
The Best Noodles: Conchiglioni, Rigatoni, Fusilloni, Penne, Ziti, and Bowtie
If you don’t have a large round cookie cutter, then cut both ends off of a cleaned tin can (be careful, the edges can be sharp). Place it on the center of your plate, and spoon the pasta into the mold using your slotted spoon. Gently press down, compacting the noodles. Once the mold is full and nicely packed, carefully remove it, leaving the noodles on the plate. This creates a visually-appealing form for your short noodles!
Chef Tip: To prevent your sauce from dripping as you plate, fold up a piece of paper towel and place it next to your plates. Before spooning into the molds, just touch the bottom of the slotted spoon to the paper towel. This will pick up any rouge drips and help to keep the plate completely clean.
Baked Pasta Plates
It’s always impressive to see the clean edges on a sizable stack of baked pasta! This visual feat requires a little extra finesse when plating your pasta to achieve a beautifully composed dish.
The Tools: Plastic ruler, chef’s knife, and a thin spatula OR large square cookie cutter and a thin spatula
The Best Noodles: Conchiglioni, Lasagna, Penne, Ziti and Macaroni
- Method 1. Once your baked pasta is finished, place the baking dish as level as possible to your countertop. Using the ruler for accuracy, make evenly spaced cuts vertically and horizontally. Carefully remove the baked portion using a thin metal spatula, and plate.
- Method 2. A metal cookie cutter works best for this method, especially one that has larger, deeper sides. Line up your cookie cutter and carefully press down into your baked pasta. Using the spatula, remove the cookie cutter and pasta, and place on the center of the plate. Carefully remove the cookie cutter and repeat, cleaning the cookie cutter in between cuts.
Chef Tip: Let your baked pasta rest! Be patient. This resting time is very valuable for the final outcome of your dish. It allows the juices to absorb back into the pasta. If it’s not adequately rested, you’ll have a watery mess on your hands.
Stuffed Pasta Plating
Lastly, stuffed pasta plating is another great hack. Similar to the baked pasta category, stuffed pastas can cause a bit of splatter. This technique will keep those plates sparkling clean!
The Tools: Slotted spoon and parchment paper
The Best Noodles: Conchiglioni and Manicotti
First, line the outer edges of your plates with parchment paper. Then, cut a square that’s large enough to place your stuffed pasta in the center.
Remove your stuffed pasta using a slotted spoon and place it in the center of the plate (do not overlap the pasta with the parchment). Then, carefully remove the parchment, taking all the drips along with it.
Shop Tantillo Foods for All Your Pasta Needs
Now that you know how to plate pasta for perfection, it’s time to collect your ingredients. Turn to Tantillo Foods for everything you need to create quick, mouth-watering meals. Our high-quality pastas, pasta sauces, and cooking oils are just what you need to make a flavorful dish that you and your family are sure to love.
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