“THE KEY IS USING the freshest ingredients when possible, such as the vegetables, herbs and garlic that go into these classics. We serve a lot of baked pasta dishes and also puttanesca, chicken primavera, meatballs in a pomodoro sauce, gnocchi with vegetables and mushroom ravioli.
“Two major crowd favorites in terms of sauce are Pomodoro and Bolognese. A great thing to do with pasta and sauce is customization: We give our guests choices. When we serve tortellini, they can choose the sauce they want with it: alfredo, a red sauce or a pesto.
“We have a platform in Brody Square, a large residential dining center, that has a pasta machine so all the pasta in that location is freshly made in-house.”
— KURT A. KWIATKOWSKI, MS, Corporate Chef, Culinary Services, Division of Residential and Hospitality Services, Michigan State University
“TO MAKE TRADITIONALLY heavier pasta dishes lighter for our residents, we frequently use seafood as a protein. Also, we've noticed that our residents are starting to be more accepting of vegetarian takes on classic Italian dishes. Vegetable Lasagna and Eggplant Parmesan are more popular today than they were a few years ago.
“All of our communities have tableside service, so we're putting these dishes together as a la carte as possible, creating presentations that really wow. One of my favorite presentations uses 5 oz. mini casserole dishes for individual lasagnas.
— AARON FISH, Director of Food & Beverage, Legend Retirement Corporation, Fort Worth, TX
“WE HAVE formulated a marinara recipe that rates with three stars from the Guiding Stars program (an objective food rating system that rates food based on nutrient density). No sugars and very little olive oil are used in the formula. It's just sweet onion, garlic, carrot puree, fresh basil and a little red wine and pepper: bright, clean flavors.
— RALPH COUGHENOUR, CEC, AAC, CFBE, Director of Culinary Services, University of New Hampshire