With more than 400 different varieties available to mix and match with sauces, pasta is just about the most versatile item on any menu. And because it’s traditionally made with simply durum wheat and water, pasta is also one of the highest-profit food items you can serve, with typical mark ups of between six and ten times its cost.
Pasta is enjoying a greater level of consumer interest, as chillier temperatures prompt a desire for heartier fare, when people are traditionally ready for a bit of culinary indulgence. “Pasta is everywhere now,” says Suzy Badaracco, President, Culinary Tides, a trends forecaster for the food industry. “The gluten-free trend has peaked, and now the whole bakery and bread category is on the rise. We’re finally seeing pictures and recipes for pasta returning to magazines, and appearing on restaurant menus.”
Whether choosing tubes, strands, ribbons or unique shapes, pasta offers an opportunity to provide not only comfort, but a bit of culinary adventure, too. A simple plate of noodles, paired with a classically authentic ethnic sauce, can be a trip around the world for your customers. “Foods in the grain category are called ‘the interpreters,’ because they’re the least threatening on the plate,” Badaracco says. “Pasta and sauce are the easiest way to introduce a region’s food, and they really act as tour guides to the meal.”
Easy prep options from Marzetti
Every second counts in a busy kitchen, so using Marzetti’s super-speedy pasta will help you plate up those comfort-food meals in record time. It can go directly from the freezer into boiling water, and is ready to serve in under a minute. It looks fresh, tastes delicious, and gives you consistent results every time – allowing you to keep the comfort coming, all winter long.
Chef and food consultant Marc Halperin offers a look into fine dining trends in the pasta category that can easily be translated into more casual operations: