Pasta, Family Style

pasta, family dinner I grew up eating family style. Whether at a restaurant or at home, forks were stabbed here, spoons scooped there and knives split the last roll. That way everyone got a taste. That way we were constantly engaged in the  dance of a meal. That's why after working at Tre, an Italian restaurant in the Lower East Side, (for 3 years) I came to find the family meal (the meal served to the staff before service) was always my favorite part of the day. I looked forward to that big bowl of pasta and was always amazed at how the chef was able to toss that much in one pan. As everyone ate we would tell stories from the night before between perfectly al dente bites of rigatoni carbonara, or spaghetti bolognese. It was the calm before the storm. A time we could get out any of our last minute frustrations, and a time to strengthen the family bonds that made that restaurant ship sail so smoothly every night.

I know what your thinking. Everyday???... Yes, I ate pasta at 4 pm almost everyday for 3 years. To many that would be a bit over the top, and maybe it is. But when your hustlin' in a busy service, it seems the only way to get through it. To me it proves that the combination of eating fresh ingredients, being active regularly (which if you've worked in a fast-paced restaurant you know you're rackin' up the pedometer points), and eating at an early hour can make a huge difference on the way food affects us. Marcus also points this out in his "Secrets of a Skinny Chef" article for Huffpost Taste.

By nature, pasta is a great choice to star in a family meal, a dinner party or any where in between. It's easy to whip up, best shared, and always a crowd pleaser.

Check out this tasty pasta show and try out your favorite . Recipes follow below.

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