As a buyer for Chef’s Corner Store, I have strong opinions about the products in my kitchen, and I cling to them with fervor. I lovingly chose every item for its quality and functionality, and I use them all routinely.
Naturally, when a customer recently returned a set of pasta bowls because “they’re just shallow bowls,” I must admit I had…feelings. Most notably, I felt profound disappointment that this poor soul clearly missed the point of what I believe to be the most multi-functional piece of dinnerware ever to grace a table.
Don’t let the name fool you: these wide shallow bowls are perfect for so much more than pasta. According to dinnerware producer Vancasso, the shape of a pasta bowl “ allows for easy tossing and mixing of pasta with sauces.” As a fan of any food with sauce, I see this feature as the pasta bowl's super power.
Whether you’re serving pasta, salad, or a grain bowl, the wide surface area and shallow depth of a pasta bowl allows you to easily mix your ingredients together. Each bite contains a little bit of every flavor. Think of Alex Guarnaschelli’s sheet pan salad, where all the ingredients are spread out over a large surface area.
Pasta bowls also minimize the risk of pushing food off your plate and onto your table (or onto your lap, if you enjoy taking your meals in front of the television like I do). You can even use pasta bowls for serving side dishes family-style.
As we roll into soup season -- that time of year where the Dutch oven lives on the stovetop, and dinner is a rotation of warm and hearty soups, stews and chilis -- pasta bowls continue to be the perfect dinner vessel. Pasta bowls are especially well-suited to dinners served with a side, such as cornbread, rolls, or my personal favorite, grilled cheese croutons. There’s no need to dirty an extra plate; simply store your carb on the side of the bowl until you’re ready to sop up every last bit of goodness.
I also love using pasta bowls for setting up a breading station for frying. I put seasoned flour in one bowl, whipped eggs in the next, and bread crumbs in the third. Larger pieces of meat and vegetables easily fit in a wide, shallow pasta bowl, while the sides help prevent overflow and spills.
As more people discover the upsides of pasta bowls, they’re getting easier and easier to find. Many dinnerware companies now offer pasta bowls as part of their standard assortment. We’re proud to carry several here at Chef’s Corner Store. My favorite pasta bowls are from the Casafina Pacifica collection. They're made in Portugal, offered in a variety of colors, and they’re microwave, freezer, and dishwasher safe. The Fortessa Heirloom pasta bowls are stunning in neutral colors with a freeform edge. Le Creuset also offers a set of four pasta bowls in some of their most popular colors. Finally, the Bistro bowls from Fiesta are shaped like pasta bowls, even if they aren’t specifically called pasta bowls.