Categorized | Cuisines, Featured, Italian, Menu Development

Pasta Adds Variety to Soups & Salads

Posted on 14 April 2010 by Agile Chef

In this economic crunch, everyone’s looking for a little extra value. As a restaurant operator, you’ve likely seen this firsthand, as cost-conscious diners continue to seek out satisfying dishes at lower prices. As a result, many customers are bypassing once-popular appetizers like soups or salads and heading straight to the main course. Darren Tristano, Executive Vice President at foodservice research firm, Technomic, Inc., explains this trend:

To justify spending on items from the left side of the menu, they want more value—dishes with unique flavors they can’t make at home, or are large enough to share or eat as an entrée …

With this in mind, it’s more important than ever to make sure your restaurant’s soups and salads work just as well on their own as they do before the main course. Luckily, it couldn’t be easier to move beyond boring chicken noodle soups and dull Caesar salads. The same pastas you serve as individual entrees are just what you need to dress up your current soup and salad recipes. Here are some creative ways to work pasta into your restaurant’s appetizers today:

  • Add filled pastas, like ravioli and tortellini, to your beef or vegetable stock for a heartier, more satisfying soup.
  • Toss chilled tortellini rings over a bed of crisp seasonal greens, and you’ve got a summertime salad that’s both filling and refreshing. For added flavor and variety, top with your choice of a juice-based vinaigrette or creamy pesto dressing.
  • Throw in some rich, egg noodles the next time you whip up a batch of bean soup for a tasty twist on classic pasta fagioli.
  • For a hot spin on dinner salads, try a warm lasagna salad; just top your garden salad with a portion of your restaurant’s lasagna, then finish with cheese and croutons for extra flavor.
  • Capitalize on the growing popularity of traditional Vietnamese pho and Chinese hot pot dishes by adding long noodles, tofu, shitake mushrooms and miso paste to your chicken soup recipe. Season with soy sauce, and you have a fresh take on an old menu standby!

Pasta makes it easy to transform your standby recipes into exciting new dishes. Give your customers a reason to choose soups and salads by adding variety and value to your menu.

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