What's the Right Amount of Pasta per Person?

Updated on January 21, 2020
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A Kiwi by birth but now living in Western Australia, I have a passion for Italian food and a whole bunch of other random interests.


How Much Pasta Per Person?

Don't you hate how difficult it is to accurately judge how much pasta to cook per person? Get it wrong and you either end up with a plate full of sauce or a mountain of cooked pasta going to waste. You also have to factor in the umpteen different shapes and sizes out there. Different types of pasta need different methods to judge how much you should prepare.

Thankfully, there are some basic techniques and tools to help you determine how much dry pasta to use per serving.

Pasta Serving Size

Firstly, how much pasta you need to cook depends on a number of factors—whether you are cooking a main course or a side dish, the type you are cooking, and how hungry your guests are.

Pasta Per Person: The Rule

Dried pasta: 75-115 g / 3-4 oz

Fresh pasta: 115-150 g / 4-5 oz

Filled pasta (like ravioli): 175-200 g / 6-7 oz

Because dried pasta hasn't absorbed the water yet, simply pour it into the bowl you will serve it in and fill it just below the point at which you want your cooked pasta serving to reach. It's inexact, but it works pretty well.
Because dried pasta hasn't absorbed the water yet, simply pour it into the bowl you will serve it in and fill it just below the point at which you want your cooked pasta serving to reach. It's inexact, but it works pretty well. | Source

Other Ways to Measure How Much Pasta per Portion

The only problem with using the weight of the dry pasta to determine the portion is that you have to weigh it! However, there are other easier ways to estimate how much to cook.

Firstly, to find the perfect portion size for pasta shapes such as penne (tubes), farfalle (butterflies), or fusilli (spirals), simply pour the dry pasta into the bowl you are going to serve it in and fill it almost to the point at which you want your cooked pasta serving to reach. This works surprisingly well.

For long pasta (such as spaghetti or linguine), the best way to find out how much to cook is to use a pasta measure. A spaghetti measurer is usually a steel or plastic implement with holes in it (the smallest for one serving, the next for two, etc.). A spaghetti measurer usually has holes that show the right amount for up to four people.

You can also buy plastic containers that not only store dry pasta but come marked with serving sizes to help you to determine the ideal amount to serve per person.

Whichever method you use, it is worth remembering that, if in doubt, it is better to cook too much and have some leftovers than to come up short.

The chances are that your dinner will be so delicious that everyone will want second helpings anyway.

Quick Recipe: Angel Hair Pasta with Crab, Chile, and Lime


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