How to measure servings of dry pasta

Preparing a meal is always tricky, how many people am I feeding? How much can this person eat? What are their food quirks? You're certainly not Kreskin and math word problems are not your strong suit, you just want to serve a meal that you and your guests can enjoy. Pasta is a simple solution which can feed the masses and is for the most part pretty universal, however, this leads us to the age old question of how much pasta should I make?

It's time for some basic algebra to figure out the Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). If guest A has a calorie intake of C and weighs W in pounds, is H inches tall and is A years of age, then BMR = C + ( 4.35 x W ) + ( 4.7 x H ) - ( 4.7 x A ) unless it's a male then the equation is BMR = C + ( 6.23 x W ) + ( 12.7 x H ) - ( 6.8 x A ), got it. Good, because I don't understand a lick of it. Let's be serious for a minute, how does one measure pasta and how much is enough for the average person.

The goal is to make your guest feel as though the food was not only delicious, but also left them feeling comfortable. People usually want to leave something on the serving plate, so as not to seem greedy, or as they are finishing, they aren't over stuffed and feeling satisfied or contemplating a light dessert. What is the magic number, well I'll tell you.

First you need to know that pasta is measured in ounces, and for most pastas it can be a poured in a Cup for measuring or for long stem pasta like spaghetti, it's measured by the handfuls. For a bountiful amount as to not have that uncomfortable "I'm-still-peckish-but-don't-want-to-take-the-last-spoonful" moment, 3 oz per serving is just about right. How do I know this... well it is a science and that algorithm is more simple than the BMR equation.

Between 2 and 4 ounces depending on what other courses are to be served. If pasta is the only dish with a light salad - 4 oz per person, if the salad is more substantial or a soup or a side dish is served - 2 ounces per person. Two ounces is considered proper if the pasta is a side dish. For a main dish it is reasonable to double that. Depending on if the sauce has a good bit of meat or if the meal has other courses, then I would use less. The type of sauce affects how much people eat. Meat, cream and egg-based sauces tend to mean less pasta consumed.

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