I first posted these photos in 2012 as a fun tribute to the opening of Disney’s the Lorax. This answers the question of why I originally wanted to make neon pasta. Yes, the broccoli was meant to represent the trees from the movie and the blue alfredo sauce- the river. But after my neon pasta photo was listed as a Pinterest favorite photo of the day and has been shared thousands of times, I figured that maybe more than Lorax fans would want to cook up some neon pasta of their own. Here’s my tips to making your pasta pop (we’ll answer the “why” later):
Toni’s Tips for Making Neon Pasta
Tip #1: Choose A Fun Shape
Bowtie, penne, elbow, or my favorite- cavatappi pasta…. the purpose behind making neon pasta should undoubtedly determine its shape. Having a rainbow-themed party? Elbow. Want to bring the 80’s to dinner? Linguine. And, for a formal affair, use bowtie, of course.
Tip #2: Use Premium Food Dye
You can use an entire bottle of a cheap grocery store food dye and it still won’t give you the bright colors a professional food dye can (can you say “Pinterest fail”?). My favorite dyes are Wilton and Duff, which can both be found in Michaels or Walmart. In fact, Duff has a special line of neon colors like “Electric Pink” and “Electric Purple”.
Tip 3: Don’t Toss Your Gold (your pasta water, that is)
If you follow any of my tips, you’ll want to follow this one. I call my pasta water liquid gold because I save it to the side for when my pasta gets dry and dehydrated, I simply splash some pasta water over the pasta to get it shiny again. Take a glass measuring cup and scoop out the water before draining the pasta, one cup for every half pound of pasta.
Tip #4: Don’t Mix Your Water
Yes, you will have to boil each color individually (I know, duh). I start with my lightest color first and work my way up to the darkest colors. This makes saving your pasta water to rehydrate the pasta even more critical. The alternative is to get out three or four pots and boil them at the same time in separate pots, but personally, I only like to wash one pot.
Why You Want to Make Neon Pasta (come on, you know you want to)
I know you’re probably searching your brain for a reason to make neon pasta by now, right? The truth is that it’s just a fun touch to a party. Here are my reasons:
Reason #1: 80’s Themed Party
A few years ago I threw an 80’s themed party for my niece and thought a nice addition to some pizza would be a big bowl of neon spaghetti with their choice of marinara or alfredo sauce to top. It turned out to be one of the biggest hits of the party when I only thought it would be just a nice added touch. The girls talked about it all night. You can read more about it here:
Reason #2: Beach Themed Party
Okay, I might have gone a bit too far with this one. A friend was having beach-themed party for her daughter and needed some help so I made some “Surf’s Up Pasta” (blue cavatappi pasta for the waves) with a choice of Shark Attack Sauce (marinara) or “Sunset Sauce” (alfredo). Yep. Big hit.
Reason 3#: Because It’s Fun
Do you really need a reason to make neon pasta? If you do, please refer to reasons 2 & 3 above.
Share Your Neon Pasta Photo #OrganizedCook
If you decide that neon pasta should be served at your next party and decide to take a photo, please tag me at @OrganizedCook on Instagram or Twitter, or post a photo to my Facebook. Would love to share it with the rest of our readers!
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