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Pasta for a Crowd

 I am planning to serve 40 people a penne pasta with meat sauce entree, along with sliced cooked ham and cocktail meatballs. How much dry pasta and sauce would you suggest I need?

 Sounds like a meat-lovers feast! There’s no way to answer this question correctly. Some of the people at the party with exposure to Italian sensibilities are going to be shocked at the amount of sauce you serve, while some people with American appetites are going to want more sauce.

But climbing out on our limb, we offer the following: A pound of pasta generally serves 4 as a main course and 6 to 8 as a first course. So you could aim as high as 10 pounds for the pasta. Since you’re serving other heavy foods alongside, you could also split the difference and cook 7 to 8 pounds of pasta. As to sauce (and we can feel the limb trembling), how about a half-cup per person, or 1-1/4 gallons? If people will be serving the sauce themselves, make extra.

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