Gifts for Pasta Lovers

by sockii

Gift giving ideas for people who absolutely love pasta. Gourmet gift packages, cookbooks, pasta-making equipment and much more!

Pasta and noodles popular all around the world, whether as Japanese ramen, Chinese chow fun, or as a classic Italian primi piatti (first course). We love pasta for its versatility in soups, side dishes, main courses and cold salads. I know my sweetie could eat pasta every single day (if I let him) and he never complains when I tell him it's on the dinner menu for the day. He is a serious pasta fanatic!

If you know someone who has a similar "need for noodles", then a pasta-themed gift would be perfect for Christmas, a birthday, or perhaps Mother's or Father's day as well. Here I've put together a list of ten of pasta-related gifts from cookbooks to specialty kitchenware, as well as ideas for putting together your own pasta-themed gift basket from these various items. So read on to get some ideas and hopefully find the perfect gift you're looking for.

Photos on this page are by the author, sockii, unless provided by Amazon, eBay or Zazzle product links.

1. Beautiful Gourmet and Artisinal Pastas

Sure to delight and be enjoyed by any noodle enthusiast

If you're assembling a pasta gift basket or assortment, of course you'll want to fill it with some wonderfully colorful, unusual noodles. Italian artisinal pasta producers today come up with truly unique and different flavors, patterns of colors, and delightful shapes you won't easily find elsewhere.

Delightful striped farfalle by Marella. Handmade using traditional methods and all natural ingredients - squid ink is used to achieve the striking black color. (Available in 1, 4, 8 or 16 packages at a time.)

These beautiful striped linguine noodles get their color from unflavored, natural food coloring elements such as tomato, spinach, beetroot and tumeric.

Mexican hats by way of Italy? Absolutely, with these delightful pasta shapes featuring patterns of color from natural ingredients. Fill them with your favorite stuffing, or dress them lightly in cheese, oil and fresh herbs for a beautiful party dish!

For someone who is a "purist" and doesn't need lots of different colors and flavors, what about this sampler assortment from Pastificio Vicidomini? Made in Naples using only two ingredients (stone-ground duram flour and spring water), this pasta is a pure taste of Italy and features 5 favorite, traditional shapes.

Other Sources for Fantastic Pasta

Gourmet shops and artisanal producers
  • A. G. Ferrari

    This San Franscisco-based Italian importer has a wonderful selection of high-quality pasta products available to create your own gift assortment. I love their pestos and other unique sauces, too.

  • Di Bruno Bothers

    A Philadelphia-based Italian gourmet shop. They offer many pasta products available via mail order if you can't get to one of their stores.

Are you a pasta fanatic?

2. Pasta-Themed Cookbooks

Learn new and exciting ways to prepare pasta meals

Pasta with tomatoesA pasta-themed cookbook is always a great gift for someone who loves to cook and eat at home, and experiment with new recipe ideas.

These titles would all make a great addition to a pasta-centric gift basket, or simply given alone as a wonderful gift that will get plenty of use in the future.

Some of them focus on traditional recipes for Italian pasta, others cover the globe to look at the way pasta and noodles are used world-wide.

I've focused here on books less about making (and using) your own homemade pasta but instead on using standard, dried noodles you can get just about anywhere.

(I'll have a section on pasta-making gifts later in this list...)

If I were to only own a single pasta cookbook, this would be the one. It's an incredibly thorough volume that goes into great detail on how to best prepare pasta at home and a thorough coverage of all your basic, classic sauces and recipes. From quick cook tomato and vegetable sauces to slow cooked cheesy baked dishes, these recipes are generally all easy to follow and just about foolproof.

This delightful book includes over 100 recipes for pasta, both traditional and innovative. The award winning owners of Al Forno restaurant in Providence, Rhode Island share delights such as Pappardelle and Saffron-Scented Milk-Braised Chicken, and Spaghetti with Raw Cucumber and Basil. There's also useful tips on using up leftovers and what side dishes work well with each meal.

Sure, we love the delightful shapes of different noodles, but do we understand their histories and best uses? This uniquely designed cookbook will bring a whole new level of appreciate of pasta to the reader, exploring the differences between Strozzapreti and Radiatore, and how each noodle shape can be used to maximize flavor with different sauces and preparations. If you know a pasta-lover who is also a bit of a science nerd or engineer, this would be the perfect book to get him or her.

This book is a visual delight as well as an extremely useful guide to preparing all kinds of classic Italian pasta dishes. Author Guliano Hazan is the son of Marcella Hazan, author of some of the most highly regarded Italian cookbooks on the market today - so it's easy to see where his great talents come from! Every recipe is beautifully illustrate and ranges from classics like Bolognese Sauce to more unique innovations like Spaghetti with Leeks, Shallots and Red Onions.

Noodle
$19.95  $4.41

Remember that noodles and pasta are popular around the world - not just Italy! This cookbook features over 100 recipes from China, Korea, Malaysia and elsewhere in Asia. Every noodle is identified with photos and described how to cook and how to serve authentically. There are classics we all know like Cantonese Wonton and Noodle Soup and more adventurous dishes (to the unfamiliar) such as Indian Sevian Keer Dessert Noodles.

3. High-Quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil

For finishing off a pasta dish right

Almost all Italian pasta dishes call for the use of olive oil, whether for sauteing vegetables, flavoring a tomato sauce, or as the simplest dressings of all: olive oil, spice and fresh herbs. Of course, especially in such "simple" dishes, the quality of the olive oil used is of paramount importance. I try to keep a variety of high quality extra virgin olive oils on hand in my kitchen at all times, some fruitier in flavor, some spicy, so I can finish off a pasta sauce with just the right oil as needed.

You can of course find many great high quality olive oils in specialty food shops; for a gift, I love giving "foodie" chefs I know a membership in Gourmet Cooking & Living's Olive Oil of the Month Club. Each month a different olive oil is chosen, all from small farms and producers in Italy - these are not oils you can easily find elsewhere! If you don't want to commit to such a long-term (and pricy) gift, you could also simply buy a great quality olive oil on Amazon, such as the one spotlighted here:

Laudemio truly is one of the finest olive oils I've had the pleasure to taste. It is a classic Tuscan olive oil with a peppery, "grassy" flavor that captures just what a Nothern Italian olive oil should represent. Perfect for finishing off pasta sauces, dipping bread, making a simple salad dressing...you'll want to savor every drop. The bottle comes attractively packaged making it a great gift on its own, or as an addition to a Pasta-Lover's Gift Basket.

4. Stylish, Highly Functional Pasta Tongs

For safe, easy handling of noodles of all kinds
Cuisipro 13-Inch Silicone Pasta Tongs, Red

Today's home chef demands tools that deliver consistent, superior performance. Beauty and style also play an important role when taking the item from the kitchen to the table. C...

$20.00  $17.15

View on Amazon

Pasta tongs are just what you need when tossing noodles with sauce for an even coating, and for scooping up into serving bowls or plates. This high-quality pair of tongs is made from stainless steel, with silicone ends that are heat-resistant up to 425F - great for a baked pasta dish coming right out of the oven!

They are designed to easily handle and grab all different shapes of noodles, and even has an end-loop for hanging.

5. Restaurant-Style Cheese Grater

Fresh cheese makes (almost) any pasta dish better!
Zyliss Rotary Cheese Grater

Zyliss has once again improved on a top-performing product. The Classic Cheese Grater is designed to grate more cheese in less time, while being more comfortable to use. Used ta...

$16.99  $16.00

View on Amazon

The perfect finishing touch on many pasta dishes is some fresh grated Parmesan or Grana Padano cheese. But a simple microplane or hand-grater can be messy and awkward at the table; not so a professional-quality grater by Zyliss. Perfect for grating hard cheeses, nuts, chocolate, lots of things for the kitchen or at the dinner table. And the drum and handle separate for easy cleaning as well!

6. Authentic Italian Pasta Serving Bowls

Beautiful ceramics and hand-painted bowls

The best way to present pasta is in a large, attractive serving bowl - one where you can easily toss and mix the sauce in with the noodles thoroughly. An authentic Italian-made pasta serving bowl is the perfect gift for anyone who loves to serve pasta at home. It can also be used as the "base" for an attractive gift basket or set. The dishes here are all Italian-made and decorated using traditional methods and classic designs.

Deruta Pasta Bowls on eBay

NOVA DERUTA Pasta Bowl 11" Made In Italy

Time left: 1 week, 1 day
Fixed price: $34.99  Buy It Now

Deruta Ricco Italian Pottery Serving Bowl Pasta Bowl

Time left: 1 week, 1 day
Fixed price: $96.97  Buy It Now

CERAMICA NOVA DERUTA. Serving pasta bowl. Italy.

Time left: 3 weeks, 1 day
Fixed price: $35.00  Buy It Now

Large Pasta Bowl Italy Lorenzaccio Deruta 12" diameter Dragon

Time left: 4 weeks
Current bid: $89.95  Place bid

Deruta Pasta Bowls on Amazon

ORVIETO BLUE ROOSTER: Pasta/Salad Serving Bowl Large

This Deruta of Italy collection is manufactured by FIMA a family owned workshop vaunting an old tradition for extraordinary high quality product line. Their production is comple...

Only $198.00

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Le Cadeaux Allegra Red - Salad Bowl

Large 13.5" Salad bowl in Allegra Red Pattern. Approximately 4" deep. Combine with large 16" round platter and 2 serving utensils to complete the presentation. Ideal for everyth...

Only $36.98

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Geometrico Hand Painted Italian Ceramic Large Serving Bowl Made in Italy

Large Geometric Ceramic Serving Bowl (11.5 x 4 inches.) Hand Painted and Made in Deruta Italy.

View on Amazon

ORVIETO RED ROOSTER: Pasta/Salad Serving Bowl Large

This Deruta of Italy collection is manufactured by FIMA a family owned workshop vaunting an old tradition for extraordinary high quality product line. Their production is comple...

Only $198.00

View on Amazon

Checklist for a Great Pasta-Lover's Gift Basket

* Unique, artisanal pastas in a variety of shapes, colors and sizes.

* A high-quality pasta sauce or two: a specialty pesto, spicy marinara, or four-cheese alfredo...or a seasoning set for chefs who prefer to "make their own"

* Extra virgin olive oil

* A pasta scoop, tongs or other specialty tool

* Cheese grater for serving

* A pasta cookbook

* A beautiful pasta serving bowl or colander to use as your gift "basket"!

7. Ready-made Pasta Gift Sets and Baskets from Rossi Pasta

Save yourself the work and buy a pre-assembled gift basket

While I've presented a lot of ideas here for assembling your own pasta gift assortment, if you're in a rush you can always choose a ready-made basket instead. Here are some very nice ones on Amazon from "Rossi Pasta" you can order that feature a selection of gourmet pastas, sauces and other accessories for preparing and enjoying a pasta meal at home. Their gift baskets get very positive reviews overall, compared to many gift basket companies that seem to skimp on actual product and just give you a lot of fancy packaging.

Pasta Fresco Gift Box

Rossi Pasta Fresco Gift Box. A fitting backdrop to four of our most colorful flavors of quick-cooking, all-natural pasta. Artfully designed, it doubles as a wine carrier for you...

Only $35.95

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Classic Pasta Gift Basket

Rossi Pasta Classic Gift Basket. You can't go wrong with this one! A Rossi favorite for years, this handsome wooden basket overflows with eight savory treats. Toss to perfection...

Only $63.95

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Deluxe Pasta and Sauce Gift Basket Featuring Marinara, Artichoke, Sun-dried Tomato, and Vodka Sauces

Rossi Pasta Deluxe Pasta and Sauce Basket. Can't make up your mind what to choose? This basket does it all. Includes one 12 oz. package each of Spinach Basil Garlic Fettuccini, ...

Only $99.95

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Rustica Pasta Gift Basket with Artichoke and Vodka Sauce

The Rossi Pasta Rustica Gift Basket. Natural flavors from field and forest, jazzed up with the addition of our vodka and artichoke sauces. A gift as simple and satisfying as a w...

View on Amazon

Gluten-Free Gift Basket

Pizza and pasta are two of the most missed foods for those following a gluten-free diet. This gourmet gift basket makes two gourmet pizzas and four pasta dishes. Sure to delight...

View on Amazon

8. Pasta-Making Machines and Kits

Making pasta at home can be fun and easy, especially with one of the great machines on the market. A basic machine is not that expensive and a perfect gift for the home chef who wants to start experimenting with different flavors, cuts and varieties of pasta. Or, you can get more fancy and go for a high-end pasta extruder that will produce all kinds of different shapes and kinds of noodles.

This Italian-made model comes in both red and stainless steel finishes and is a classic - just like you'll find in many home kitchens all around Italy. It's a hand-cranked machine with attachable blades (sold separately) for classic flat cuts like spaghetti, linguini and ravioli.

The Lillo Due Pasta Extruder by Bottene in review. This professional quality machine will allow anyone to make artisinal extruded pasta in their home kitchen.

9. Membership in a Pasta of the Month Club

A great gift that can last for an entire year (or longer!)

Unique pasta selectionsMonthly clubs are out there today for just about everything, and pasta is no exception.

Many different companies offer monthly clubs that provide uniquely flavored, shaped, or even fresh-made pasta noodles directly to your recipient every month. Some also include matched sauces with the noodles, or at least recipe and cooking suggestions to best enjoy the varieties offered.

I always find these clubs are a good idea for someone special, because it really is a gift that "keeps on giving" for as long as you wish. Every month there's a new surprise in the mail to be enjoyed for however long you choose, from a full year to just a few month's sampler. I have family members who love to cook subscribed to olive oil and cheese clubs already, and am thinking about adding a pasta club to at least one person's Christmas gift list this year.

What about you?

Pasta of the Month Club Links

Explore the possibilities for gift-giving
  • Sfoglini Pasta of the Month Club

    3, 6 and 12-month memberships are available. Each monthly shipment features one bag of their "signature" organic pasta and one bag of a seasonal specialty pasta, made in New York from locally-sourced ingredients. This artisanal shop based in Brooklyn, New York is producing great stuff that is worth checking out for fans of local, seasonal food products.

  • Pennsylvania Macaroni Company's Pasta of the Month Club

    Established in 1902, this Pittsburg shop has been an importer and supplier of quality Italian food products for over 100 years! You can now join their monthly club to get fresh made pasta shipped (in cooler containers) to your gift recipient's door - along with their own sauces!

  • Amazing Club's Pasta of the Month Club

    Every shipment offers two "gourmet" pastas and sauces from sources around the world.

  • Italian Pasta Dinner of the Month Club

    Available in 3, 6, 9 and 12 month durations. Each monthly package includes a specialty pasta, pasta sauce and another Italian specialty product such as breadsticks or dessert mix.

10. Fun and Funny Pasta Lover Gifts from Zazzle

T-shirts, mugs, aprons and more to celebrate that pasta love
Updated: 04/27/2015, sockii
 
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