Yeah, no. We’re not even going to try and throw a football ourselves, let alone teach someone else how to do it. But the entertaining part and talking about how to throw a football party is a snap. Superbowl and Canada’s Grey Cup conjure images of hot dogs, nachos and chips, but that kind of tailgating is a little boring. Let’s deconstruct the normal and start with a hearty, versatile ingredient that warms even the coldest of bellies during football season. I give you: pasta. We created two fun recipes inspired by football traditions, but with a bit of a Canadian twist! One is reasonable ‘gourmet’ and the other is so easy you’re going to kiss and hug your screen. Or share the recipe – which is cool too. ; )

football-appetizersTo begin the event, we made meatballs in the shape of footballs and used a squeezable mayonnaise bottle to create football stitching. Sliced corn on the cob made the platter pop and allowed guests to nibble plate-free.The more difficult one is made with a ‘proper’ cream sauce.

cream-parmesan-pasta-sauceCreamy Bacon-Onion Bowties

This recipe is like bacon onion potato skins but with a different starch in a more refined (and less messy) format.


4 T. olive oil
2 diced onions
1/2 c. white wine
4t. fine flour
1 c. chicken (or veggie) stock
1 c. half and half cream
1 c. parmesan cheese
4 slices bacon, cooked and cut into bite-sized pieces
pinch salt and pepper
chives for garnish
900 g. Barilla Farfalle
maple syrup

1. Soften the onions in olive oil on medium heat until just browning.
2. Deglaze the pan with white wine and simmer 3 minutes.
3. add flour and stir.
4. Add broth and cream and stir until thick, about 5 minutes before adding the cheese and bacon.
5. Cook pasta as per the instructions on the box.
6. Use 2 ladles full of pasta water to thicken the cream sauce just before you drain the pasta.
7. Stir pasta as you drain and don’t rinse before quickly mixing into the sauce.
8. Cut chives with scissors and sprinkle on top.
9. Drizzle maple syrup over each dish as you serve

taco-pastaDeconstructed Taco Rigatoni

We all love nachos, and they are certainly a staple of football watching. I was curious as to whether a super-simple pasta recipe could replicate the famous taco. I devised a plan, and this one is a real winner. Using store-bought ingredients you pretty much dump them all in as you salivate. The rigatoni is hearty and masculine, and this recipe is also easily be made ahead of time and put in individual lasagna dishes for baking to serve at halftime.


4 T. olive oil
1 onion
1 lb. lean ground beef
6T. taco seasoning
1 c. water
1/2 jar salsa
1 jar store-bought alfredo sauce
1 c. grated cheddar cheese
450 g. Barilla Rigatoni
1 lime for garnish

1. Fry onion in olive oil and add beef when onion begins to sweat.
2. Add taco seasoning and water and simmer on medium heat.
3. Dump in salsa, alfredo sauce and cheddar.
4. Cook pasta as per instructions. If you would rather bake this recipe, undercook the pasta and mix with the sauce until coated. Cover each individual dish with foil and bake 30 minutes at 325 degrees. Top with cheddar when it comes out of the oven.

** Three Pointer.

Disclosure: This project was made possible by Barilla Pasta. All recipes and ideas are my own. Well, and my husband’s because he’s been to many more Grey Cup and Superbowl parties than I have.

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