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Pasta Party After a long week at work, the last thing you want to do is plan an elaborate dinner party. So throw an impromptu Friday-night pasta party instead!

It's easy to get started! Set everything up buffet-style so guests can help themselves. Rethink your dinnerware by using pieces in alternative ways to make the buffet table pretty and practical: Use a gravy boat and espresso cups to serve apps and glasses as vases.

The Menu

Assorted ready-made nibbles
Tapenade toasts

Main courses
Creamy tomato and shiitake rigatoni
Smoked salmon sauce over angel hair
Green salad


Pasta Made Easy
For an easy starter, pick up ready-made nibbles such as bruschetta, olives and nuts. Then whip up fuss-free pastas like creamy tomato and shiitake rigatoni and smoked salmon sauce over angel hair. Serve them up family-style in large serving pieces like bowls from the Jasper Conran Casual Dinnerware collection and Edme Queen's Ware soup tureen, all from Wedgwood, and let your guests pick and choose. These hearty crowd-pleasers will satisfy a party of any size. Toss together a quick, crisp green salad to accompany the pastas. Complete your Italian feast with some scrumptious store-bought gelato.

Wine Pairing
Despite what you may think, when it comes to pairing food and wine, there really are no wrong choices. It's highly subjective and leaves plenty of room for experimentation, so don't stress. As long as there's good food, good wine and good company, winning pairs will be in endless supply. The goal is synergy and balance. Match the weight and body of the wine with the delicacy or richness of the dish: Pair light-bodied wines with lighted food and duller-bodied wines with heartier, more flavourful dishes. Neither the wine nor the food should overpower the other.

Savvy Stemware
Before you raise your glass, make sure you've got the right one. The Robert Mondavi by Waterford collection features nine varietal-specific shapes, each designed with unique characteristics to optimize the enjoyment of that particular wine. Our pasta pairings called for the following stems:

The size of the bowl reveals the wine's true bouquet and intensity, while emphasizing and optimizing its wide range of rich aromas.

Fumé Blanc (Sauvignon Blanc)
The shape of the Fumé Blanc glass allows for the concentration of aromas toward the nose, accentuating the discernment of the delicate fruit bouquet of this crisp, dry and refreshing white varietal.

Cabernet Sauvignon
The shape directs the wine to the back of the mouth, elevating and enhancing the enjoyment of the wine's distinct flavours and aromas.

Shelf Service
Refills are a snap with Oster's Cordless/Rechargable Wine Bottle Opener. No mysterious levers of handles here. This handy-dandy gadget opens bottles in seconds with the touch of a button. Guests can easily top up their glasses and continue experimenting with pairings at their leisure, leaving you free to enjoy yourself and your company. Cheers to that!

Bar Service
Creating your own self-service wine bar is just a few quick steps away--literally. Your local Home Hardware has all the elements you'll need to recreate this industrial-chic look for your party:

2 3-ft. aluminum stepladders
1 6-ft. aluminum stepladder
1 7-ft. aluminum stepladder
3 12" x 96" planks or prefab shelves
2 15 1/4" x 96" planks or prefab shelves

To start, rest one of the narrow planks across the top of the 6-ft ladder and the first rung of the 7-ft ladder. Then repeat for next two rungs. Next, place one of the wide planks across the second-to-bottom rungs of each ladder. Now you've created your main shelving unit. To build the diagonal buffet, stagger the two shorter ladders on opposite sides of the shelving unit. Run the remaining wide plank across the top of these ladders. Make sure to weigh down both ends with some heavier items (stacks of plates work well). Then just fill the shelves with candles, stemware, food, etc., and voila! Instant wine bar--it's that simple. But don't stop trolling the aisles just yet. With a little creativity, there are plenty of other hardware finds that can be repurposed into funky party accessories. Stainless steel hose clamps make great napkin rings at less than a buck each. Or try using a round file to grate fresh Romano over your guests' pasta. Even a mitre box and saw can find new life as a breadboard and knife. Inspiration lurks around every corner--see for yourself!