You might think your multi-purpose bowl will do the trick when it comes to serving your favourite pasta dish – but we’re here to tell you there are some key distinguishing features to consider.
Traditionally pasta bowls are wider and shallow to allow for the optimum sauce to pasta ratio. No one wants to get to the last bite only to find a dry strand of spaghetti staring back at you.
Try serving your pasta in a regular bowl with steep sides and you’ll also seriously limit the cheese covering potential. A plate? Well that rules out anything saucy and you’ll end up spending more time chasing that last noodle around then you will be eating the stuff.
So a pasta bowl it is. Luckily we’ve rounded up a selection from the downright decadent to the cheap as chips and with such beautiful designs we’re certain you’ll have them on permanent rotation.
Of course, function is just as important as looks, so for that reason, we were on the lookout for microwave and oven-proof designs that are just as happy in the dishwasher as they are hand-washed. Whether you like to buy individually or in handy sets, we’ve got all your needs covered.
Aside from pasta, this versatile shape is really useful for a variety of dishes. Not quite as big as a dinner plate but roomier than a side plate, the pasta bowl is perfect for curries, stews and stir-fries too.
One thing we noticed when putting our bowls to the test was that they were the perfect size to snuggle up with on the sofa. A coincidence? We think not. The ultimate comfort food, whatever the recipe.
If you’re adding to an existing set of dishes you might find a plain white one will look the most in keeping but we’ve also included lots of neutral shades that have the canny ability to slip effortlessly into your pre-chosen colour scheme.
So whether it’s spaghetti bolognese for the whole family or homemade pici for date night, these are the best pasta bowls to serve your culinary creation.
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Habitat barnaby pasta bowl
The natural off-white shade, pretty speckled design and rustic raw edges give the impression that this bowl is a special one-off piece. To create this unique effect, each bowl is finished by hand, in a small ceramic studio in Thailand, with a matte glaze. With such expert craftsmanship applied to each bowl, we really feel these are outstanding value.
While these are part of a 12-piece dinner set, the bowls are sold separately, so you can buy exactly how many you need. Each bowl has a little variation so when you come to stack them they might be a little haphazard, but we think this only adds to their rustic appeal. We found the bowls had a good weight to them, making them perfect for comforting nights in, heaped to the brim with hot pasta. Bellisimo!
Broste Copenhagen Nordic sea small stoneware pasta bowl
Broste Copenhagen has been making swoon-worthy Scandi homeware since 1955 but its pieces are so timeless they’ll never look dated. Featuring a pinstripe-esque print in complementary tones of grey, each handmade piece offers something slightly different. Measuring just 17cm in diameter, this bowl is on the smaller side, but can be popped in the dishwasher when you’re done. Simple and functional – just like all good Nordic designs.
Mervyn Gers midnight blue glaze pasta bowl
Handmade in Cape Town, the Mervyn Gers team create ceramics with their own smooth and glossy glaze so no two pieces will ever be exactly the same. Aside from these pasta bowls which measure 22.4cm in diameter, the range includes mugs, jugs and both plates and bowls of various sizes. Oven, microwave and dishwasher safe, these pieces are hardy enough for everyday use but due to the organic shapes, distinctive glaze and intended “imperfections”, feel more expensive then the price tag implies. If you don’t want to buy into the full range, the beautiful midnight blue hue would work with a bright white dinner plate, or mix and match tonal azure shades for a perfectly effortless collection.
Royal Doulton Gordon Ramsay Union Street Cafe pasta bowl
There are certain stylish restaurants where we’ve found ourselves admiring the tableware, just as much as the food. It seems Gordon Ramsay knows the score and has fulfilled our cravings for similar crockery at home. A collaboration between the chef’s Union Street Cafe restaurant (which specialises in Italian food) and Royal Doulton, purveyors of English ceramics, we love the lightly speckled quality of this stoneware which gives it a wonderfully homely appearance. Effortlessly transporting us to the osterias of Italy with each bite, the wide lip is nice and easy to hold when plates are piping hot, and the design is particularly well suited to tortellini in brodo (broth).
Mary Berry signature pasta bowl
Part of the queen of baking's crockery collection, this bright white pasta bowl is finished with an elegant raised dot pattern around the edge which looks just as stylish when used as a stand-alone piece or as part of the wider range. Despite being made from fine china it can be used in the microwave and the oven up to 230C – perfect for reheating that last piece of lasagne. Measuring 21.5cm across, we found it big enough for a portion of pasta and a small side salad.
Typhoon World Foods pasta bowls, set of two
Available in either this grey-blue colourway or deep moss green, these simple pasta bowls, which come as a set of two, are a great budget option. You could mix and match to create a complimentary tablescape or pair with patterned pieces of the same tones.
Perfect for those that prefer a plain backdrop for which to display their culinary creations, the simple design is the ideal size for serving pasta and the subtle lip will ensure your sauce stays put.
Emma Bridgewater polka dot medium pasta bowl
Emma Bridgewater’s signature polka dot design has been part of the range since 2002 and it’s really no wonder. With its cheerful multi-coloured print, it’s firmly positioned itself as a modern design classic. This pasta bowl is available in two sizes but it was the larger one that caught our eye (what can we say, we love our pasta!). The roomier size also makes it a little more versatile – we found ourselves using it for big salads or adding a cheeky wedge of garlic bread to our spag bol – you could even use as a serving dish. Made in the UK, it’s the perfect range to add to bit by bit until you complete the set.
HK Living ceramic 70s pasta bowl
With its raw textures and muted hues, the Seventies inspired HK Living range features a variety of bowls, plates and mugs, all designed to be mixed and matched to create a unique yet pulled together tableware collection. The interior of each bowl is a neutral cream base for your pasta to look its best, while the outside features a deep black glaze which the brand calls “moss”, finished with natural-looking blue and white flecks around the rim. Weighty and substantial, we can see this one being a permanent fixture on our table for years to come.
HAY soft ice bowl
If you’re looking to take the pasta party outside for a spot of alfresco dining, these clever bowls are made from enamelled steel, making them virtually unbreakable yet oh-so-elegant. One of the deepest bowls we put to the test, not only does this handle saucy pasta dishes with ease it would also be a great option for cereal, soup or ice cream. The Danish design brand is known for its fun prints and splashes of colour and we loved the dreamy marble pattern which seemed particularly fitting for a summers day.
The verdict: Pasta bowls
Combining beautiful aesthetics with everyday functionality, we were very impressed with the hand-crafted Habitat barnaby pasta bowl. A style we feel very much justifies the humble price tag.
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