1. Set out a pound of cooked pasta, such as farfalle, penne, or fusilli, in a large bowl; toss with 1 or 2 tablespoons of olive oil or butter and a dash of salt.
2. Heat your favorite bottled tomato sauce until simmering (while the pasta cooks) and serve it in small pitchers so everyone can help themselves.
3. Set out small bowls with toppings and let kids (and grown-ups) customize their pasta — like an ice cream sundae. Fun choices: grated parmesan, shredded cheddar, cubed mozzarella, chopped roasted red-pepper strips, oregano, chopped tomatoes, basil strips, alfredo sauce.
How kids can help: Choose and measure toppings; mix pasta with oil; place toppings in bowls.