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Prepare Pasta? for Pasta Bar

post #1 of 7
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I am planning a luncheon at my church and we are having a pasta bar. Three Sauces and three pastas. Marinara, red sauce w/ meatballs and alfredo will be served with spaghetti, linguine, and we are considering a ravioli. I will be serving 200 - 250 people.

My question is... how is the best way to prepare and serve the pasta? We absolutlely do not want to mix pastas and sauces. We want people to chose their own pasta and sauce. May I cook it the day before until just al dente, then the next day submerge in boiling water to re- heat? Problem: school and church kitchen are both a distance away from where we are serving, can roasters be used to keep pasta warm? Should I use olive oil to keep pasta from sticking? Last, can anyone give me a ballpark on how much pasta and sauce to prepare?
Thanks!
Natalie-Mom of FOUR BOYS who is tired of "LITTLE BOY FOOD"
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Thanks!
Natalie-Mom of FOUR BOYS who is tired of "LITTLE BOY FOOD"
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post #2 of 7
COok pastas in bulk, cook to juuuust under aldente, strain, shock with cold water, and oil down pasta with a little bit of water too(this will aid in pasta not sticking), then reserve. Pasta will hold up fine in chaffers from there on out. If worse comes to worse, I'm sure your church has coffee machines, use hot water off the machine to give a quick reheat, then drain and oil, then right into holding vessel.
ANy oil works, the key is a little water too(oil and water dont mix, thats why I like this method) and I assure you there will be no "stickage". If you heat the sauces well, the temp should hold for the commute, just get it right into a chaffer.
A good rule of thumb for preparing bulk pasta, IMO, is 6oz pasta per head, 4oz sauce per head. Buffets though, could vary greatly. You dont' know who is gonna tear it up, or who will be reserved.

ANd remember, pasta doubles in wieght, 1lb dry=2lb wet.

here is a quick "formula": oz x people / 16= gross wieght, then divide in half to get wieght for dry pasta, according to my calculations, for 250ppl, around 40 pounds total pasta, divide they way you like umong the pasta varieties. Sounds like alot, and hope I did the math right, but for 250 ppl, it WILL be alot of pasta. For the ravioli, figure 3 to 4 per head maybe...pasta is also a filling meal, so it can be a little hard to gauge.

Hope this helps...
Like all good meals, this too shall pass
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Like all good meals, this too shall pass
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post #3 of 7
I can't improve on Crazytatts arithmetic, or technique, but here's what my experience tells me:
A. Spaghetti and linguini are too much alike, not to mention, they are both kinda messy to handle on a buffet. Spaghetti is sort of a must-have, but I would consider a short pasta like penne or farfalle (bow tie)as an alternate.

B. The red sauce will sell a whole lot more than the white; bring enough. It will last better as a left-over or frozen too.

C. Another third option might be tortellini, especially a tri-color if you find one.

From a (former) fellow Illini (Rock Island)

Mike
www.lasvegascatering.com
post #4 of 7
How many of your guest base will discern the difference between penne marinara and spaghetti marinara or mafaldine marainara?

It's up to you to sell the sizzle and guide your guests through the process - make it fun! Offer the choice but sell what you need to sell.
post #5 of 7
How many of your guest base will discern the difference between penne marinara and spaghetti marinara or mafaldine marainara?

It's up to you to sell the sizzle and guide your guests through the process - make it fun! Offer the choice but sell what you need to sell.
post #6 of 7

pasta pasta pasta

Stay away from linguini, its to easy to over cook when heated 2nd time. Ravioli breaks.Go with penne, :crazy: spaghetti and tortollinni its easier to handle
They can all be cooked al-dente before time. I would cook then shock- cool down. Add a little oil to prevent sticking and for ease of handling., even though oil stops the pasta from sauce sticking to it later. You can serve by having 2 or 3 portable gas burners to heat sauce, then toss pasta in it.Or a chafer filled with boiling water(sterno underneith to reheat pasta in a strainer) and a 3 compartment chafer to keep sauces hot. Or pots of water in kitchen where pasta can be boiled water dipped brought out and placed in a chaffer.
Since you are giving 3 pastas . I figure 1 lb. of pasta for 6 people, with 5 ounces sauce so thats 500 ounces sauce per 100guest or 3.90 gallons. They will eat more red sauce then white.Good Luck chefed
CHEFED
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CHEFED
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post #7 of 7

I guess the main question would be what kind of equipment do you have access to?

To give a truely educated guess, what kind of plan do you have for prep, transporting, heating and serving?

Will most of this be done off-site or on?

Pasta cooks pretty quick - 10 - 20 minutes and you can do a pretty large load in a large stock pot. 16 oz for 6 would be about right if you aren't serving anything else. The general formula is about 2 oz dry for one person. But 6 per lb sounds like a good bet.

Now, if you're like me or my Jewish side (kinda buried but it shows) you'd make enough of each thing like that was the ONLY thing anyone was gonna eat. :crazy: (thank God for freezers)

Of course that is not particularly practical in the real world.

Definitely choose different types of pasta. A long stringy pasta, a little bow or curly pasta, multi colored pasta or a ? Stuffed shells or canneloni are nice if you have the time and man power. (or just hours) They can be made way ahead of time in a sprayed/oiled pan and refrigerated with a simple tomato sauce for moisture or sprayed with a little chicken stock OR brushed with olive oil in case someone wants them with the sauce of choice. Actually the only odd man out in this instance would be the alfredo. You can reheat them easily in the oven.

Believe it or not lasagne is a really cost effective dish. I make a loaded version with sausage, beef, all kinds of cheeses, mushrooms, ricotta and mozz. Usually around $2 per serve. Freezes and re-heats better than the day it was made. I always found that certain tomato based sauces, mexican, chilis and italians are far better when the can 'age' (of course I use the word 'rot') in the fridge for several days.

I don't know what kind of meatballs you're using, but you possibly could have them panned separately and people could add them to the alfredo or tomato based sauce of choice. I dunno, I like alfredo and meatballs.

Anyway, I hope this isn't too confusing. (It's pretty late) Feel free to ask away if it is.

April :lips:

Garlic breadsticks anyone?
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