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Pasta Stations

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
I've gotten a request for estimate on a Bar Mitzvah in 2010...one of the things mentioned was a pasta station.
This would be off site at a synagog.....

Any suggestions?
How do you work your pasta station?

No pork nor shell fish.

This is not one that's come up before.....I'd assume:
Pick from:
alfredo
marinara
Add:
meatballs
maybe chicken
basil
parmesan

different shaped pasta.....

So how does it all work? Pre cooked pasta chilled. Sauce scooped by portion in saute pan or warm in ban marie? Then what happens with all the sautes necessary? the logistics are just not clear.

TIA
cooking with all your senses.....
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post #2 of 15
You have got the sauces right. Usually 2 types pasta precooked Al Dente Fettuccini and Penne.
2 Portable gas burners and 2 chaffing dishes.3 sauces are enough. Italian garlic bread nearby (a filler). Sauces in nice bowls and pasta the same. Stay a little ahead as you will get hit all at once. Put what you already made in chaffers on each side of you. Only other consideration is day of week and are they strictly kosher. If Orthodox you can't have flames on the sabbath so it will be difficult. From Friday sundown to Saturday sundown no cooking or flames permitted, also no meatballs, meat sauce instead. However you can't mix meat or chicken with dairy(Alfreddo) so this also is a consideration. Red and white checked clothes on station like italian rest. decorated with raw pasta sprinkled about, and tall jars of breadstix and raw spaghetti Hope this helps
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post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
yep.

125 guests not kosher, reformed synagog.....just no pig no shellfish.....meat/dairy ok.

words from client, "nice not over the top"....
SO it's not ala minute? Again I may be overthinking the saute pans needed....

Is it viable having a "by the person" gig, much like an omelet station where there are numerous addins?

This would be one of several TBD stations/buffet so "pushing through a crowd" is not as essential.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #4 of 15
I have used 2 12 inch saute pans olive oil ina small teapot nearby
cooked fett. cooked penne & have used Tortollini all cold tossed with a bit of oil so it wont stick together in bowls.
Alfreddo..Meat sauce..A la Vodka..Pesto As you know the less choices the better, it takes them to long to decide. Have more cooked pasta in kitchen or a large pot of boiling water in case you have to cook more. Sauces on buffet cold heated outside in saute pans. I have always found the trick is make the tables look as Italian as possible. cans olive oil, boxes pasta, checked linen, some whole veges, rope of garlic, red onions etc. I dont have to tell you, you know your business. If you want more, a map of Italy pinned on front of table. Heavy set chef behind pasta station ,kerchief on neck. Meatballs take to long to heat thru, meat sauce better.I have done a lot of these for big numbers of people so if I can help in any way let me know. Last time I did stations I charged by person based on station. I also had a caesar salad station made to order next to it.
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post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 
love it, thanks for the clarification.....I will go with meat sauce.
As Ed as been so kind to reiterate, decoration has a lot to do with catering....it's not all about the food......as much as alot of us would like.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #6 of 15

I should only be alive in 2010. :lol: Three years ago, I catered a Bat Mitzvah for 750. Strictly kosher, everything prepared on site;anything warm had to be in the ovens, fully cooked, prior to the onset of the sabbath. No meat; dairy only, some vegan items, and chilled fish. It took me a month to recover.
post #7 of 15
TIA,

Marinara for sure.

I've got mixed feelings about "Alfredo," but a lot of people expect what passes for Alfredo and you've got to keep the customers happy. On the other hand, you can whip butter and cheese, fold in a little whipped cream, and either serve it on individual plates or allow guest to scoop it onto their pasta where it can melt. I've done that, but it all depends on what the client expects.

I'd add at least one sauce; and possibly two. Some thoughts: Pesto; A light butter/white-wine/garlic/herb sauce; Primavera; Putanesca. I suppose [sigh] Caruso is an idea whose time has past.

I'd offer some vegetables with your add ins, like zucchini and egglpant. Bar Mitzvah means a lot of the other kids will be vegan. The whole pasta station is actually pretty sensitive to that. I hate to quibble with a decision that's already been made but I'd go back to the meatballs -- they can be prepared the day before, and they're sturdy enough to be held hot -- especially if held in a little sauce. I'd also consider some (turkey) Italian sausage in peppers and onions as an add on.

We used to keep the pasta pot boiling, a cook in the back, and a runner running to keep the pasta fresh. Off-site definitely makes it more challenging. I suppose you'll be using something like a crab boiler?

We also used to do a lot of "tossed" with either carbonara or actual Alfredo. Probably not happening for you. Besides the hold up in the buffet lines, it's additional help, and seems too food oriented and not party oriented enough considering it's a Bar Mitzvah.

BDL
post #8 of 15
Mushroom Girl: I still go by my original post. Most Bar.M or Bat M gigs I have done, and I have done a lot are looking for THE LOOK, So when they first walk in their guest are overwhelmed. Being from NY, Brooklyn,Queens area with the largest Jewish population in U.S , and running multi room Kosher Catering Facilities and haveing been married to a Jewish girl, I think I know my clientel. Unfortunatly food is secondary, the look is first. Also whole sausage wont fly. Neither will mixing cream and meat in same dish. Alfreddo or cream sauce for pasta should be on table premade in a crock with a ladel like all other sauces.
I go out a lot with my non religious Jewish friends, they refrain from Cheeseburgers or a shake or malt or glass of milk with a meat entree, it is an automatic part of heritage and upbringing religious or not, at least in Northern parts ofU.S.
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post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 
my roots run similar to yours....
StLouis has a huge orthodox as well as reformed Jewish population.
I've taught private cooking lessons to an orthodox jew (using his CSA bag of produce) weekly for 3 years.....3 sets of pots and pans, plates etc...

My squeeze for 9 years was a reformed Jew who was on international food and wine boards, serious wine guy who loved pork and pretty much did not let religion get involved in his diet.....he was also the treasurer of his synagog for many years. Most of his friends had a similar belief system.

I've catered in an orthodox synagog. They were OK with the ovens being left on overnight. There are timers available too.


OK, word from one of my waitstaff that works at Aramark AB, they parboil pasta, finish boiling on site. Then have "toppings" that are sauteed in pans on burners, sauces are in chafers....pasta on plate, toppings/sauce. That way the pans are usuable without having to have 100 saute pans in reserve.

But, after meeting with the family.....they want chafers with marinara pasta and alfredo pasta, setup of "toppings" to select from. GAG.....

There's a vegan Italian sausage that is amazing....aurapro, sold at Whole Foods, made in STL. they've got the seasoning and best yet the texture is pretty darn good.

I totally get the flash really matters.

One bid I've got out for 50 anniversary of a church, the priest wants flamed ice cream (cherries jubilee, bananas foster etc) for dessert.....300 guests.
wooopee. A church gig (read into that not high end) with a gym full of people and melting ice cream. How do I get into these things?
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #10 of 15
What family wants you to do is actually easier. As far as Flambes, sounds like a great gig. As far as hard or challenging ,remember "WE ARE CATERERS, WE CAN DO ANYTHING"
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post #11 of 15
This is very regional. In the Midwest, the food better be good. I'm not familiar with the aurapro brand, but have used Gimme Lean vegan burger roll with great success.
What I think is a humorous story...I prepared lasagna for a bar mitzvah using the Gimme Lean beef roll. I'd used kosher riccota, kosher mozzarella, some butt awful kosher parmesan, and the fake beef, which I'd browned in garlic/basil infused olive oil before adding it to a tomato sauce. This Gimme Lean product notes on the tube that it's kosher and has no dairy nor meat. The synagogue's kitchen supervisor blessed me 100 times for introducing her to this product. This was a Conservative synagogue and I understood that the rabbi, though only in his late 40s, was very traditional. Well, he was served a piece of the lasagna, and, I'm told, he almost choked, as he charged into the kitchen. He started yelling at the kitchen supervisor for allowing the mixing of meat and milk and that the lasagna would have to come off the serving line immediately. Apparently, this woman had grown used to the rabbi's rants. She took one of the unused vegan sausage rolls, showed him that it was kosher and neither meat nor dairy, and quietly suggested that he apologize to me and everyone in the kitchen. Instead, he insisted that the kitchen supervisor announce that the lasagna contained a meat substitute. She smiled, always calm, and showed the rabbi that it was written clearly on the morning service sheet.
post #12 of 15
Since you understand THE KASHRUTH here is a story for you. While standing in the kitchen of an Orthodox Shul on a Saturday afternoon and superviseing the kitchen porters cleaning the stoves, ovens etc, The Rabbi walks in, comes to me and says"Ed they have the ovens and the broilers and stoves on and its the sabbath" I said but rabbi they are on pilot lights and they are not cooking. He says to me Ed thats questionable.. Just then the outdoor sprinklers went on to water the lawn. I looked at him and said Rabbi the electric just turned on the sprinkler and it is the sabbath. He tells me they are on a timer so I SAID TO HIM ''RABBI THATS QUESTIONABLE'' He looked at me, got the point and walked away. That same day I saw his car in one of our lots when I went out to the store, and it was not there in the morning when I arrived??????
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post #13 of 15
In 1996, I bought a new Subaru Legacy station wagon. It had more electronic gadgetry than I was accustomed to, including an electronic door gizmo. My wife and I went out for lunch immediately after I purchased the car. When we finished lunch and went out to the car, I could not get any of the doors open. I was angry and called the dealership. They said they'd send a technician out immediately, and they did. The upshot: My car, identical to the one I was trying to open, was parked two rows back in the parking lot.
(I never make value judgments about other folks' level of religious observance unless they make judgments about my behavior.)
post #14 of 15
Thread Starter 
LOLOLOL.......
great final sentiment. The politicians that fall the hardest are the ones that put themselves on a very tall pedistal and then do exactly what they've preached was evil.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #15 of 15
Be ready for a pre-pubescent path of destruction - with everyone's approval. Arm yourself with chicken fingers and dart-guns of Ritalin!
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