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Cook Talk

graduation party for 75
I want to make Penn vodka to serve 75 persons. I already made 324 meatballs and we are also having a whole roasted pig that will serve to 70 persons. I am also making chicken scallopine. Please let me know how many pounds of pasta I need to cook and how many cans of crushed tomato, vodka, butter, onions, I need for the vodka sauce. I am also making pasta salad and tomato and onion salad. Please send me an email with your suggestion. The party is for this Saturday, June 21, 2014. Thank you.
Maria, you sure don't leave yourself much breathing room.

You have a lot of meat for 70 people, which will probably decrease the amount of pasta you need. 1 pound dry penne makes almost 8 cups cooked. For 70 people, for generous portions, do about 15 pounds pasta.

Penne Vodka Sauce for 70-
Big servings, 15 pounds pasta about 1 quart sauce per pound. Does not reheat very well; best made day of. Hold or reheat over very low heat.

10 tablespoons olive oil
10 onions, chopped
garlic is actually optional, but if you use it, about 1/4 to 1/2 cup whole peeled cloves, crushed
10 28 ounce cans crushed tomatoes (that is 2 #10 cans; skim off any seeds you can)
1/4 cup fresh or 1 tablespoon dried oregano
70 -90 fresh basil leaves, chopped or 3-4 tablespoons dried basil leaves (use the fresh, please)
2 tablespoons salt
1- 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh ground pepper
5 cups butter, divided
9 pounds fresh white mushrooms, quartered, about 30 cups
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (to taste)
5 1/2 cups vodka
5 quarts heavy cream (half and half only if you must, it affects the thickness)

6 tablespoons kosher salt
15 lbs rigatoni pasta penne
3 cups dry parmesan cheese, plus additional for the table (additional, 1 ounce per person, 4-5 pounds)

Start the water boiling, it will take almost 1/2 hour to get to a full rolling boil. You need 16-20 quarts water, you could do 2 pans.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan; when hot, saute the onions (and garlic if used) until golden, about 5 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes to the saucepan. Stir in the oregano, basil, salt and pepper and simmer 1 hour to concentrate flavors.

While the sauce is cooking, heat half of the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Saute the mushrooms and hot pepper flakes until the mushrooms are golden. Some people like to add prosciutto here, about 1/2-1 ounce per person

Carefully add the vodka to the mushroom mix and simmer for 5 minutes to cook off the alcohol.

Add the heavy cream to the mushroom mix and bring just to a simmer; pour the cream mixture into the tomato puree; stir to mix. Keep the sauce warm while cooking the pasta.

Add the kosher salt to water. Bring to a rolling boil. Add pasta to boiling water; cook uncovered until pasta is al dente, about 12 minutes. Drain well.

Now, DON'T skip this step! Melt the remaining butter in a large skillet. Stir into the drained pasta to glaze, then add Parmesan cheese and mix thoroughly.

This is the optimum service:
Stir in 1/3 of the sauce and mix with the pasta; divide among plates. Top each plate with some additional sauce; pass remaining sauce and additional cheese at the table.

If you must serve from a chafer, stir in 2/3 of the sauce and have the last third in a crock pot or warmer for gguests to add extra.

Here are 2 not quite from scratch vodka sauce recipes:

Soup base

This one uses a jar sauce as a base:

If this saves you time, trouble, or money, please make a donation, maybe a dime or quarter per guest, to support this site. Thanks.

PS, you can do the tomato portion ahead, chill, and bring back to heat day of.
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