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Cook Talk

Pasta Side Dish Question
I am catering a buffet; 50-60 people over a 3 hour period. The client has requested a hot pasta side dish to go along with turkey and ham. I haven't done pasta in a buffet before, and I am a little panicked. I won't have a lot of time for cooking at the site. I was thinking of cooking ziti ahead of time, cooling, coating with oil and bagging it. Cooking the alfredo on site, and then at last minute combining them in a warmed chafing dish for holding. I've read about so many negatives with pasta in a buffet. What's the best way? I don't want a sticky mushy mess! THANK YOU!
Buy best quality, Italian semolina flour pasta; under cook slightly, chill down immediately in ice bath. Then proceed as you discuss. The cook and hold issues are discussed in lengthy detail on the spaghetti page.
The hot sauce in the chafer alone will NOT get the pasta hot enough. A momentary dip in a net or colander into hot water is called for, drain, and combine. Or reheat in a saute pan and add the sauce, per person...

Rotini, radiatore, bow ties, or another open shape will reheat better and faster than ziti or penne.

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