I’m having guests over on memorial Day, and am thinking on pasta for the meal. They (about 5 guests) will arrive around noon, and we will eat when folks are hungry, maybe 6PM. Can I pre-cook the pasta and keep it in a crock pot without it turning to mush/a sticky mess? I’ll also have two sauces - cheese and tomato based.
I’m not worried too much about the tomato sauce, but the cheese worries me. I think I will make it and then reheat it. I figure I can nuke the (precooked) meat or serve it cold with the hot sauces.
Any advice appeciated.
For parties, I have cooked pasta, drained it, then refrigerated it in gallon ziplock bags.
You mean, like in a hot crock pot. No. The pasta will keep cooking. Over hours, you’re going to have, well, mush. Chill the pasta (maybe toss it with a tiny bit of oil) and refrigerate it. Tomato sauce can be chilled and re-heated almost endlessly, but we’d probably have to know more about what you mean by “cheese sauce” before we could address that part.
Why are you microwaving meat in the first place? I thought the whole point of having people over for Memorial weekend is to grill, meaning you eat what comes off the grill as it’s done.
Actually I will probably (pre) grill some chicken, but will reheat it before the meal
The cheese suace will be something like alfredo sauce
I will having grilled food Saturday and Sunday night, and this supports people eating at different times better (we will be playing board games, and there may be two games being played and/or people grabbing food when it isnt thier turn)
In restaurants, we pre-cook pasta all the time. Cook it until before al-dente, rinse it and keep it somewhere cool. Heat up your sauce in the pan, re-heat the pasta for a few seconds in boiling water, and add to sauce.
Cook the pasta until almost done, drain and pop it in the fridge. At serving time quickly drop the pasta in boiling water to re-heat it, or even just pour a pot of boiling water over the pasta in a colander in your sink. Alternately, if you’re going heavy on the sauce you can just heat that to boiling and pour it over the cold pasta. Should turn out warm but not super hot, which is how I like my food (my mouth burns easily).
I cook it less done than al dente so it can soak in boiling water for a few minutes to reheat without getting mushy. But every way I’ve seen it done it works out well enough.
Whenever I cook pasta, I cook way more than I need and I freeze the rest. Defrost, and heat in the microwave. Can’t tell the difference from the just boiled stuff.
Reheating very large quantities of pasta in the microwave might require some careful interrupting and mixing during the re-heating process, though.