There is a great little pizza and pasta restaurant a few minutes drive from our house. I love this place when I’m in the mood for Italian food. They have the best brick oven baked pizza and a pasta bar with lots of different pastas and sauces.
When I went to get my pasta at the pasta bar, the server had all of the different pastas already cooked. When I ordered mine, he grabbed a big bunch of pre-cooked pasta with some tongs and dropped it into some boiling water for about a minute. This revived the pre-cooked, cold pasta and made it perfectly hot and fresh! He didn’t have to serve me a dried out, oiled pasta that had been sitting under a heat lamp! I had “fresh cooked” pasta, ready in one minute!
At one of our big, extended family dinners recently, I was planning to serve spaghetti with a delicious, homemade red sauce . I knew that I was going to need a large amount of cooked spaghetti noodles all at the same time! I thought back to the pre-cooked pasta at the pasta bar!
So, the night before, I pre-cooked the spaghetti noodles to the “al dente” stage. (I actually used 2 large pots on the stove at a time.)
Next, I drained the pasta and rinsed it under cold water. Then, I poured it into a big bowl and drizzled it with olive oil. After it was stirred to insure that all of the noodles were coated with oil, I knew it wasn’t going to stick together or turn into one huge ball of spaghetti.
I covered it and stuck it into the fridge until just before dinner time.
While the sauce was simmering away and the breadsticks were in rising, I put a big pot of water on the stove to boil. Then, when dinner time came around, I just popped the pre-cooked pasta into the boiling water for about 1-2 minutes, drained it and served it up.
It was PERFECT!
By the way, did you know you can also freeze cooked pasta? Just put the desired amount of cooked pasta into a zipper sealed bag and freeze it. At dinner time, just pop the frozen pasta into some boiling water and it will be hot, fresh and ready to eat in about 2-3 minutes. This is great for leftovers or if you like to prepare ahead for a really quick meal!
23 thoughts on “Restaurant Secret for Making Pasta for a Crowd!”
I did this for about 75 people at church fellowship and it worked great but I under cooked pasta by 2 minutes, dropped in ice water and put in gallon zip lock bags after drizzling with a little oil, then refrigerated. . Next day I cooked for the 2 remaining minutes ;turned out perfect. Water took a long time to bring to boil! Put pre made sauce in crock pots.
That is awesome Rita! That is a lot of mouths to feed! I am so glad that you already knew this time saving trick!
Love this, we have a large family & sometimes the timing is just off for getting dinner on the table. Thanks for sharing!
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I had a mentor of mine teach me how to do this for an Impact of Hope event. I never thought that feeding 300 people spaghetti was even possible!! I’m so glad that you blogged about how to do this!! It’s a great tip to know!
I cook for family on Sundays and precook my pasta like this. I fill my crock pot with water and when we get home from Church I transfer the water to a pot and it doesnt take the water very long to come to a boil to finish the pasta!
That is a smart idea Kim! The water does take a long time to boil in a big pot! Thank you for the tip!
Thanks so much for this information! I am horrible at timing dinner for our large family on Christmas Eve. This will help me at least get the first dish out on time. Odd question: I’ve heard you are not supposed to rinse pasta unless you are using it for a pasta salad because you will rinse of the starch. Returning the pasta back into hot water, does this take care of the lost starch?
I actually do rinse the pasta then add a little bit of olive oil. The starch will cause the pasta to become sticky. Once it is dropped back into the boiling water, it becomes just like freshly cooked pasta again!
Thanks for the information!
I refrigerate leftover pasta depending on amount, place it in microwavable container or zip lock freezer bag, to reheat I just microwave pasta and regunivate it with,extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle dried basil on it!
Will this work as well for EggNoodles for a large crowd . Making Beef Strogonoff and don’t want to spend all evening cooking noodles.
I imagine it would work just the same, but it might be a good idea to try it with a small amount first. (Ohhh…Beef Strogonoff sounds delicious!) Let us know how your egg noodles work out!
You also can pour a little vinegar in your water while cooking your pasta. This process does something to control the starch in the pasta and your pasta won’t stick together. There would be no need for the olive oil. Works great.
Thanks Barbie. We’ll try it!
I’ll have to try this trick, too.
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With any pasta I make my family always prefers al dente , whether it is spaghetti, bow ties, shells whatever, once my pasta is cooked I put olive oil in to prevent sticking. Whatever pasta is left when I reheat, I out the pasta in a strainer and turn on the hot tap water and it reheats it perfectly!! No matter if reheating a little or a lot its great every time….thought maybe this tip will help those who may feel boiling a pot of water wasteful for smaller amounts…happy eating!
We do this two ways…Precook and reheat or toss it into a large pan, cover with foil and keep warm in the oven until serving time. Add the hot sauce as you serve. It is a lot easier to use a pot with the strainer that fits in the pot. Just lift out, rinse and put the next batch in the same water. Saves time boiling.
This is great I didn’t know you could freeze pasta. I normally cook million e in the microwave. 17 minutes in a glass dish. That leaves me free to cook the sauce and garlic bread and salads. Spaghetti is my go to in as hurry meal.
We did this exact same thing at the Restaurant I used to work at. Whenever anyone order spaghetti, there was always a big pot of simmering water on the stove, as well as simmering sauce. Pop in spaghetti, and ready to quick serve our customers. Always a very busy place for breakfast, lunch and dinner. 13 tables were all mine to tend to, so I had to be on my toes at all times. This was back in the day when a dollar tip was something to be excited about. 🙂 Telling my age here. 🙂 Of course I always over-tip now, knowing the hard work servers do on a daily basis, first hand. Exhausting job I had, but loved it and all the people I met along the way.
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