Not everybody has had the unfortunate experience of eating stale or even slightly cold pasta, but those that have can honestly say that it can ruin a whole dinner. If you make your buffet dinner for friends or loved ones, keeping your pasta fresh will be no problem using these tips. It is a chance of redemption for your palette.
As pasta cools down it will also dry up. Adding a little olive oil, or even a little cold water and some ice cubes, though it may seem counterintuitive, are really good ways to maintain fresh, warm and moist pasta.
There is also the dreaded sticking and clumping of pasta that has been sitting in a heat lamp for who knows how long when you are at a buffet. By trying these simple tips and tricks to make sure that your dinner setting will be just as good as the best buffet that you have ever been to, you can achieve restaurant quality pasta in the convenience of your home.
Keeping Your Pasta Steamy for your Buffet Setting
Hotplates are the best choice for keeping your pasta warm, as long as you keep the pasta in the same pot in which it was cooked. The risk here is your pasta becoming somewhat squishy if you allow it to sit too long on the hotplate. Of course, when you have friends and family present for your buffet dinner, it is ideal for your pasta to stay on the hot plate since, usually, it takes no longer than 20 minutes for everyone to serve their plate. In this case there is no need to worry about anything happening to your pasta. However, a lot of restaurants tend to use other methods to avoid their customers from eating old pasta for more than 3 hours after it has been put out.
One special thing about pasta is, whether it is cooked “molto al dente” (just a bit undercooked) or if it is cold, it is perfect if you are going to add your homemade sauce, nice and hot, right out of the pan. Your pasta will continue to cook regardless of which style you choose to prepare. Pasta is a great base that is a bit delicate. Whether you make Mac & cheese, add some sautéed veggies or vinegar and oil for a French touch, it will continue to cook from the steam and heat of whatever you add to it. Nobody wants their homemade sauce ruined by pasta that is squishy or overcooked.
Preventing Your Pasta From Losing Heat
The way that restaurants keep pasta warm when cooked ahead of time or serving to order, is having “al dente” pasta prepared previously. When adding the sauce, the pasta will continue to cook from the fresh hot steam and heat. Using this method is great for your buffet dinner setting. Not all of our relatives or invitees will eat at the same time. With everyone going up at different times to get their food, keeping your sauce hot and noodles chilled will keep that satisfying consistency that no one will be able to resist. These steps are only a few tips that will make your dinner setting very impressive.
Making a delicious cold pasta dish will open your creative eye, which will ensure you take advantage of each ingredient you choose. The key point is making sure that your pasta stays cold to maintain that delicate base. The use of ice cubes is still recommended. Make sure that you don’t forget the olive oil to prevent the pasta from becoming overly sticky and have it fighting with your teeth. Adding too much of any ingredient will make for a more tedious cooking experience. Just make sure you add what you feel is necessary to make your dining setting delicious. You will avoid any oily or greasy overpowering flavors and textures as long as you have an understanding of the slow cooking process.
A Cold Bold Plate Makes for a Balanced Experience
A small amount of cold water will make a difference in the quality of your pasta. Mayonnaise, some lettuce and a bit of cream are amazing ingredients that will keep the freshness in your pasta. Not much added oil is needed to keep your pasta cold, a very important factor since almost everybody loves olive oil.
The choice of your ingredients will always be important in how you will cook your cold pasta. It is important to avoid mixing your cold pasta with any other pasta that is hot or has any remaining heat. Rinsing with a bit of cold water, as mentioned, will be your main step to prevent overcooking. Remember that the right amount of olive oil will also make a huge difference in the cooling process. Maintaining the temperature of your pasta will provide more benefits to keep everyone enjoying an awesome buffet. An alternative for olive oil can be almond oil. Either choice works just as well to prevent noodles from sticking together.
A Variety of Ways to Create Your Pasta
No matter if you’re a novice or expert, the potential creativity with pasta is limitless. This is only one reason to love pasta. Most of us grow up with a simple spaghetti meal or dish and call it pasta through most of our youth. Everyone has a different way of making “spaghetti,” from the flower or wheat used or ingredients added that helped us embrace the difference in taste for what we now know as pasta. Our Hispanic and Asian brothers and sisters introduced many ways to make a good homemade quality pasta, with their many colorful spices, herbs, vegetables and proteins needed to keep us and our loved ones healthy. Such a strong influence that even machinery has been developed to create some of our favorite pasta as a convenience. Even the pro-at-home chef has the choice to have home machinery enabling that perfect recipe.
Picture perfect plating
Not all restaurants have the etiquette to present a dish as one would at a bistro or a five-star establishment, when at a buffet. That is no excuse for messy plating. Whether a meal is too hot or too cold, a bad presentation of any dish is noticeable by anyone, from the restaurant and the chef and even yourself. This has been one of the most efficient inventions that fine quality dining veterans have accomplished quite well: Presentation. From a more conservative point of view, the use of beautifully clean design and hand-made china is what creates that amazing picture perfect plate for most restaurants. It is one more way to make your dinner setting that much more memorable.
Just don’t forget to check on the pasta! Friends and relatives can also assist with how well you execute this event. Things such as garnishes and veggies are the main factor. You will see great results when tending to the smallest details. Light appetizers are key to assure that everyone has a full at-home dinner buffet experience.
Observing everyone will pay off. Knowing how much your guests like your food will assist with portion control of everything. Everyone’s taste buds are different no matter how good you think your sauce or added ingredients are. Some might add mixed seasonings that no one else would consider. Pepper, salt, and sauce are just a few differences in taste. Making a great pasta in any style with any ingredient makes for a great home-style dining buffet setting, or even a formal dinner as long as you consider what you’ve just read.
Forget about sticky, or squishy stale pasta.