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Thread: How do you make a spaghetti meal ahead for a crowd?

  1. #1

    How do you make a spaghetti meal ahead for a crowd?

    For my son's upcoming birthday party, he wants to serve a spaghetti dinner with salad and bread. We are expecting 25-30 family members and I don't know how to make this much ahead. Can I make the sauce ahead and re-heat it in a crock pot? Will it burn that way? Is there any way to make the pasta ahead? I only have 4 burners so can I boil 4 pots of pasta at once or is that crazy? Any ideas are appreciated.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Northern VA
    I'm sure you could make sauce ahead and keep it warm on the crockpot or stove. Pasta is a little trickier because it can stick or get too soft. I have made it ahead of time, al dente, and then drained it and stored it in water. When it's time to serve, just drain it and reheat it in the microwave.

    But with the size of crowd you are having, you might want to consider lasagna or baked ziti casserole, which could be prepared ahead of time and baked the day of the party. That would be a lot easier. Two or three full size lasagnas serve a crowd. I've done that for several birthday parties and family get-togethers and it's pretty easy.

    Good luck!

  3. #3
    DmOrtega Guest
    We cook pasta ahead a lot. We cook it al dente, not soft, drain and add olive oil (this will keep the pasta from sticking together). Then later reheat it in the microwave without adding any extra water.

    Another alternative to reheat it, is by putting the pasta into a pot of boiling water for a few minutes to warm, drain and use normally.

    The sauces can also be reheated in a microwave or in a pan on the stove. Although, I like the idea of reheating it in a crockpot. Either way, it will work fine. Have fun.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Raleigh, NC
    I would definitely make the sauce ahead, you could reheat it either in the crock pot or the microwave. If you reheat it in the microwave, do for a couple of minutes at a time and then stir so it heats evenly and doesn't burn.

    You can boil the pasta ahead, cooking it until al dente, then strain and RINSE WELL (or it will stick together) and then a few minutes before serving just put it in boiling water for a couple of minutes to reheat.

    The bread you can make ahead and then reheat in the oven.

    The salad you can make ahead of time, but you might want to keep some of the ingredients separate until the last minute. For example, if you are using chopped tomatoes, go ahead and chop them ahead of time but store them in a separate container and add before serving so that they don't make the rest of the salad soggy. Or just use grape tomatoes that you don't have to chop at all and add them before serving. Same for the dressing. If you are using croutons, I would do the same with them because otherwise they will get soggy.

    Hope this helps!


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    New Hampshire
    I'm the designated spaghetti and meatball maker on Christmas Eve for my husband's family. I got tired of cooking the pasta when I got there so this year I cooked the pasta right before we left....mixed it with the sauce and meatballs.... put it in the glass 9 x 12 that comes with the (I can't think of the brand name) carrier with the hot/cold pack in it. It worked out fine for one batch, but that wasn't enough to serve this large crowd so I just put a second batch in a glass casserole and put it in the oven when we got there. I did tell them that I'm making lasgna or ziti next year! That would be a lot easier!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Odessa, FL, USA
    I once went to a cooking demonstration with a guest chef. (I have not tried this myself) You cook your pasta al dente, then spread it out on large cookie sheets, cover and refrigerate. When ready to cook, add a little water to the cookie sheets, sort of like steaming, and put in the oven at about 300 degrees (I think)until warm. It was 3 years ago, and I don't remember everything about it. But thought at the time it was pure genius. LaurieC

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Madison, WI USA
    you could also dp a baked pasta casserole. There are several versions. yum

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    I agree with making an Italian casserole of some sort ahead of time that you can pop in the oven. Then go ahead and make spaghetti, too, but you won't have to make so much. I have done this for large family get-togethers, and it works well. It gives people a couple of choices, your son still gets his spaghetti dinner, and you don't have pots and pots of pasta to cook (or reheat) in order to serve everyone.

    Less rhetoric, more cowbell!

  9. #9
    Thank you to everyone for your suggestions. I think I will make a casserole and do the spaghetti like suggested because I want my son to be pleased and then I can test methods on the pasta. I will let you know how it goes.

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