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Old 12-29-2005, 10:20 AM   #1
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Need Help with Pre-Cooking Pasta

I'm new to this forum and need some advice. I'm hosting a small informal gathering for New Year's Eve which will include dinner. I like to serve things which can be made in advance so that I can spend time with my guests rather than be stuck in the kitchen. I also find it helps eliminate stress and mess. So, I'm going to do a chicken parmesan. I would like to serve pasta with it. I would like to cook both dishes the night before and then warm them in the oven. However, I know that pasta tends to dry out in the oven. Would it be ok to set out a dish of warmed sauce next to the pasta so that people can re-sauce their plate if they would like? Or should I just douse the pasta in lots and lots of sauce before putting it in the oven?
Thanks all for any ideas!


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Old 12-29-2005, 10:36 AM   #2
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I would recommend boiling the pasta just before serving or cooking it 90% the day before then tossing it into a pot of boiling water just before serving.

Another alternative would be to make a pasta and cheese bake to go along with the chicken parm. The you can serve the baked pasta out of the casserole dish.

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Old 12-29-2005, 10:38 AM   #3
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I agree with Andy... boiling pasta is not that much work....

but I think I would do something completely different... if there is no time for the pasta
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Old 12-29-2005, 10:49 AM   #4
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I have done chix parm and pasta ahead of time. I use a either, ziti,sprials,rigatoni.or penne and cooked it all the day before and put in to a baking dish and put the chix on top Add sauce and then reheat all at once in the oven (covered good ). Dish goes from oven to table. Hasn't failed me yet.
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Old 12-29-2005, 11:36 AM   #5
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i also agree with andy. cook it most of the way, so that it is very al dente, then rinse it under cold water to stop it from cooking further, drain it well and seal in an airtight container.
when you are ready to serve, just dump it in a pot of boiling water for a minute, then drain, toss with sauce, and serve.
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Old 12-29-2005, 11:48 AM   #6
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Yep. That's what I do too. Works very well.
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Old 12-29-2005, 11:56 AM   #7
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Wow. Thanks for all the good advice. I think I'll try doing it all in one dish as a chicken parm/pasta bake.
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Old 12-29-2005, 12:35 PM   #8
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Yes you can cook your pasta ahead of time but some suggestions,
Cook the pasta al dente and as already stated rinse in cold water to stop the cooking. I then toss the pasta with olive oil to keep from drying out while it is stored in the the refridgerator. To reheat I would suggest just dousing it in boiling water again or you could even saute it with the sauce. If you put it in the oven with the sauce and chicken be careful not to overcook the pasta. This should help with the heat and serv idea and sounds like a fun night. ENJOY

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