The Food Nerd Series
Nothing is worse than serving the main course to one guest and having the other guests wait 20 minutes for theirs! Here are six serving tips to help you serve everyone at the same time whether it is pasta or not:
1. My granny’s pasta sauce takes hours to prepare so I portion it out in one person servings and keep it frozen. If the sauce is made with meatballs I put two balls in each portion. If you don’t have enough containers for this, use small sandwich bags and use a good ladle full for each portion. When it’s time to prepare my pasta dinner I take out the portions I need and thaw them out ahead of time. No guessing. I know just how many pasta dinners I have in the freezer and how many guests I can invite.
2. Prepare and portion out all the ‘cold’ stuff you want to include with your dinner. This can be put in serving bowls, dishes or baskets and set aside. They can include: salad, dips, sliced raw veggies, anti-pastos and breads. Doing this frees your time and energy for when you have to serve the parts that you don’t want to get cold.
3. Cook pasta ‘al dente’. One regular package of spaghetti serves almost three portions. Stir pasta occasionally while you cook so it doesn’t stick together in clumps. As soon as it is done, run cold water on it so it doesn’t get soggy! Drain and keep it in the strainer until you are almost ready to serve. Always keep a kettle of hot water ready or use an electric instant hot water kettle. When you are about to serve pour hot water on the pasta to warm it for serving.
4. Additionally have a pan with hot water simmering and cover with a ceramic or metal plate to stack additional foods that you want to serve with the dinner. These foods (garlic bread/patties/diced/veggies/soups) take their own preparation time, sometimes a long time, and simply need to be kept warm so they don’t delay you when you are serving the main course. A pan of simmering water will be your ‘warming’ plate while you prepare the rest of the dinner. After all you are not expected to have restaurant supplies in your home! The idea is to keep all the appetizers, ‘cold’ dishes or warm dishes ready to serve either on a table or on your warming plate. before serving. If you have this all ready you can serve it quickly at the last moment right before serving your main dish. .
5. Before serving, pour hot water on plates so the plate helps keep the food warm.
6. Have your table all set before the food gets served (that is why restaurants do it this way).
7. Have glasses set on table and drink in a pitcher so they can serve themselves before their food arrives or serve a basket of the garlic bread or warmed fresh bread a little ahead of time. This is also how restaurants do it and it helps people put something in their mouth before dinner comes.