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Can I prepare ravioli ahead of time?

Hi everyone. I am having a dinner party to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary this coming Saturday. I would like to make as much ahead as possible and have planned a menu which is allowing me to do that with several of the courses. However, I am uncertain how to make ahead the pasta course, or if I even can do this.

I am having four different stuffed pastas:

Lobster Ravioli in Pink Sauce
Butternut Squash Ravioli with Sage Brown Butter Sauce
Gorgonzola-Walnut Ravioli with Butter and Parmigiano-Reggiano
Artichoke Tortellini with Tomato Cream Sauce

The sauces will be relatively easy to prepare (the Pink Sauce is basically fresh tomatoes and basil with cream which I plan to make the previous evening and gently rewarm; the tomato-cream sauce can be mostly prepared ahead to rewarming and adding the cream; and the butter sauces are simple enough to make just before serving).

What I am wondering is, can I cook the pastas ahead of time, brush with butter (to prevent sticking), then refrigerate in oven-proof dishes? I could then rewarm the pasta, add the sauces, and serve. OR would it be possible to take this a step further and make the sauces (any? all?) the night before and refrigerate the pastas with the prepared sauces then just pop the dishes into the oven to rewarm the next evening?

And, on a related note, I wonder if the Parmigiano-Reggiano is an appropriate chese to serve with the gorgonzola? Would anyone suggest a better pairing?

I would appreciate any advice about this (but please don't say to cut down the pasta choices-- it's what my husband asked for!) :)

THANK YOU!

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  1. Good Lord, woman! This is just the pasta course! You must post the entire menu. How many in the dinner party? And are you renting your children and the children of friends for serving? This is your anniversary party as well.

    Regarding the pasta. You can make the ravioli ahead. I would undercook by a minute or two, toss with olive oil. Reheat in a pot of boiling water until finished. Perhaps take one or two of each ravioli in the morning of the party, to a boil test to see how long it takes to get to where you want each one to be.

    Sounds like you're having two pink sauces. The lobster needs the pink sauce, so how about just using plain tomato sauce with the artichokes. The gorgonzola has such a pronounced flavor, I'd omit the Parm. I'm assuming there's cheese in the filling. You have plenty of cheese.

    I'm curious as to your presentation -- are you serving one of each ravioli lined up on a rectangular plate or on a round diiner plate? You should take pictures and post.

    Happy silver anniversary!

    1 Reply
    1. re: nemo

      Do you know if this will work the same if I sub in "wonton wraps" and make them ahead of
      time? Preparing for 20 people; 1 lobster/cheese and 1 veggie with two new saces I am testing out as well

    2. I agree with Nemo--if this is just the pasta course, I'd love to see the whole menu. You're going to be busy.

      As cooking fresh pasta goes, it's so quick that I wouldn't bother precooking it (and you chance them sticking). You can make them early, put single layer on cookie sheet covered w/ plastic but don't let them touch. If you want to do it days before, put the cookie sheet in the freezer and when it's frozen, remove and put in container/ziplock bag). Just keep a couple of pots of simmering water on the stove for when it's time to cook. I would not cook and mix the sauce with the pasta the night before. It could stick and become one big mess plus the sauce will be dry.

      1. The vegetarian ones will freeze well, especially if the pasta is an egg pasta. You can also refrigerate them, but make sure to put the pasta on a cotton towel, this keeps the filling from making the pasta soggy on the bottom.

        1. Freeze uncooked; toss in a BIG pot of bioling water without thawing before serving.

          1 Reply
          1. Thanks for the responses!

            I should have been a little more clear. The ravioli and tortellini are already made and frozen. I just don't know if I can cook them ahead to save some time, or if I should just do it before serving (and drink mostly the non-alcoholic punch until I'm done with the boiling water!).

            I was also thinking that I may be able to do it earlier in the day, and mix with the sauces, then reheat just before serving. I am worried about the pasta absorbing the sauce too much, in that case.

            Nemo and chowser, the pasta is actually the main course, appetizers and soup before, bread and salad with, and an incredible-smellin' chocolate cake (I just made it) after. No help in serving, though, I'm going to offer it buffet-style and serve the pastas so the guests can tell me what varieties they would like. Here's the menu:

            Cocktails
            Sparkling Citrus Punch
            Ruby Sippers
            Lucy's Sidecar

            Appetizers
            Assorted Crackers with
            Dutch Gouda with Walnuts
            Cranberry Chevre
            Pesto-Dried Tomato Torta
            Tuscan Cheddar

            Spinach Dip with Crudités
            Mini Crabcakes
            Mushroom Turnovers

            First Course
            Roasted Pear & Butternut Squash Soup w/ Gorgonzola

            Main Course
            Lobster Ravioli in Pink Sauce
            Butternut Squash Ravioli with Sage Brown Butter Sauce
            Gorgonzola-Walnut Ravioli with Butter and Parmigiano-Reggiano
            Artichoke Tortellini with Tomato Cream Sauce

            Salad & Bread
            Mixed Field Greens with Pear-Cranberry Vinaigrette and Cranberry Chevre crumbles
            Ciabatta

            Dessert
            Dark Chocolate Cake with Milk Chocolate Mousseline
            Champagne

            It looks confusing, but I can't figure out how to italicize or underline. I apologize.

            A lot of this is make-ahead (such as the cake which is cooling now, to be frozen until Saturday morning) or quick-to-put together.

            We first had thought of having this catered, or even having it at a restaurant, but I have problems with giving up total control of a situation... ;)

            2 Replies
            1. re: VictoriaL

              I don't think the ravioli would be good cooked ahead of time. Just do it before serving; they won't take too long. (Do a practice plate to see how long to cook.)

              1. re: VictoriaL

                Don't cook them ahead of time and don't cook and mix with the sauce because you're right, they will absorb the sauce and could stick to each other. Just have a four pots of simmering water ready to go. Bring to a boil and before you serve the soup, put the ravioli in so they're ready to go after people are done with the soup. You could do a baked ravioli or tortellini to make things easier on yourself.