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PastaBar For 100 People

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I want to do a pasta bar for our wedding reception... I want 4 different kinds of pasta, maybe Rotini,Penne, Angel Hair and Linguine... I would like a meat sauce, cheese sauce, Alfredo and maybe a pesto?? Then on to the meats I would like chicken, meat balls, and sausage with onions and peppers... Also lasagna, baked Manacotti, maybe some stuffed mushrooms, bread sticks and Cesar and garden salad to choose from. Does this sound ok? SHould I add something take something away.. Suggestions would be GREAT!!!

How much of each meat should I buy(lbs)?
HOw many people does 1lb box of noodles feed (so I can multiply to find the number i need ot buy for eveyone)
Does this sound good to you, would you want to come nad eat this?

Thanks in advance for the help!

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  1. There are professional caters and party planners on CH who are better able to answer a lot of your questions. It sounds like you're going to be fixing this yourself? Baked pasta dishes would work but the others would be problematic. In addition, those types are also going to deteriorate, become gummy, stuck together, etc. It sounds like something that could be a real nightmare even if you're not doing the work yourself. Hopefully others will weigh in.

    1. That is a chore heatherg. I have had done pasta bars and it isn't that easy. I did one for 150 a wedding 8 years ago. It was work and I had 4 people helping me, a large kitchen and lots of refrigeration ahead of time. I cooked for 4 days just to get ready.

      Meatballs, even chicken easily done ahead. Even the sausage and peppers are fine. Mushrooms are good as you do need a vegetarian dish or not just for vegetarians but someone who doesn't want beef. Baked lasagna or manacotti also work well ahead, maybe a vegetarian lasagna.

      The sauce, red, pesto (not always a big favorite) and what type of cheese, is fine but Alfredo gets separated easily especially when made ahead. Angel hair I would stay away from, I would stick to spaghetti, rotini and maybe bowtie.

      Salad, caesar is good, but mix just before you serve. I prefer a simple crisp salad with a light simple vinaigrette and some fresh veggies, cucumber, olives, red onion. Very fresh. Breadsticks, don't stay warm. I would buy some nice loves, wrap heat and serve. But remember another thing to reheat. I like to serve butter on the side. I serve a little herbed butter and one plain, but that is up to you.
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      Amounts. There is no way to judge that. I would have to know how many adults, how many kids, how many appetizers, what type of drinks and deserts. Sorry but they all figure in.

      I lb of pasta will feed 6 for me but with a heavy sauce, then you have added meat, sides, salad and other pastas they can choose from. This is a hard one even for a caterer to judge and you may end up with many leftovers.

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      Personally you are taking on too much and especially for your reception. I don't know if you have lots of help, but you will need lots of storage, lots of chafing dishes and lots of prep time. I think you have too many options.

      I think the chicken is fine, maybe some diced sausage on the side
      And I would think some seafood would be nice for those who don't eat fish or meat
      Some fresh fillets or shrimp would be easy. Or eliminate the sausage for fish
      Two sauces
      2 lasagna or a baked ziti one veggie one not
      The stuffed mushrooms are fine, but I would do a simple roasted mushroom and fennel
      dish, simple and easier
      Salad easy vinaigrette
      Rolls over bread I would suggest

      But again, need to know what type of people are attending, what do they eat if good friends you will have an idea. Any special needs, how many kids vs adults, what type of china or dinnerware, early or late serving, and appetizers and deserts are a key.

      I wish you luck and glad to answer any questions but I really thinking you are taking on a lot. You need to cut back a little. And fruit, appetizer or main course? You need to re think a little in my opinion and I a hope I'm not being rude. You have done a lot of thinking and work, but you need to remember it is your day and you should enjoy it.

      4 Replies
      1. re: kchurchill5

        I do have people doing the cooking for me.. and your right it is ALOT of work... I will defenately search for a reciepe for the roasted mushroom and probably down size a few things on the menu... I appreciate all your help.. nd u weren't rude at all!!! Thanks again

        1. re: heatherg0329

          Welcome, just trying to be honest doing something very similar recently, I realize the work involved.

          My favorite menu for the mushrooms since you are doing the peppers which I like but you may want to add the sausage separate already sliced as an alternative to the chicken and then do the peppers with the mushrooms as a vegetarian alternative or one you can add with the chicken or the sausage.

          Red peppers, yellow peppers, mushrooms cut in half, fennel and onion, just drizzle with olive oil, some traditional Italian seasoning or you can use your own fresh blend if you have those, s/p and a little garlic. Just roast. Can be made a day ahead and then just reheated. It is a great simple dish. Artichokes are also good in this, but not necessary, I found the peppers, shrooms and fennel work best. It is simple and compliments the pasta dish

          Glad to hear you have help.
          Pasta can be made ahead, undercook as I would also cook the lasagna ahead to but undercook a bit. I drizzle with just some olive oil and then then reheat and it usually works just fine. Needs lots of ovens or pots for this.

          Chafing dishing a must and borrow pots from friends to help with the heating. Aluminum pans can be used in ovens or grills for heating the cooked chicken or sausage too (low temps).

          A simple fontina cheese sauce is a great stable sauce with no butter so it doesn't separate along with the red sauce and pesto is good if you know enough will eat it.

          A fresh green might be a nice addition to the menu, if you change a few things. A simple sauteed spinach with a little onion is a great easy dish made way in advance and is good with the pasta, sauces and meat and is cheap and easy which I like.

          Just saute some garlic and onion in a little olive oil and butter and then add the spinach. Add a little balsamic vinegar (very little) and then remove when still firm but not all the way cooked. Just heat up in a chafing dish. It is a great easy side dish.

          Best of luck and keep me up to date. Would love to hear. Kudos to your friends cooking and lots of champagne (after the cooking is done)

          1. re: kchurchill5

            k, you're giving great advice!

            1. re: c oliver

              Thank you for the compliment! Appreciate it

      2. If you have invited any guests with celiac consider having at least one gluten-free pasta. If you have invited any vegans consider vegan pesto and at least on egg-free pasta.

        1 Reply
        1. re: lgss

          I second the gluten-free and vegan options... Try a rice pasta (I've found some to be great) and some parmesan-less pestos.... I'd say also try a simple marinara sauce. To me, that can't be beat. But I'd say, due to a wedding I recently attended, one great option is having a made to order pasta station. Different pastas, sauces, add-ins, with someone heating them all in a sauce pan to order.... One of my faves

        2. I would suggest that you serve a couple of pasta dishes family style at each table along with the salad and bread. A pasta bar is extremely labor intensive and you have to cook a plate for each guests - they cannot just throw it together themselves. You would need a very big staff for that.

          Choose three different pasta dishes plus one baked pasta. I would make a dish with red sauce, one with fonduta (great suggestion!) and one with aglio olio and tons of fresh vegetables.

          I think an antipasto at each table would also be a great idea. You can do it completely ahead and it will take some of the pressure off you when guests are initially seated.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Kater

            The antipasto is a great idea. I have done this many times. Thnx Kater. Yes. A small plate per table is a great idea and easy to make ahead. Great thought. I didn't really get into appetizers.

            And if I were you, I would go heavy on the appetizers which cuts down on the amount of work for the dinner. Besides ... people love to nibble, eat, drink and socialize. Keeps them busy why you do your thing.

            Possibly make the sausages in a spicy sauce for an appetizer rather than in the peppers is an idea. I make small sausage patties with cheese and red pepper filling, easy and quick. Just baked. Or sauteed ones in a crock pot with a spicy sauce.

            This is old school but simple bowls of olives, different kinds, cheeses, some marinated veggies if you didn't do the antipasto goes well with simple cheeses and vodka tomatoes, some fresh blue cheese crackers or blue cheese baguettes. Make easy appetizers with little or no work.