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How can I keep the pasta from drying out?

I'm bringing a pasta dish to a gathering Friday night. I make a great ragout/sauce/??? in which I brown ground turkey with white wine, porcini mushrooms and diced tomatoes. It comes out with a nice gravy, but it's not overpowering. I'm going to be making it the day before and we'll be re-heating it Friday night. (It's a gathering of pit musicians after a show - hence why I can't just bring it hot!)

I'm worried about the pasta absorbing all the liquid overnight and being dried out when we go to reheat the dish - am I right in worrying? If so - any suggestions on how to keep it from happening or what to do when reheating??

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  1. Lightly sauce the pasta when you make it and bring the rest of the sauce and use when reheating. This is how I do hot or cold pasta when making ahead of time.

    2 Replies
      1. re: CurlieGlamourGirlie

        It's the best way. Your pasta dish will probably taste better for having been mixed with the sauce overnight. You may want to make an extra half-recipe of the sauce: even when pasta is pre-sauced, people still want to put a lot of sauce on their individual plate at serving time.

    1. A cook from a very busy resto (still in business) told me that they kept the "al dente" pasta in containers and added olive oil to keep it moist

      2 Replies
      1. re: lilymex

        I wonder if that prevents sauce from adhering. Maybe not...

        1. re: monavano

          usually, the pasta is placed in water to reheat and get the chill out of the pasta.....thus, the oil would be washed off.

      2. Some questions......

        How many pounds of pasta are you planning to make ....and for how many friends?

        How are you reheating.....either the pasta with sauce together, or pasta & gravy separately?

        4 Replies
        1. re: fourunder

          I prepped about a pound and a quarter. I put the pasta and some sauce in an aluminum tray and put the sauce in a separate container. I plan on dumping the sauce over the pasta and popping it in the oven. It's not a regular red sauce - it's very light. I also put some pasta water over the pasta and in the sauce - I've found that works wonders!

          Any suggestions as to temperature and length??

          1. re: CurlieGlamourGirlie

            Quick question:

            1. I assume, no access to a stove, or boiling water?

            2. What type of pasta is being used

            3. Will you be arriving at the gathering location before off to the show, or are you bring the food from the show to the gathering location to reheat?

            I4. If you will be at the location before the show, how long will it be before you anticipate a return the the gathering location, i.e., the length of time of the show.

            1. re: fourunder

              1. Access to a stove and boiling water. (Party is at a fellow musician's place)
              2. Gemeli pasta (dried pasta that I boiled to an al dente consistency)
              3. Will be going from home to the show, after the show will be going to the party location. During the show I was planning on putting the food in the theatre's fridge to keep it safe.
              4. N/A !

            2. re: CurlieGlamourGirlie

              I can only surmise what your options are for reheating without the knowledge of the queries I posted below......

              If you plan on combining the ingredients, i.e., cooked pasta and sauce, you need to treat it as a Baked Ziti/Pasta/Lasagna Casserole dish. You can either heat it at a high temperature for 45 minutes, or slowly for a couple of hours @ 200-225*. When you arrive back at the gathering location, you can check to see the temperature, and whether it is hot enough. If not, a simple raise in oven temperature should take 15-20 minutes to bring it to an acceptable serving temperature.

              A better method may be to keep the sauce and pasta separate until you return from the show. In the two separate aluminum pans.....keep the ragu out of the refrigerator to get closer to room temperature.....this would be similar to preparing for a roast. When you return, preheat the oven @ 450* for 10 minutes, place the tightly covered sauce into the oven and drop the temperature down to 350-375* for about 20 minutes of reheat time. During the last 10 minutes of reheat time for the sauce, put the tightly covered pasta pan into the oven for a light reheat. The pasta doesn't need to be hot, just warmed. The heat from the sauce should be sufficient for proper serving temperature.....this method would allow you to serve the pasta closer to al dente texture.......and not be too absorbed with the sauce, thus letting your sauce still shine and the pasta being too soft or gummy.