Buffet Basic: Temperature Control
- Keeping Foods Warm: Prepare your sure to be scrumptious pasta, sauce and toppings ahead of time and place warm foods in the oven before serving. To maintain warmth at the buffet, present pasta and sauces in a slow cooker, in a pan or heat safe dish atop a hot plate, or in a buffet pan with an electric, gas or candle warmer.
- Keeping Foods Cold: If serving cold pastas, store them in the refrigerator before presenting, and consider placing them in a dish or bowl atop ice.
Tip: For more informal occasions, pasta can be kept warm at the stove.
Set Up Your Spread Polish the appearance of your spread by covering the serving area with linen tablecloths. For height and dimension, consider placing cake stands underneath—they’re great for elevating toppings or showcasing decorative centerpieces. When planning the details of the buffet, we like to think of the spread as three separate areas:
- Area 1: Pick Your Pasta: Greet guests with a selection of pastas, and provide a few of your favorite options like spaghetti, vermicelli, angel hair, fettuccine, penne or bow tie. Stuffed pastas like tortellini or ravioli are also deliciously fun to personalize with sauces and toppings.
Tip: Pasta should be well coated in olive oil to prevent pieces from sticking to the container.
- Area 2: Sauce and Toss: Next to your pasta, set up a variety of sauces. For cold pasta, a chilled Italian dressing or a selection of vinaigrettes is perfect. Set a bowl and tongs next to each sauce to allow for a thorough blending of flavors.
- Area 3: Toppings and Garnishes: Set out chopped veggies like onions, zucchini, peppers, peas, olives, carrots and more. For protein, consider including chicken, turkey, sausage, meatballs or seafood. Cheeses are always popular, so include a few options. We love freshly grated mozzarella and Parmesan!