Cooking ahead question

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by koukouvagia, Apr 11, 2013.

  1. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

    Messages:
    7,382
    Likes Received:
    615
    Exp:
    Home Cook
    We're hosting a party in a few weeks and I'd like to make some things ahead of time.  Namely I want to make pasticcio.  Usually I make the meat sauce the day before.  Then the day of I boil the noodles and make the bechamel sauce, construct and cook a few hours ahead of the party.  The pasticcio needs to be served warm, not hot, not cold, not room temperature.  So my question is, can I get away with making it the day before and reheating it in the oven?  So which of these options would be best?

    1. Construct the pasticcio - layer the cooked noodles, meat sauce and bechamel and stick it in the fridge.  Cook it the day of the party. But will that make the bechamel weird?

    2. Cook the whole thing the day before and reheat the next day - but would that alter the creamy texture of the bechamel?

    3. Continue as I have by making the meat sauce the day before and the rest on the day of the party?
     
  2. ed buchanan

    ed buchanan

    Messages:
    3,355
    Likes Received:
    44
    Exp:
    Culinary Instructor
    I would assemble and cook day of simply to stop total liquid part from being all absorbed, This way you cook once and it comes out nice fresh and bubbly.
     
  3. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

    Messages:
    8,550
    Likes Received:
    202
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    You can assemble the day before and bake the day of without any significant loss of quality to the bechamel.  Bechamel is extremely sturdy.  Heck, you can even assemble now, freeze, defrost and cook two months from now without doing much damage. 

    And, what about cooking it on the day before?  If you've ever had leftover pasticcio (100% certainty), you know the answer already.  Personally, I think it benefits from a day to setup anyway; so that's how I'd do it. 

    God bless the casserole,

    BDL
     
  4. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

    Messages:
    7,382
    Likes Received:
    615
    Exp:
    Home Cook
    I love fresh pasticcio right out of the oven when it's oozing and not even holding its shape.  That's my favorite.  But it has to be served cooled down to "warm" so that each piece has shape yet still soft and warm.  I like it the next day too, but warmed up. 

    It's not an option to do it all on the day of the party, it just isn't.  I've got whole lambs that have got to be stapped on a spit and fired up, potatoes to roast, people coming and going, I don't have the luxury of doing a pasticcio from scratch, not on greek easter.
     
  5. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

    Messages:
    8,550
    Likes Received:
    202
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    Given that you can't do it the way your internal γιαγια wants you to do it, make it as easy on yourself as possible.  Bake it the day before; refrigerate; and on the day of the party take it out early enough to temp, so you can warm it as gently as possible.
     

    Happy Easter.

    BDL
     
  6. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

    Messages:
    7,382
    Likes Received:
    615
    Exp:
    Home Cook
    Does warming in the oven the next day negatively change the texture of the bechamel?  You can see where my priorities lie /img/vbsmilies/smilies/rolleyes.gif
     
  7. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

    Messages:
    4,470
    Likes Received:
    416
    Exp:
    Retired Hospitality
    I know exactly what you are asking, koukou.

    My lasagna sometimes comes out dry when I bake ahead and reheat.

    The bechamel sort of "breaks" and the liquid absorbs into the noodles.

    Save yourself the worry.

    Let the components come to room temp (maybe even a bit cool if it works) and then assemble (day before) and cover tightly then refrigerate,

    The day of the party set it out, loosen the foil and allow to come to room temp before you bake.

    Cool/cold noodles absorb very little (if any) liquid.

    Happy Easter!

    mimi