Is this precooked pasta being stored right?

1,006
10
Joined Feb 6, 2002
Hi,

This has been bugging me. I know there will be an Italian cook shuddering when they hear this one.

The pasta at our fam biz is precooked and stored in a bucket of cold water in the fridge. When an order is needed they just take out what is needed and heat it up at the steam table. There's nothing wrong with doing this, right? The health dept. hasn't seemed to notice so I guess it's ok. I shouldn't be worried or anything, should I?
 
131
10
Joined Aug 9, 2000
Well health department wise maybe no but actually food quality wise yes when you soak it in water it gets soft and absorbs the water and gets really nasty you should keep it on a sheet pan or some other shallow pan with just a touch of olive oil that is how most kitchens do it at least the ones that do not use fresh pasta or make it to order.
 
1,006
10
Joined Feb 6, 2002
Ahhhh....It is nice to have an answer to a question that has been bugging me since I got here. Thanks HD. Ill pass this on to my MIL. Staying far away from the almighty cook this time.
 
127
10
Joined May 1, 2001
At my office, the kitchen is 3 floors away from the serving area (NYC office building). Pasta comes down from the kitchen cold, lighly oiled in large covered plastic tubs (about the size of a bussing tray). It is generally reheated in a skillet with the sauce and other ingredients.

This is a Restaurant Associates site so,even if the food ain't great, it's certainly Health Department compliant.
 
846
11
Joined Nov 29, 2001
Having a takeout place as we did implies food will be prepared as quickly as possible (which is why your "prep" thread intrigued me so).

We offered Fettucini Alfredo and numerous pasta specials. We would boil off about 2 lbs. of fettucini until undercooked but pliable. We would then shock it with cold water and coat it lightly in olive oil. This could be stored in a plastic bucket with a cover. This method had little or no ill effect on the end product.

For service, a handful was flung into a pan, the sauce was added and it was heated through to piping hot. It was plated in a to-go container, garnished and shipped.

Fettucini is a good pasta to pre-cook because you have some "wiggle room" for storage. You could never pre-cook a really fine pasta (angel hair being the most extreme example). Linguini is also good for this as it does not have a hollow center like spaghetti.

Storing pre-cooked pasta in water is not a good idea. Eventually, it will become too soft to be usable.
 
1,006
10
Joined Feb 6, 2002
Right, our pasta is UNDERCOOKED, shocked with cold water and stored in a bucket with a lid. It's left in the water. That's what my question was about....the storing it in water.

The pasta dishes are made about the same way yours is Chiff. Toss drained pasta with the sauce until it gets to temp. Or they bring it to temp and add it to the sauce. Depends on whos in the kitchen that day.

Im not too keen on storing the pasta in the water but it's not like I can change it.
 

kuan

Moderator
Staff member
7,067
524
Joined Jun 11, 2001
Storing pasta in cold water went the way of the Wildebeast a long time ago. Contemporary thinking is that you don't even shock it in water because it rinses off some of the starch which helps the sauce adhere to the pasta. Sometimes shocking is necessary if you have really thin pasta such as angel hair.

You can experiment by letting spreading the pasta onto a sheet pan, lightly toss it with vegetable oil, and letting it cool in the cooler. Then portion it into individual sandwich bags after it cools. This will give the cooks something to do while they're standing around and also help with portion control. With proper planning and rotation your pasta dishes will fly out the window.

Kuan
 
659
10
Joined Nov 19, 1999
Good point, Kuan. The part of your post that mentions that the starch helps the sauce to adhere to the pasta.
 
1,006
10
Joined Feb 6, 2002
You are preaching to the converted. I NEVER rinse my pasta and know the benefits of not doing so. Ive just always wondered if there was another way they could store the pasta. Ive never cooked as much as they do.

Was just explaining their process for pasta.
 

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