Wanted: Coach

Joined Aug 29, 2000
Due to a scheduling snafu with our caterer, I may be elected to prepare a simple spaghetti dinner for about 60 people very soon. I'm a good home cook, but want to know if anyone is willing to give me pointers to help me do things efficiently and safely. (Coaching by e-mail is fine if you prefer to do this off-board). The menu includes spaghetti with a choice of 2 sauces (marinara and bolognese/meat), tossed salad and garlic bread. (Dessert will be pot luck.) My concerns center on safe prep of the meat for the sauce, pre-cooking and finishing the pasta so it's al dente at service, dealing with the garlic bread, and maybe a recipe suggestion for the sauces. I'll have one double oven (half convection, half conventional) and a standard, 4-burner flat cooktop. Some genius installed a Sub-Zero with 12" deep shelves at the site, so there's not a huge amount of fridge space. There is also a home-size microwave. I live nearby and can do some prep at home, but would rather do as much as possible on site. I did prepare spaghetti for 90 diners when I was in college, so it's not the first time.... but I'd like to know if it's doable for me or if I should tell them to find someone else or cancel the event. Here's a chance for someone to do a good deed, indeed! Thanks, everyone.

[This message has been edited by Mezzaluna (edited October 23, 2000).]


Joined Apr 4, 2000
I've never made spaghetti for 60 people but I do have a good recipe for bolognese sauce should you ned one. I'll be happy to be of assistance for any help you need.

Joined Aug 11, 2000
Easy breezy....Marinara, chopped tomatoes (canned ok get a good brand)
Saute garlic and onions until wilted
Add tomatoes cook 15-20 minutes med high
add fresh basil s and p
You can pre make and heat at the last minute
add basil to preheat if you want

Pasta can be pre cooked if necessary....add olive oil to pasta when you drain so it won't stick together then when it has cooled place in a ziploc
Bologanise....takes awhile 3hours if you
are doing from scratch. Joy of cooking new additions is good....is long.
Premake put in the fridge much better the next day anyway.
Reheat sauces and add pasta before service

Prep salad and mix together before event you can again use ziplocs for toppings....dress right before service

Garlic bread...pre make spread and bake 20-30 minutes in foil (7-8 loaves ought to do it....)
This is really very doable not huge amounts
Go girl....get help with serving...2-3 others
one on salad and bread, one/two on pasta
Should not take you long to serve
Either have sliverware rolls or placed on table
Drinks away from the food line (self serve ok)
I like having a nibble on each table (olives maybe with this) so that those waiting can sit and talk and nibble...I assume you are
serving and not buffeting....better portion control and less food worries
Joined Sep 25, 2000
Mezzaluna, I need to know one thing.Is it a sit down or buffet? Its pretty simple either way.
Do all your prep at home. maripoux and garlic spread. If you want to impress then do every thing from scratch. Remember, this might lead to more gigs. So be able to turn heads when ever possible. This is how you start a good catering business. Never cancel an event that's easy like this.
Joined Aug 29, 2000
Great advice! I won't know for a few days if I'll really be going this, but I'll be disppointed if I don't get to, for sure. To answer your question, Chef David, it's buffet and very informal- lots of kids, disposable plates, etc. I will be donating my time, as it is an event to welcome new members to my synagogue. We've already lassoed the confirmation class to help serve and clean up. (I'd rather cook for 500 than clean up after 10!) I like the olives idea; we do things so much on the cheap that we never thought of it! I know where to get some nice mixed cured olives; they'll go over great. Thaks for that suggestion, Shroomgirl! I knew I'd come to the right place.
Joined Aug 29, 2000
Thanks, Angelina. As it turns out, they found a pro to do the job, so I'm deprived of the experience. But I'll duck back in the kitchen and get some pointers from him/her (respectfully, of course!) as I love to cook for a crowd, period. I am saving this page and will file it on my hard drive for future reference. Thanks, everyone!
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