How To Plan a Spaghetti Dinner
Most spaghetti dinners are either used as a fund raiser or as very inexpensive
'everybody can afford to attend' type of get-to-gethers.
First of all you need to decide how much people would be willing to pay and how
much of that you can justify using as food costs.
If you go really fancy, you could serve fresh pasta.
I haven't done this but I've been told that pasta can be cooked ahead of time (day before), then
cooled quickly in cold water, drained then toss lightly with cooking oil to keep it from sticking together,
covered with plastic wrap or damp towels and stored in a fridge. (overnight- in big buckets
refrigerated) and reheated briefly (a few servings at a time) in boiling water,
or just pour very hot water over pasta to re heat.
So, if you have the time or access to the kitchen both the sauce and pasta can
be cooked ahead of time. Unless you have professional sized pots, it's easier to cook sauces
in batches that would serve 25, just make lots of batches.
If you are cooking pasta at the time of serving, it is very difficult to work with. The water takes a VERY long time to boil, and you can only cook 2 batches of pasta before the water gets too starchy and requires changing ... so the reheating is better. You reheat by dunking it into boiling water briefly until hot, using an insert, colander or metal basket. Have more than one pot of boiling water ready. Try this out in a small test batch.
Or combine with sauce and heat casserole-style in big pans if you feel
that this method would be acceptable.
TIPS - Been there done that:
In my experience, a 500g (+- 1lb) box of pasta feeds 4-6 hungry
people, depending on how hearty the
sauce is (more filling sauce = less pasta per portion). Obviously it also depends on what else
you are serving - if you have a starter, salads and breads, and a dessert, you will need much less pasta.
Not sure about the sauce quantities because I make my own, but about half or 2/3 of a cup per serving
should be about right. See how much sauce you'd use for a pound of pasta and multiply accordingly.
(BTW for a bake I would use short pasta rather than spaghetti.)
We just finished with a spaghetti supper for around 200 people. We could have fed another 100
with all the food prepared. This was a first-time trial, so I wanted to have enough to feed any walk-ins.
It was a fundraiser for our youth and a mission trip they are planning this summer. I worked out a very
good spaghetti sauce based on things I got here and there.
The thing I want to share is: our spaghetti pasta
was well complemented and wanted to share our method. The evening before the supper I cooked enough
spaghetti for 144 servings (based on package comments). I did 18 pounds dry spaghetti. I salted and
oiled the water. After spaghetti was cooked according to package directions, I drained it and rinsed it
with cold water until it was completely cold. You need to mix it around as you are rinsing so it all gets rinsed
and cold. I put it in containers and oiled it once more. I did this at about a pound or so at a time so it was
all equally oiled. The I sealed the containers and refrigerated them immediatly. The following evening we used
pasta pans with inserts, brought water to a boil, placed already cooked spaghetti into boiling water and
stirred it with a fork. Brought it to a hot temperature, then drained, placed it in a warm 200 degrees Nesco roaster.
I oiled this once again, slightly and it kept very beautifully. I used olive oil for this. At the same time we had
to be cooking more spaghtti. We cooked that, drained, rinsed with hot water, oiled slightly and placed
in the Nesco roaster. Our supper was a success. On Sunday we reheated some of the leftover
spaghetti that had be cooked on Friday evening. It was beautiful. No stick at all. Hope this helps someone.
A big THANKS to Lynnsey and Joan for the above tips!
FANCIER FUND RAISING OPTIONS!
Caesar salad or a variety of salads, pasta with a choice of 2 sauces, one tomato/veggie/chicken
or regular ground beef/tomato and the other creamy/shrimp or
just plain alfredo type (shrimp optional).
Problem is you have to have enough for a choice. If this is a fund raiser, the Committee should agree before hand to buy any leftovers at cost, or have some way of selling leftovers.
If you just have one sauce, less chance of leftovers.
Leftovers can also be donated to the food bank or frozen.
Have a great dessert
table, cheese cakes or some thing you can just slice and serve
per person, or ask for donations for the dessert table.
The Eldorado Hotel here in town, has a fabulous pasta night, here is a recipe that
I've created ( here ), it is very close to the one that they serve ( add meat/ chicken/ shrimp etc.
as you desire) This is really good, a classier dish than usual yet not that expensive.
If you have contact with someone with a restaurant, you could ask them to purchase
a big bag of frozen baby shrimp (5 #) about $30. that would perk things up.
You might be able to rent some kind of big chaffing dish(s) from a party rental
(or borrow from a rest.) and let people help themselves to pasta and sauces.
Maybe corkscrew pasta already combined with a sauce instead of spaghetti.
Whatever is being served with the spaghetti, will have a direct effect on how much
spaghetti to allow per person. Cook up a pkg. of spaghetti and see how many servings
you would get out of a set weight of pasta, usually 3-5 per lb. This will vary depending on
the age of the people being served and the time of day as well as if it's being served as a
buffet or being plated or if it's an all-you-can-eat. Then allow a measured amount
of sauce per serving. When serving the sauce scoop it onto the plates using a pre-determined measure,
even if it's just a small coffee mug or measuring cup you
can quickly dip into the sauce.
Churches or clubs, can ask for donations towards the dinner of canned tomatoes, pkgs. of
spaghetti etc. to cut costs and maybe even allow for the meal to be free or almost free.
Here is some info I found on the net with no links back to any main page, although
it was something to do with a church dinner. The information is a real find so here it is,
and thank you to whoever originally posted it.
Complete Spaghetti Dinner - Serves 50-60 people
(Valentine’s Day fund-raiser)
10 pounds spaghetti
10 jars spaghetti sauce
5 pounds hamburger
7 French bread
3 bottles parmesan cheese
6-7# salad mix
2 bottles Ranch salad dressing
2 bottles French salad dressing
2 bottles Italian salad dressing
2 lb. of margarine in 1/4 lb. squares
4 cans crushed pineapple
4 white cake mixes
4 cans cherry pie filling
2 bowls cool whip
To Make Cake:
Spray bottom of 9x13 cake pan with Pam. (use 1 cake pan per cake.)
Pour 1 can crushed pineapple in bottom of pan and smooth out.
Pour one (dry) cake mix over pineapple.
Layer 2 sliced cubes (1/2 c. ea. cube) of butter over cake mix.
Pour one can cherries over butter.
Bake in preheated oven of 350 for 40-50 minutes.
Top with cool whip after it has cooled!
Set up tables to make it look romantic. Use candles and decorate
Have the teens serve the people. Take their orders so you know exactly what
they want on their plate. Do a "suggested donation" so if people can't afford
to go, they still can to enjoy the fellowship! When we did this fundraiser,
others gave more of a donation and that evened it out for those who
couldn't. It was the "talk of the church" for a week!
Sauce for 100
3 lb. hot Italian sausage
10 lb. meat loaf mix (beef, pork, veal)
10 large cans Italian "pear" tomatoes
20 medium size green peppers, chopped
10 (6 oz.) cans tomato paste
10 (1 lb.) cans regular tomatoes
20 large onions, chopped
20 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 c. sugar
20 tsp. oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1 c. olive oil
Fry peppers and onions briefly in olive oil. Remove to large kettles. Brown meat loaf mix quickly,
breaking it up as it cooks. Add to kettles with tomatoes, garlic and oregano.
Remove sausage from casing, break up and add mixing all thoroughly.
(A wire potato masher works fine for this job.) Simmer about 2 hours, stirring as needed.
Add tomato paste, sugar, salt and pepper to taste. Continue simmering 1/2 hour.
Add water if needed to keep from sticking or to thin for serving.
COMMENT: from Tennessee Monday 06/11/2007 4:15:43am
Just got thru using the Spaghetti for 100 guidelines and the dinner turned
out great and by cooking the pasta and the meat sauce the day before sure saved time
and took the pressure off the cooks but like you said trying to figure out the
amount of pasta is tricky but it freezes well!! Thanks for a wonderful website to
come for help. We will use it time and time again.
I sure hope these ideas help you out!