Author Topic: Fresh Pasta in a Restaurant  (Read 4543 times)

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Offline hotsawce

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Fresh Pasta in a Restaurant
« on: February 03, 2011, 05:19:22 PM »
Is anyone aware of how a restaurant keeps and stores fresh pasta for service throughout the day? What about things like sauces?

How do they maintain integrity and freshness?


Offline Tscarborough

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Re: Fresh Pasta in a Restaurant
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2011, 10:13:11 PM »
Cooked Al dente and then finished, sauce is done by base and then finished.

Offline dellavecchia

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Re: Fresh Pasta in a Restaurant
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2011, 06:58:37 AM »
Is anyone aware of how a restaurant keeps and stores fresh pasta for service throughout the day? What about things like sauces?

How do they maintain integrity and freshness?

Fresh pasta usually cooks in 2-3 minutes, as opposed to semolina-based dry pasta which can be par-cooked (or cooked to order). If the pasta is only flour and water, it can be made and dried - and then be ready for service at any time in the next few days. If it is an egg-based pasta, and is being made for same-day service, some restaurants portion them into plastic containers or the like and drop them to order.

John

Offline jeff v

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Re: Fresh Pasta in a Restaurant
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2011, 09:34:43 AM »
Any particular restaurant or type of one your talking about? I've seen pizza places cook and hold pasta or par cook it to be finished later later. There is zero chance I would do this if it were up to me. It depends what you were trying to accomplish I suppose.

Offline DNA Dan

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Re: Fresh Pasta in a Restaurant
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2011, 12:02:07 PM »
I have seen "pasta only" type stores that precook the noodles al dente, then stores them cold. They have a pot of hot water just at boiling and the sauce on a double broiler simmering. When an order comes through they put some noodles in a small sieve, and dunk it in the hot water for 2-3 minutes, remove, give it a shake, then finish with sauce. If you have meats, they can be kept warm in another place as well prior to adding sauce.

The problem with the method above is the pasta is almost ALWAYS overcooked. Even with the proper timing of reheating, letting pasta sit cold for a long time almost always over hydrates it. This method IMO produces a very subpar pasta experience. Might be good for a side dish or something super cheap, but I would lean towards fresh dried pasta made daily and made to order. All you need is two pots, one with hot water, one with sauce. You put some noodles in a sieve, let them cook, then sauce it. The key here is being able to keep the hot water going all day long without having a customer wait for it to reach temperature.

Offline GotRocks

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Re: Fresh Pasta in a Restaurant
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2011, 12:22:12 PM »
Back when I was doing Pasta, I was lucky enough to have a fresh pasta business a mile away, They would deliver the pasta on sheetpans with parchment paper underneath wrapped in plastic, We cooked it to order in a large rectangle vat that took up 4 burners on my stove, I used small fryer baskets to keep each variety separate, and most of the sauces were a cream reduction. So 2-3 minutes for the pasta, and tossed with the sauce that was on the same stove in a saute pan.

A used commercial pasta maker should be easy to find right about now, have your own crew make it each day, or even the day before and lay it out on sheet pans with a dusting of semolina or even corn meal to keep it from sticking. Drying it after making it fresh is defeating the purpose IMO

I have done some fairly large batches myself just using an Atlas pasta roller with an electric drive motor attached. It is quite simple as long as you stick with fettuccine, linguine and other flat varieties, you can also do sheets for your own ravioli, lasagna, tortellini, etc
 I have seen a commercial pasta machine with extrusion disks cause some serious problems, I do not know if it was the operator, or the machine so I stayed away from tubular or other extrusions.

A great appetizer is fried items wrapped in pasta sheets, I especially liked wrapping string cheese and doing my own version of fired cheese with a dipping sauce
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Offline Tscarborough

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Re: Fresh Pasta in a Restaurant
« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2011, 01:42:32 PM »
When we were doing it, we were not making the whole amount needed for the evening, it was just a process to stay a bit ahead and be ready.  None of the pasta ever really got cold, but some was thrown away.  We had 3 sauce bases and added whatever was needed for a specific dish.  This was a pricey Northern Italian restaurant.

Offline Tscarborough

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Re: Fresh Pasta in a Restaurant
« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2011, 01:43:56 PM »
Oh, and I was a waiter, not a cook, but I did pay attention.

Offline hotsawce

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Re: Fresh Pasta in a Restaurant
« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2011, 02:49:33 PM »
No restaurant in particular, but curious how it's done in a commercial setting and how places that make and sell fresh pasta exclusively do it.

I'm talking, mostly, pasta made with eggs.

I know some places that will make it all that day and lay it out on sheet pans until it is purchased, but I don't know if this is done with egg pastas or not.

I'm wondering how the most popular and well respected places do it

kind of like this http://s3.amazonaws.com/sfb111/story_xlimage_2010_08_R9547_Eataly_Food_Emporium_Opens_in_Flatiron.JPG
« Last Edit: February 05, 2011, 03:13:53 PM by hotsawce »

Offline jeff v

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Re: Fresh Pasta in a Restaurant
« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2011, 03:37:08 PM »
I have firsthand knowledge of only two places, but they're pretty well respected. One made the pasta every morning portioned it then kept in the cooler for evening service where they'd cook to order. The other made it the night before, portioned then into the freezer and cooked from frozen the next day.

Jeff


Offline hotsawce

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Re: Fresh Pasta in a Restaurant
« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2011, 05:08:20 PM »
Jeff,

Thank you for the helpful information. It is sincerely appreciated! Same goes for all of the other responses!
« Last Edit: February 05, 2011, 05:12:17 PM by hotsawce »

Offline GotRocks

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Re: Fresh Pasta in a Restaurant
« Reply #11 on: February 07, 2011, 01:33:39 PM »
What kind of pasta dishes are you planning on doing? just a simple tomato based or some faux Alfredo sauce ladled over some pasta, or do you plan on going a little higher-end.

Even though I do not recommend it, I have seen some places precook from dry, coat it with oil, and bag it in the portion sizes they wanted. It was bad, like I have had better food out of a can or 7/11 bad. Some would do a dip in hot water to heat to order, and worse yet, some would nuke the crap! Awk, it was flippin horrible!

I used to work with several different varieties of flat pasta such as spinach, tomato/basil, cracked pepper etc. My favorite was 'Squid Ink" and I would make the dish with lobster, roasted red pepper, and a butter-olive oil and cracked red pepper. (Drooling on myself just thinking about it)
The GF told me that is she was ever sentenced to death, he last meal would be my spinach fettuccine, with shrimp, scallops, diced tomato, mushroom, green onion tossed in a tomato-basil cream reduction sauce and a shred of reggiano on top for garni

When I do pasta at home, I use mister kitchen aid mixer with a dough hook, and I use 1 large egg per each cup of flour.

I crack the eggs, whip them, add flour to the mixer, pour in the egg after the mixer is running on low for a few seconds, stop the mixer as soon as the dough forms a ball, and fold it over by hand before rolling it out into sheets.

A robot Coup (food processor) with an S-Blade works nicely too, flour goes in the processor, egg on top, and pulse the blade until it looks the size of rice, then hand fold and feed into roller for sheets. A food processor makes one heck of a nice pastry crust too. Just make sure your flour and butter is ice cold, Even I didn't need a Hobart slicer so bad right now, I would probably buy myself a Robot Coup R2N ultra today
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Offline GotRocks

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Re: Fresh Pasta in a Restaurant
« Reply #12 on: February 07, 2011, 01:45:36 PM »
I tried to edit my last post to add this, but it was not possible, so I'll add it here.

if I was tasked to add a few simple pasta dishes to an existing menu I would offer the following and this is how I would do it.

First I would look for a source for fresh pasta, frozen is workable too, but only if it is not all busted up from handling.
Have a squat pot simmering on the stove with paste baskets (readily available from Vollrath and many other suppliers) I would offer a tomato-based sauce, and an Alfredo sauce. The tomato sauce would be made in large batches, and help cold. The Alfredo would be made to order.
get a saute pan on the stove, heat the pre made sauce to order while the pasta is cooking, toss cooked pasta in the heated sauce and serve.
Alfredo, Saute pan with a splash of olive oil, grind some pepper into the oil and heat, sweat some garlic in the pan, add 36% butterfat heavy cream and cook until thickened, add hot cooked pasta to the cream reduction, toss to coat, toss in the cheese, toss again, serve with a pinch of a parsley chiffonier as a garni.

You can also build off the Alfredo too, offer some chicken or shrimp options. These are great cost-ratio items, and they require very little prep and labor at the time of service. I would probably also add some quick saute items to the menu to accompany the pasta too, Maybe a chix-Parm with pasta, or even a veal dish to go with the Alfredo. Am I thinking too high-end, are you looking for something to feed a young kid instead of adults?
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Offline Crider

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Re: Fresh Pasta in a Restaurant
« Reply #13 on: February 08, 2011, 01:50:42 PM »
I think having a pasta cooker for restaurant work is a must. They keep the water hot, automatically discart the starch so you don't have to keep emptying and refilling everytime you cook a meal's worth. Example here:
http://classicrestaurantsupply.com/Product.aspx?productID=407248

Offline GotRocks

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Re: Fresh Pasta in a Restaurant
« Reply #14 on: February 09, 2011, 01:23:43 AM »
I think having a pasta cooker for restaurant work is a must. They keep the water hot, automatically discart the starch so you don't have to keep emptying and refilling everytime you cook a meal's worth. Example here:
http://classicrestaurantsupply.com/Product.aspx?productID=407248



For a place with a menu based heavily on pasta, I agree. But for the occasional pasta dish to accentuate a primarily pizza offering, I feel it is an expense that is not justifiable or recoverable from as little as it would be employed.
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Offline thezaman

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Re: Fresh Pasta in a Restaurant
« Reply #15 on: February 12, 2011, 04:30:36 PM »
 a well known ny restaurant specializing in in house made pastas bags it 4.5 oz raw. then cooks it in the pasta cooker for 4 to 5  minutes . it is finished on the stove in the sauce type needed for a particular type of noodle. it is made,frozen then thawed during service.

Offline thezaman

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Re: Fresh Pasta in a Restaurant
« Reply #16 on: February 12, 2011, 04:35:18 PM »
there are smaller pots with 4 handled baskets that you could use. keeping a few pots of water on so when it gets to starchy you switch out pots.that would be a less costly answer to pasta cooking.

Offline hotsawce

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Re: Fresh Pasta in a Restaurant
« Reply #17 on: February 12, 2011, 09:50:15 PM »
This is something along the lines of what I was looking for. It almost reminds me of what I read of for Scarpetta.

a well known ny restaurant specializing in in house made pastas bags it 4.5 oz raw. then cooks it in the pasta cooker for 4 to 5  minutes . it is finished on the stove in the sauce type needed for a particular type of noodle. it is made,frozen then thawed during service.