How to Prepare a Large Italian Buffet

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How to Prepare a Large Italian Buffet
Spaghetti makes an inexpensive Italian buffet menu item. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Italian buffets allow you to be as basic or creative as your budget allows. You can serve basic spaghetti, penne or bowtie pasta and enhance dishes with meats and vegetables, depending on the tastes of buffet attendees. You can purchase some Italian menu items, such as pasta sauce, salad mixes, salad dressing and desserts, pre-made and in bulk at food warehouses to lessen the amount of time it takes to organise the buffet event.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Pasta
  • Pasta sauce
  • Bread
  • Butter
  • Elephant ear garlic cloves
  • Olive oil
  • Fresh herbs
  • Salad mix
  • Cucumbers
  • Cherry or grape tomatoes
  • Italian dressing
  • Commercial cooking pans
  • Baking trays
  • Serving dishes
  • Hotel pans
  • Chafing dishes
  • Serrated knife
  • Colander

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Instructions

    Pasta with Sauce

  1. 1

    Place pre-made pasta sauce in large, commercial cooking pots on the stove over a medium heat. To enhance the taste of the sauce, add chopped fresh herbs such as basil and Italian parsley, extra-virgin olive oil, garlic powder and salt and pepper to taste.

  2. 2

    Fill or pour water into pots allowing one gallon of water for each pound of pasta, depending on how much pasta you need. Set the pots on the stove over a high heat and bring the water to a rapid boil. Add the pasta to the boiling water and let it boil for 10 to 12 minutes, or per package instructions. Drain the pasta in colanders to remove excess water when it's done.

  3. 3

    Blend the pasta with the sauce in the pots used to boil the pasta. Use long-handled spoons or tongs to mix the sauce well. Add the completed pasta dish to serving platters, bowls or hotel pans, which are placed in chafing dishes, depending on the buffet set-up.

    Garlic Bread and Salad

  1. 1

    Slice Italian-style bread loaves into half-inch slices using a serrated knife. Place the bread slices on baking tray sheets.

  2. 2

    Melt butter in a sauce pan on the stove over a low heat. You can add extra virgin olive oil to the sauce pan if you need to stretch your butter to serve all banquet guests. Peel a large clove of garlic and slice it in half lengthwise while you wait for the butter to melt.

  3. 3

    Brush the butter on the bread slices and rub each slice of bread with the flat side of the garlic clove. Place the bread in the oven at 177 degrees Celsius for 7 to 10 minutes to become golden around the edges. Remove the bread from the oven and place it in decorative baskets for service.

  4. 4

    Empty a prepared salad mix into large salad serving bowls. Add sliced cucumbers and grape or cherry tomatoes to enhance salad flavour and quality. Place salad dressing in bowls or place self-serve salad dressing packets on the tables, depending on how upscale or downscale the Italian buffet is.

Tips and warnings

  • Purchase pasta sauce with and without meat to appeal to meat lovers and vegetarians who attend the buffet.
  • Never add olives directly to Italian buffet dishes such as sauces and salads. Although olives enhance the taste of Italian dishes, even olives labelled as pitted sometimes contain pits, which could cause injury if eaten accidentally. Instead, place dishes of pitted olives on each table, leaving the choice to add olives to the buffet guests.

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