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Are you cooking spaghetti for a large crowd? If so, then you have come to the right place! By following these tips and tricks, you can reduce the amount of time it takes you and make the overall process much easier.
By following these seven surprising tips, you will be able to make spaghetti for your group quickly and effectively.
1. Use a Frying Pan
When cooking spaghetti for a large group, your number one priority is to do so in the least amount of time possible, to ensure spending the most time possible with your large group.
The most time-consuming aspect of the spaghetti-making process is allowing the water to boil. In order to reduce the amount of time that it takes to boil the water, replace the saucepan with a frying pan.
Rather than using a deep saucepan, cook the spaghetti noodles by use of a shallow frying pan. Simply add the pasta, salt, and water to the frying pan.
When using a frying pan instead of a saucepan to cook your spaghetti noodles, there is less water and a greater surface area. This allows the spaghetti noodles to cook much quicker than using a deep pan.
The result of this method is the same as cooking the spaghetti noodles in a boiling pot of water. The only difference between the two methods is the amount of time it takes.
2. Use Less Water
If you were to look at the directions on the package of your spaghetti noodles, it would say you need about five quarts of water. Most people follow this recommendation and place these five quarts on the stove in order to boil.
However, five quarts is not necessary. These five quarts will take an excessive amount of time to boil, and therefore not using your time efficiently. The time you could have spent with your group, you are now spending boiling water.
In order to reduce the amount of time it takes to boil your spaghetti noodles, use less water. You can use one-fourth of the recommended amount, which is about six cups of water.
When using less water, it will require you to stir your spaghetti noodles more often. When using six cups of water rather than five quarts, it may require additional stirring, however, it will be cooked much quicker.
With this technique, it will save you about fifteen minutes. These fifteen minutes can be spent socializing with your group, rather than in the kitchen cooking your spaghetti.
3. Cook Some Noodles in the Microwave
Cooking some of your spaghetti in the microwave can be a great time saver. It will allow you to spend an ample amount of time with your group.
The first step for cooking spaghetti in the microwave is breaking the noodles into smaller pieces. Place these broken noodles into a microwave-safe bowl and coat the broken noodles in oil.
The second step is adding enough water to fully submerge the spaghetti noodles. Next, place the bowl into the microwave for four minutes. After four minutes, remove the bowl from the microwave. Stir the noodles in the water and place them back in the microwave for another four minutes.
After being cooked for a total of eight minutes, allow the noodles to cool for about two minutes. If the noodles are not yet fully cooked, place them back into the microwave until they are. Once they are fully cooked, drain the water.
Once the noodles are cooked and the water is drained, add the spaghetti sauce. By cooking your spaghetti within the microwave, you will be able to save a tremendous amount of time.
4. Presoak Your Pasta
Planning ahead of time is essential when cooking anything for a large group. This is no different when it comes to cooking spaghetti.
One of the best ways to prepare your spaghetti ahead of time is by presoaking your spaghetti noodles. By presoaking the spaghetti noodles for an hour and a half, it will allow you to then cook them in sixty seconds.
While you are soaking your spaghetti noodles for an hour and a half, you can either spend time with your guests or make a homemade sauce. No matter how you spend your extra time, however, presoaking your spaghetti noodles will allow you to spend it effectively.
5. Make it a Casserole
Cooking your spaghetti into a casserole is a great option when you are cooking for a large group of guests. By making the spaghetti a casserole, it will allow you to finish the preparation process ahead of time and will allow you to spend time with your guests while it is baking.
Casseroles are great because they contain the same ingredients and are really hearty and filling. The prep can be done way in advance and still turn out great.
It’s a low stress option, but it’s not going to be exactly like fixing spaghetti, so it may not be the best option for everyone. Sometimes picky eaters, like kids, will not be as into the idea.
6. Cook the Pasta Ahead of Time
Cooking your pasta ahead of time is a great time saver. Cooking your spaghetti noodles is half the battle, so getting this out of the way is the perfect way to reduce stress.
To cook your spaghetti noodles ahead of time, place a pot of water onto the stove. Add salt to flavor the pasta and then cook it according to the instructions.
You can cook your spaghetti noodles an entire day before you cook the rest of your spaghetti. By doing so, it will not impact the taste and it will taste just as delicious as if you cooked it the same day.
There are other ways to heat your noodles as well. To learn more techniques for warming spaghetti, read our other article on it here.
7. Use an Instant Pot
Using an instant pot to cook your spaghetti is very time-efficient, and it always turns out great.
Using an instant pot is simple and easy to use. Instead of being worried about getting a large amount of spaghetti cooked in time for your guests, use an instant pot and allow it to do all of the work for you.
There are a ton of great recipes out there too, as Instant Pots have taken the world by storm.
However, if you are planning on making a large amount of spaghetti for a crowd with an Instant Pot, you should know that you need one with a large capacity to make it worth your while. Some versions are meant for smaller families. My first one makes a good portion for a family of 4.
But if you have 20 guest coming over, this is going to cut it.
You can borrow or use multiple Instant pots to make this method work, but it’s not the best option for everybody, especially if you don’t own one of these cookers.
8. Make the Sauce Hearty
One of the best things that you can do for your spaghetti for your large crowd is to make sure you have a filling portion for everyone. Cooking noodles lots of noodles is great but it also helps if you have some secret in the sauce.
By secret, we mean having a sauce this jam-packed with flavor and ingredients to make your meal stretch longer. A canned sauce isn’t going to fill stomachs unless it’s got some good stuff added.
One of our favorite things to do is add some vegetables to the sauce to make it thicker, more flavorful, and altogether filling. Cook onions, garlic, and green bell peppers before adding in sauce (canned or homemade). The more ingredients and sauce the more people can use to fill their bellies.
It’s also great to add some protein, like beef or meatballs, with the spaghetti noodles to ensure that each plate is enough for guests. A hearty meal will make it more likely that people will be happy and full with their first serving.
9. Double-Check Your Calculations
Through our list, you know have a ton of ways to cook and prepare your spaghetti dinner, but we encourage you to double-check your calculations in order to have a dinner that goes smoothly. By this, we mean to make sure you have enough pasta to go around.
There is nothing worse than not having enough food at a big party.
When it comes to guests, you should calculate having about 2 – 4 oz of pasta (uncooked) per adult and about half that for children if spaghetti is the main dish. However, if you are serving buffet style, you will want to make sure you have extra.
The same rule goes for the type of sauce and meat that you have.
People tend to overserve themselves because it’s hard to visualize the correct portion. So, plan on making 15% more than your total count. This way, the last guests to dish out their meals will have enough and people can go back for seconds if they weren’t filled up another time.
You can also read our article on knowing exactly how much spaghetti you need for your crowd here.