What kind of pastas do you do? What’s your cost of goods on them? I’m guessing it’s super low. I’ve kicked around the idea of trying to do pasta like that in our store, but our kitchen is so small, I just don’t know if we can add anything else.
The first two pastas for the conveyer that come to mind are baked penne, and lasagna
The baked penne is 8oz of precooked penne noodles your 9" alum pan, than 3 oz chz, then 8 oz marinar, then 3 more oz of chz on top. You may need to run it 1 1/2 to 2 times thru the oven, to get the chz on top to brown. If possible, also offer meatballs as an option.
Lasagna can be made either to order, or you can make a 9x13 pan and portion it into your pans. I use the Barilla no-boil flat noodles-very very convenient. Will def need 2 times thru the oven to bake. Some places will put in the micro for 1 min first - definately if you are freezing the portions.
we pre cook fett, spag, mostacolli, and lasagna. the lasagna cooks twice through our conveyor with no lid then once`with lid. its then cooled, portioned, then reheated to order in sauce( once through oven). all other pasta’s are cooked off in the morning, cooled then reheated in oven with sauce( once through oven). most important thing to selling good product in my opinion is not cooking the noodles to completion in the morning. the noodles will finish in the sauce on reheat. by the way we cook at 495 for 7 min. also our sauce is kept in warmer so that helps with the cooking to order. also( sorry keep thinking of things to say) we offer 3 sauces, meat , marinara, alfredo (alfredo is kept cold other 2 warm.) we also cook on hot plate sorry cant think of model name now. this procedure has worked really well for us.
Many inspectors will require that a hot plate, as it can raise the temperature of a product to 220 degrees and above, be under a hood.
You may want to check with your building and health inspectors before putting the new item on your menu.
Note the Fire Marshall may have something to say about the use of hot plates also.
I do not make these observations to frustrate you operators. We have placed all types of equipment in thousands of pizza shops and other food service facilities. We have encountered most all the situations that come up concerning food service applications. Inspectors on one side of a street can be requiring differing rules as compared to the inspectors in another jurisdiction on the other side of the street.
I just point out, much like the carpenters rule " check twice before you act once".
I have baked pastas, and I cook the pastas in my conveyor oven. Fill an aluminum half pan with water and pasta, run through the oven twice or until al dente, and then shock with ice water and portion in small aluminum rounds. When an order is placed for pasta we top with sauce and cheese and run through the oven one more time. This is not an original idea, it was posted by a fellow think tanker (could not find the link), but hey I will take the credit.
Allow me to take this process one step deeper if ya’ll will. When you’re talking of re-heating in your conveyor. Are you taking a chilled, portion of lasagna, placing it in the final bowl/plate it will be served in and running that through or reheating it, then moving it all cheesy and gooey into the final plate. We make a very high lasagna that I’ve pretty much given up on b/c the reheat process is too long in a microwave leaving a mess of my beautiful lasagnas.
I’d love to know the trick for taking a nice size piece from cold to sold and having it maintain picture perfect condition.
We get our lasagna bought in allready cooked. They come in a foil container (500gm) We keep 6 in the coolroom at 0 - 3 celsius and when needed we put them in the microwave for a couple minutes to take the chill off, top with 2 slices of tomato and some mozz then 7 minutes in the conveyor oven at 268 celsius. Come out great. No mess, no mucking around prepping. We buy them for $4.95 and sell them for $11. The rest of the stock is keep in the freezer until the coolroom stocks go down. They have a thawed shelf life of 14 days at the temp we keep them at.
Back in my college days, I worked at a restaurant that made lasagna from scratch. They would cook the noodles in a pan of water in their convection oven. After chilling the pasta, they would assemble one giant lasagna in a large pan - I think it was 3 layers in total - bake it until fully cooked and chill the thing in the walk-in. After it cooled, we would portion two different sizes into individual baking dishes and cover with plastic wrap.
When ordered, they would top it with a slice of cheese and bake it for 10 minutes in the conveyor oven. Both sizes cooked through just fine. I think the key is to make the lasagna thin so that the heat can penetrate to the center more easily. That means a larger dish to get a decent weight to the portion, but I think that a wider portion gave a nice presentation (as opposed to a “sky scraper” build).
Thanks guys. I know that building the “skyscraper” style has been my downfall! I LOVE the way it presents in the bowl on the way to the table, but it’s a MAJOR PIMA to reheat and still have looking good enough to serve. Thursday is our lasagna special night, I’ll play with a larger cut from a shorter stack and bet we’ll have excellent response!
Deaconvolker, Have you considered/tried a short stack for reheating, then flipping opne over onto the other for the ‘tall stack’? Really, a lasagna made with three noddles and two layers of filling will reheat lickety plit, I would think. Light sauce and cheese on top of one, wide spatula under the other . . . flip over to build the stack.
We get a good response from a 4 noodle/3 filling layer pasta that fills a 3"(?) hotel pan pretty darned well. Reheats from thawed in micro from forzen in about 3 minutes total time (two different temp settings). From frozen, takes nearly 10 minutes all told for one portion.
EQUIPMENT SECRET NOTE!! Use a fish spatula when working with lasagna. It’s the one that has 5 or 6 WIDE groves that makes it look almost like a flattened out whisk. Less drag and sticking when handling the cooked or chilled pasta.