OK. This post with less of the controversy of my last.

Currently we do Spaghetti Bolognaise, Spag & Meatballs, plus Penne, Chicken Agnolotti, Beef Ravioli, Cheese & Spinach Cappeletti and Veal Tortelini. For all but the spags we have a choice of the following sauces - Bolognaise, Tomato & Basil, Carbanara or Creamy Mushroom (Carbanara with fresh m/rooms).

We par cook our pastas and portioned control them in 750ml plastic containers and freeze. Sauces are bought in from a leading supplier and are also portion controlled and then put in the freezer.

When customers order we heat water in a saucepan and thaw and heat the sauces in our 1600 watt commercial microwaves. When the water boils we put the pasta in for about three minutes to heat and finish cooking.

We have a couple of problems -

  1. with the pastas and sauces we have a potential for 25 pasta/sauce combinations - way too many
  2. When we are busy we have to have someone tending the pastas bewteen making pizzas or whatever else they may be doing.
  3. The big one - most variants sell equally well with some selling exceptionally good
  4. The water heating / finish cooking
  5. We are constantly asked for fettucine and want to add canneloni.

We have experimented with making the pasta and sauce in one and thawing and finish cooking in the microwave but we seem to have a bit of evaporation of the sauce and drying of the pasta. We do enough pastas, but not enough to have pre-pack pasta and sauce in one thawed ready for re-heating. We would have to work from frozen.

We also want to reduce our range to spag bol, spag meatballs, penne with creamy m/room, Rav with Tom & Basil, Chk Agnolotti with Creamy m/room, bring in fettucine with carbanara sauce and Canneloni stufed with ricotta and spinach with Tom Basil sauce. This would bring our range down to 7 variants.

Reducing our range into re-heat pre-packs would reduce our inventory, labour and other costs and improve efficiencies.

Question? Does anyone do a pre-pack pasta and sauce for re-heating in the microwave from frozen and if so how does it work out? Do you get drying out and if so how do you overcome it?

Any other ideas on improving efficiencies would be appreciated.


perhaps 2 much variety, IMHBAO…

we cook our pasta & put it in “baggies” and freeze some & keep some out…

our red sauce is always warm, and on busy days, the alfredo is warm…

we micro pasta from a frozen state, if necessary - about 90 seconds in the bag…

we blend basil w/alfredo for a 2nd sauce…

we only cook Penne & Fettucini noodles tho…

Microwave in on the make line - we toss 2gether, toip w/mozz & run thru conveyor…

Just d@mn! All that and vegemite too?

I don’t package sauce/noddle bags, but have seen it done effectively in other places. they use microwave safe portion control bags, like Tuff-Gard to portion injto. They lay flat and microwave to reheat. I have also seen vacuum sealed bags used effectively in boil-in-bag technique to reheat, as well as microwave. Using 70% power works out pretty well, and the sealed or semi-sealed bags worked out pretty well.

When we have big shifts anticipated, we keep a 5 gallon pasta pot on the stove at a simmer and some pasta portioned in prep cooler on cook line. At order, we put our par-cooked, portioned frozen pasta into pasta cooker sections and reheat for about 90 seconds. It thaws and finishes cooking perfectly. Sauce reheating is done in a bowl in micro. Combined in bowl, garlic bread added, and voila . . . way too much work for the return :cry: Actually won’t be bad with our new cook line.

the whole sauce variety thing is awsome in terms of driving more sales, but outrageously tedious like you mentioned. Not enough sales of any one to have 1/3 pans heating in a tabletop warmer for the shift. It would be too much waste. You might try the presaucing of parcooked pasta to reheat in micro. It couldn’t hurt to experiment. Leave lid/bag slightly ajar for steam, but closed enough to trap some steam to avoid drying out. Just pop part of container edge a little.

I would start by cutting down the pastas. Penne has enough heft to reheat well, and hold up well to most sauces. It took me a little bit of convincing with my partner to not serve more then one type of noodle just because it s common. It sounds like you are doing several stuffed pastas though, so that is going to be more of a challenge for you.

I’ve never worked in a place that did pastas in the microwave. all the places I worked at did pasta on the stove. we had a pot with near boiling water with a blancher (collander) to put the pasta in then drain it. we par cooked the noodles before hand and portioned them up. for the sauces we just heated them up per order or had them on a steam table. it seems to me that doing pastas in a microwave would be a big challenge to kitchen efficency