How insane is it to make spaghetti (with Genius meatballs!) for 10 people? What can I do to make it easier?
Are you talking PREPARING spaghetti, or MAKING from scratch and then preparing for dinner?
If you're making from scratch, start about 2-3 days in advance, let the strands dry. Then cook as usual on day of dinner.
at 2 oz dry per person, you'll need just over a lb
at 3 oz fresh per person, you'll need just under 2 lb
This will require one very large or two medium large pots for boiling, or do two batches in sequence.
I was giving minimum quantities for dried & fresh pasta.
If you want to make more, leave extra cooked (or hydrated, per HalfPint) unsauced until called for, and serve.
If you have pasta leftovers and don't want a 2nd night of meatballs, you could make noodle pudding and/or frittata with it.
Not insane. Make the meatballs in advance. Reheat on the stove top in the sauce while making the spaghetti.
It sounds like one of the better choices for a crowd to me. Both the sauce and meatballs can be made in advance. I would say figuring out your capacity to cook the amount of pasta you need in a timely fashion might be the biggest issue. But if you have a full size stove and enough large pots the it should work well. The simple addition of a salad and crusty bread and you have a great meal.
Prep, prep, prep
Pasta for 10 is not insane. When I was growing up, we called it "dinner". Hehehehe. Sorry I digress,
You can prep everything (almost) ahead of time:
1. make meatballs
2. make sauce
3. hydrate pasta
#3 is my recommendation. It comes from Ideas in Food by Kamozawa & Talbot. Simply, you will soak your uncooked pasta in water overnight. Then finish the pasta in the sauce. From the pasta is already hydrate, so when you add it to the sauce, the heating of the sauce will be enough to finish cooking the pasta. Here's their findings on this process: http://blog.ideasinfood.com/ideas_in_food/2009/08/one-minute-pasta.html
I've tried this technique and it really does work.
Other than hand-making the pasta itself, if that is what you mean, the rest is easy. Meatballs as well as pasta sauce are both easily made, easily multiplied if necessary, and pretty forgiving. As everyone else suggested, the process can easily be broken down over a couple of days. Making the meatballs and the sauce ahead of time reduces stress. You can even mix and form the meatballs then refrigerate for frying later that day. This is a very flexible and suitable choice for entertaining.
Meatballs and sauce made in advance taste better! A day or two in the fridge will help the flavors meld.
As others have said, it's also forgiving...easy to stretch to accommodate an extra guest or allow for yummy leftovers for another day.
Keep your sides simple—a big green salad is perfect, or have guests bring sides—and fruit is a traditional finish.