Serving pasta for a dinner party. Can I make the pasta in advance? If so, how?
Baked pastas, like Lasagna or baked ziti, are a good option
Cook your pasta until it is just al dente. Reserve a cup or so of the cooking water in another container to chill until later needed. Drain the pasta and add a couple tablespoons of good quality olive oil. Dump it from the pot to a rimmed baking sheet, and let it cool 1-15 minutes. Place in a large ziplock bag, close and refrigerate. When you are ready to serve, bring a pot of salted water to boil, and warm that reserved pasta water in another small saucepan. Add in the pasta, give it a good stir, and then dump it all out into the strainer. Once it is drained, add it to your pasta sauce, toss and adjust using the warmed, reserved pasta water as needed. I do this with my family, because our mealtime schedules often conflict with work and college classes schedules. I find that the tubular types do better than spaghetti- my opinion only, and I've never done pasta ahead more than two days. So I can't say how long it will hold up. However, if done earlier in the day, same day of serving, it works a treat. You can also use a sink sprayer and very hot water to hose down pasta in a strainer in the sink- the way my sons do, and add it to reheated sauce. The point of the hot water dip is to help remove excess oil- not to finish cooking the pasta. In fact, you don't want to actually cook it any longer than you have to for warming purposes the second time.
Sorry about this. Cool your pasta 10 to 15 minutes on the rimmed sheet. Wish there was a way to edit posts, when typing fingers get tangled!
Both Sam Corber and Lori Terwilliger solutions will work...choose depending on what else you plan to serve that night.
What kind of pasta are you making?