By Brynne Chandler

Timing out your ingredients for a meal is one of the trickier parts of cooking. Pasta is especially fickle as it can become overcooked or dry out easily. It's ideal to get all the parts of the meal cooked at the same time, but if that's not possible, there are ways to hold pasta while keeping it hot, fresh and ready to serve when the rest of the meal catches up.

Pasta with asparagus, tomatoes and bacon
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Avoid dry or overcooked pasta with these tips.
Holding Strainer
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You'll need a colander to rinse the pasta.

If the pasta is done too soon, drain it, returning about one-half of the water to the pot. Rinse the pasta well with cool water to stop it from cooking, and toss it with olive oil to keep it from sticking. Place the colander into the pot so that it is suspended over the hot water. Then cover the pot to retain the heat.

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Place the pasta in a large bowl and toss with olive oil.

Heat a large bowl in the oven. Drain and rinse the pasta and toss it with a little bit of olive oil. Turn it out into the warmed bowl and cover the bowl with aluminum foil.

chafing dish
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Hold the pasta in a chafing dish.

Hold pasta for a buffet by cooking it for one-third less time than the package instructs. Toss it with a generous amount of olive oil. Place it in a chafing dish.