Although the availability of meals on U.S. airlines has changed considerably over the past few years, business and first-class flyers and those on international flights still receive in-flight meals as part of their ticket price. Airlines based in the United States tend to serve large, hearty meals offering a choice of salad, steak, chicken or pasta, with sides of vegetables like potatoes, broccoli or green beans, and a beverage and dessert. Some long-haul flights by Asian and European airlines serve multi-course gourmet meals including caviar, champagne and sorbet. These in-flight menu options all have one thing in common — their entrées are prepared, cooked and frozen on the ground before takeoff and reheated onboard the airplane.
For meals containing steak or chicken, the on-ground food preparation cycle of cooking, cooling and packaging the entrée to achieve a delicious meal is a fairly straightforward process. But pasta dishes are more difficult to prepare on-ground and yet end up with an onboard dish that has the texture and taste of authentic Italian cuisine — one that will not only satisfy the typical business or first-class passenger but will also please the most discerning traveling connoisseur.