We’ve all been in a situation where we have somehow cooked way too much of something and are stuck with a ton of food that will, unfortunately, have to get thrown out. I don’t know about you but I hate throwing away food or what is essentially money. It never feels good and is defeating one of the main reasons to cook at home, saving money. To prevent these bad feelings and thrown away extras read on and learn how to freeze your pasta leftovers that will not just save money but time as well!
How long will frozen pasta last?
Frozen pasta will last 1 to months 2 months in the freezer provided it was properly stored. This will time window will ensure that the pasta is still at its peak quality level.
When thawing your pasta in the fridge, it will remain good for an additional 3 to 4 days. If you thaw by microwave or cold water then it should be eaten in that sitting, so plan accordingly.
Always, make sure to give your pasta a good look over after thawing and cooking. Obviously, if you see anything even resembling mold, discard it immediately. If you are not sure and there are no obvious signs then a quick smell or taste test will answer your concerns. Anything funky? Bye-bye. When in doubt throw it out. You can never be too careful.
Let’s say you accidentally made way too much and don’t want anything to go waste, that’s a perfect time to learn how to freeze your leftovers. After learning than you can actually plan to make extra, which will save time and money in the long run. Cook once and eat twice three times, and so on. That’s batch cooking and soon enough you’ll find your freezer full of yummy homemade frozen dinners that will be ready to eat at a moment’s notice.
How to freeze pasta
1. First you want to slightly undercook the pasta. Cooking it al dente like this will prevent the pasta from becoming too mushy when thawed out. If the box says to cook for 10-12 minutes then set a timer for about 8 minutes. Don’t be afraid to taste test if you are unsure, you are looking for a little bit of a crunch when you bite down.
2. Rinse under cold water. This simply stops the cooking process. Remember just because something isn’t directly under a flame doesn’t mean that internal cooking has stopped, we want to avoid mushy at all costs.
3. Toss the rinsed pasta with olive oil. This will prevent the pasta from sticking together when in the freezer. Just add a splash to the pasta in the now drained pot(saves on dirty dishes!), make sure mix it around good giving it a good coat.
4. Now when freezing longer noodles(spaghetti, angel hair, etc.) it’s best to place them on baking sheets in a single layer to prevent clumping. You want to take a fork a twirl it in the pasta, like how you would eat it normally but with much bigger clumps. Do this and fill up the trey with your pasta piles a couple of inches spaced apart. After at least 1 hour you can transfer these to a freezer-safe container.
Now I know not many people have a freezer big enough or enough free space to put a baking sheet into it so you can skip that step and go straight to the container/Ziplock bag, just be mindful of your pasta placement and that it has completely cooled down.
How to defrost pasta
When it comes time to defrost your pasta you have a couple of simple options at your fingertips. You can transfer it to the fridge to thaw out, this will require meal planning as it will take the longest time, about a few hours.
I recommend placing the pasta still in its bag in a bowl of cold water(making sure it’s submerged), placing it in the sink, and running the tap so a very small stream of water pours into the bowl. Having the running water pour into the container will make the pasta defrost quicker, about 10 minutes.
If you’re in a big rush though then the ol’ stand-by will work and by that I mean the microwave. Just pop it in for a few minutes and it will be done in no time. Be careful to check frequently as you don’t your pasta to overcook and turn mushy.
Since the pasta is already fully cooked, you just have to worry about getting it as warm as the sauce or other ingredients you’re serving it with.
Now you will never throw away another noodle of pasta again with your new-found freezing superpowers. Knowing how to store your leftover pasta you will to able to whip up a speedy dinner in no time at all.