No matter you’re a newbie chef or an expert cooking aficionado, sometimes it just happens when you end up making a lot and a lot of pasta –probably the recipe you’re following demands for it.
Maybe it’s just pasta love that small amounts aren’t enough to fulfill your craving, and you just keep on adding more and more in it, and ultimately, what happens? You see your pasta deeply immersed in a sauce leftover and don’t know what to do with it?
But wait! There’s nothing to worry about. How about if you get that same freshly-taste pasta the next day to eat? Well, that can for sure happen if you store your pasta in the right way.
Either you want to store boiled Macaroni, Penne, and Lasagne, or you want to save freshly-made sauced Fettucine and Spaghetti, you can ace it if you follow the right technique. So, let’s get right into the business!
How to Store Cooked Pasta without Sauce?
It doesn’t always happen to store sauced and prepared pasta. Sometimes you boil some extra pasta intentionally to preserve it to deal with your sudden hunger pangs. Cooking pasta is one of the easiest Italian recipes, but things get even easier when you get boiled shells or macaroni in the refrigerator.
You just have to reheat the frozen stuff and toss it into your favorite sauce. Congrats! You’re good to go with it now!
Wait, wait, wait! It seems that storing pasta is an easy task; trust me, if it isn’t done correctly, you won’t get that taste and freshness next time. The perishable ingredients of plain pasta start growing molds in it and lose their taste and freshness.
The first thing you have to keep in mind is to refrigerate the pasta within two hours of cooking it. And once you do it, you can enjoy the same taste and freshness for many days.
Step 1 – Put the Boiled Pasta in an Air-sealed Box
Do you know what is the core of all the problems while storing the cooked pasta? The air – that comes in contact with your eatables and oxidizes the oxidizing agents in your food. When you’re preserving anything for future use, keeping it away from air contact is the first and the most crucial step.
Pasta, being a perishable item, should be locked in an airtight container to maintain its shelf-life, freshness, and taste for an even longer time than it was supposed to stay within air.
Ensure the container you’re using has a fit-in lid that doesn’t even allow traces of air let into it. Because you know the moisture inside the container serves as a breeding surface for molds and bacteria. Keep two things in mind:
- If you don’t have any air-sealed container, a Ziploc bag can serve the function too. But make sure that you squeeze as much air out of it before you seal it down.
- If you’re are using any container –it should be completely dry before you add pasta into it. Even if there’s a little moisture, it will add to the pasta’s moisture, and both will result in a horrible thing.
Step 2 – Sprinkle Some Olive Oil or Butter
If you keep your drained pasta for a little time when you’re preparing a sauce, it starts getting clumped and sticky. Just imagine what will happen to it when you’re going to refrigerate it for days, weeks, and even months.
The solution to prevent cooked pasta from sticking lies in adding a little olive oil or greasing the shells with butter. This will prevent the pasta from sticking or clumping and keep them fresh and tasty. But wait, you’re not restricted to olive oil only; you can use the one you like. So, here is the process:
- Coat the pasta with an even and lighter layer of oil by stirring the oil into the pan and mixing it thoroughly. Moreover, it will make the reheating even easier.
- We usually recommend sprinkling not more than 1-2 tablespoons of oil on an average serving for 2-4 persons.
- Keep in mind that your pasta needs to be coated lightly. If you try to stuff and immerse it out in oil, the pasta will become too greasy to stick to the sauce. Keep the right balance.
- Before flinging the pasta to the entire refrigeration process, don’t forget to toss it into the flour.
Step 3 – Refrigerate the Pasta
A boiled, drained, and un-sauced pasta can only stay fresh within three to five days after cooking. As discussed earlier, it will start producing molds in it, and even you won’t get the same freshness after weeks. The pasta starts sticking even after greasing it if you are storing it for so long.
So the thing is, unlike some other foods that can even be preserved for months, pasta is a delicate food; it will blink and attract you within a few days. Keep the following things in mind before refrigerating it:
- Make sure you keep the Ziploc bag or air-sealed container away from smelly meat or scented foods, or else it will absorb unwanted odors.
- Place it somewhere on the top or middle shelves in front of your eyes so that you just don’t forget to reuse them.
Step 4 – Make Sure to Store the Sauce Separately
When you’ve prepared a lot of pasta and sauce serving, you can save the leftover sauce too. But make sure you do it separately and properly. Most of the tomato-based sauces last much longer due to their acidity. However, Alfredo or creamy sauces can last up to a week maximum if you seal and refrigerate it properly.
In case if you’re not sure that pasta sauce is still fresh and good to go with after a week, use your best judgment –most probably smell it or taste it slightly.
- You can restore the saucy nature of refrigerated sauce by reheating on the stovetop or bake it in an oven while serving.
- Tomato sauces are easy to reheat than creamy ones.
- The dairy composition of creamy sauces makes it challenging to reheat the sauce.
How to Store Sauced Pasta?
Sometimes it just happens when you left with a lot of pasta after having a heavy pasta meal. We understand how much effort you put into preparing your favorite sauce and all the toppings, which should not be wasted. So, if you want the same fresh pasta taste in the next day’s dinner too, there’s nothing to worry about. Here are the steps to store sauced pasta for a week.
Step 1 – Place the Leftovers in Air-sealed Container
As you already know, it is essential to keep the air away from foods while preserving, so here’s the same strategy. Transfer the leftover sauced pasta into a large Ziploc bag or Tupperware container and end up sealing it entirely.
Make sure the container isn’t wet or moist at all, and you remove all the possible air from the Ziploc bag too. The contamination will hasten the birth and spreading of molds and bacteria while spoiling your pasta.
- Make sure you’re not pouring that sizzling hot pasta into an airtight container, or else it will go bad.
- Let the sauced pasta cool down up to room temperature before you seal it down.
- Storing pasta mixed with sauce makes things even easier. Especially if you’re going short on storage space inside the refrigerator, it’s a great idea to mix the sauce with pasta.
Step 2 – Make room in the refrigerator
Your scrumptious pasta deserves the right place in the refrigerator – most probably the upper shelves to get a good cold. The conditions inside the refrigeration are favorable to keep it fresh and juicy for a few days only.
One thing to keep in mind! Don’t hide it behind any other long-lasting item inside the fridge, or it will go bad until you remember it again.
- Make sure you’re using your sauced pasta within 3-4 days of cooking if you really need a fresh and delicious taste.
- It’s better to label the Ziploc bag or container with a ‘pasta name’ tag and refrigeration date.
Step 3 – Do not store for longer
Do you know what happens when you refrigerate your sauced pasta for more than four days? The juicy sauce and all the spices start getting absorbed into the pasta, making it mushier and meshed.
We usually recommend using the stored pasta within 1-2 days to get that same freshness and taste. But in case if you’re not sure that you’d be using it within this time, it’s better to freeze it off directly.
Trust me; when you reheat your pasta even after 1-2 days, you’ll love the taste. It’s because the individual flavors actually get much more time to fuse and produce an even more delicious taste.
Storing Pasta for Long-term by Freezing it!
Getting ready-made pasta out of your freezer is the best answer to those sudden late-night hunger pangs. And even when you’re too busy to cook a meal for you, the frozen sauced or un-sauced pasta comes right into play.
As you know that you cannot refrigerate pasta for a long time, but freezing it works well. An interesting thing! You can preserve your favorite dish for up to eight months when you freeze it the right way. If you know that you’re not going to consume leftovers within a week, it’s better to freeze them directly.
Step 1 – Place the leftovers in a freezer bag
No matter if your pasta is combined with sauce or not, it freezes well for up to a long period. All you have to do is place all the leftover pasta into a freezer bag and press excess air right out of it. Make sure you seal it properly.
- If you’re freezing your pasta, make sure you’re not using any thick container. A thin plastic freezer bag serves this function well and lets the inner contents freeze well.
- Make sure you’re sprinkling some oil or butter before sealing the bag. It will help to break the frozen clumps during the reheating process.
Step 2 – Place it in the freezer
Choosing the right place inside the freezer is the first thing you’ve to keep in consideration. Although you can preserve this pasta for up to eight months, it would be best to use it within two months to get optimal taste and flavor.
Do you know what happens when you store it for more than the recommended time? The high-water content of cooked pasta turns into freezer-burned –that ruins the whole taste. It becomes even challenging to reheat it properly.
It’s better to mark the expiry date on that freezer bag to not to forget using it.
Step 3 – Thaw the pasta in the refrigerator
Instead of defrosting the pasta at room temperature, it’s better to thaw it into the refrigerator. It will prevent the chances of growing molds or bacteria while preserving its taste and texture.
It’s actually the most successful approach when you’re using your pasta again. Well, if you want to know more about how you can reheat the pasta to restore its freshness, let’s dig a little deeper.
How to Keep Cooked Pasta Hot?
Before we get right into how you’ll store cooked pasta, it’s essential to know how you’ll keep pasta hot and juicy until the serving. Here we’ve got you some useful ways to keep your pasta warm once you’re done cooking it.
Keeping Pasta Hot after Cooking!
You might be hosting a dinner party, or there’s a candle-light dinner surprise for your loved ones; it may be the first question in your mind that how you’ll keep your pasta hot, saucy, and non-sticky.
You have to bring your cooking utensils into play to follow this simple technique. Keep a heatproof bowl and a colander in your hand and follow the following steps.
- When you’re draining the pasta, make sure that you use a heatproof bowl.
- Make sure some water is left inside the pasta. You can use that later for sauce prep and adding extra warmth and moisture to the final sauced pasta.
- Once you drain the pasta thoroughly, empty the heatproof bowl and leave the amount of water you need.
- Mix all the ingredients in the pasta.
- It’s ensured that your serving will remain warm in a warm bowl with the right consistency. And yeah! That’s it.
Keeping Pasta Warm in a Crockpot
As we all know how overcooked pasta tastes, trust me, it isn’t delightful anymore. All your efforts, spices, and sauces turn into something undesirable.
So here comes a Crockpot –a perfect instrument to keep your pasta smoky-hot without making it overcooked. Cooking any pasta type in a Crockpot makes things easier, quicker and you can certainly focus on other dinner elements.
All you need is a colander and a trusty crockpot to get the job done.
- Greasing the crockpot is the first and the most important step; you can either use olive oil or any other vegetable oil.
- Firstly, the crockpot’s greasy surfaces will not let pasta stick to it, and secondly, it makes the pasta juicy.
- After boiling and draining the pasta, you’ve to mix it in your sauce prep.
- Add the mixture to the crockpot and set it to a ‘warm’ setting. Take it easy! Your pasta will remain fresh and warm until you serve it.
How to keep Cooked Pasta Hot in a Slow Cooker?
Here’s a time to prepare your Alfredo in a slow cooker. A slow cooker is an essential part of every kitchen that’s useful for cooking numerous dishes. And trust me, it won’t go wrong when we say it’s super-effective to keep the pasta hot and yummy, no matter how long you keep it in that.
All you need for this is a slow cooker, colander, pasta, water, sauce, and olive oil. Let’s get right into the business!
- Cook the pasta in your way and once you’re done with it, drain it properly to get the water completely out.
- It’s time to put the pasta in the slow cooker and sprinkle it with water and olive oil. But if you want to use a sauce, then replace water with sauce.
- Once you coat the pasta properly, set the cooker on the lower heat settings.
- But wait, make sure you’re adding sauce or water after every 30 minutes. And don’t forget to check the pasta’s texture.
- That’s all! You’re good to go with your Alfredo or Spaghetti –deeply warmed and saucy.
How to Keep Pasta Hot in Buffets?
When it comes to keeping pasta warm for buffets, it’s a real-time challenge –there’s no denying it. No matter what the setting is, you can keep your pasta sizzling hot and serve it tasty with the right equipment.
All you need is a Sterno, colander, and a chafing dish; don’t worry! That need not be too costly. You can get this dish at any catering shop.
- The first step is simple, and all you have to do is cook the pasta until it is al dente.
- Now you will serve your pasta into a chafing dish and put it on a flame to keep it warm. Lit the Sterno and keep it underneath the dish. Trust me; your pasta will remain not only warm but moist and juicy too.
- Now you have to pour less than 0.5” water into the bottom of the dish and place the lid to let it heat up.
- If you want to restrain your pasta from getting sticky, drain the pasta with the help of a colander and rinse it with cold water.
- Sprinkle some olive or any other oil. After adding the pasta into the chafing dish, close the lid.
- The steam accumulating inside will keep your pasta moist and warm. Make sure you stir it when needed and add water or sauce to prevent it from sticking at the bottom.
Tips for Reheating the Pasta – Restoring its Freshness
You deserve a break –a night off, after preparing the lavishing pasta dinner last night. And it’s time to open the refrigerator, get the noodles or macaroni out, and toss it into the whole reheating process.
Let’s explore some fantastic tips to reheat your pasta and restore its flavor and texture to the day it was cooked.
Tip #1 – Fling it into the boiling water
Tossing your pasta out of a pot full of boiling water goes well if you’re defrosting un-sauced noodles. It’s a practical and straightforward technique that opens the frozen pasta’s clumps without breaking them and making them mushy.
Boil a large pot of water and add some salt to it. Now toss the frozen noodles into it by placing them in the colander. Heat it for not more than 30 seconds and remove it out of water.
Sprinkle your leftover sauce and toppings on it, and yeah! That’s it. Your pasta is ready.
But wait! Don’t worry if you don’t have a handy colander. You can boil water and remove it from heat. Add the frozen pasta directly into water and let it dunk for 1-2 minutes.
Tip #2 – Bake it in the microwave
If you’re not in the mood to make many efforts, it’s better to toss the pasta directly into the microwave, set the timer, and get the job done. There’s no need for colander and boiling water too.
Make sure you’re placing the pasta in an oven-safe shallow bowl, and don’t forget to cover it with aluminum foil. If your pasta is without sauce mixed, sprinkle the sauce before you cover it with foil.
Preheating the oven for 20 minutes by adjusting the settings to 350-degrees makes things even easier.
Tip #3 – Cook it on a stovetop
How about if you fling your pasta directly onto the flame? Trust me; this is the best method for reheating the pasta and restore its sizzling hot texture. All you have to do is heat a saucepan and grease it with olive oil on medium flame.
Pour the pasta into the pan and sprinkle the sauce, garlic, and other toppings. Cook it for up to 3 minutes until the flavor fuses perfectly into the pasta. Congrats! You are good to go with it!
The Bottom Line
We all know that cooking pasta doesn’t demand rocket-science knowledge, nor even this innocent dish takes a lot of time. But trust me, when you’re tight on schedule, taking out those ten minutes seems to be frustrating too.
Properly storing the leftover sauced pasta from the dinner or boiled noodles is the best thing you can do to enjoy your favorite meal the next day. Trust me; once you do it successfully, you’d love to eat delicious and sizzling hot pasta on your busy weekdays.
We tried to explore every possible way to refrigerate and freeze pasta. After reading this detailed guide, we hope no query will be left behind in your mind.