Whether 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.
But wait! There’s nothing to worry about. How about if you get that same freshly-tasted pasta the next day? Well, that can for sure happen if you store your pasta in the right way.
Whether 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 method to store the cooked pasta. 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 pasta intentionally to preserve it to deal with your sudden hunger pangs. You just have to reheat the frozen stuff and toss it into your favorite sauce.
The first thing you have to keep in mind is to refrigerate the pasta within two hours of cooking it. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to store cooked pasta in a refrigerator.
Step 1 – Put the Boiled Pasta in an Airtight Box
Pasta, being a perishable item, needs to be locked in an airtight container to maintain its shelf-life, freshness, and taste for a long time.
Ensure the container you’re using has a fit-in lid that doesn’t even allow traces of air to let into it. Keep two things in mind:
- If you don’t have an air-sealed container, a Ziploc bag can serve the job. But make sure that you squeeze as much air out of it before you seal it down.
- If you are using a container –it should be completely dry before you add pasta to 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 Olive Oil or Butter
The solution to prevent cooked pasta from sticking lies in greasing the container with a small amount of olive oil or butter. This will prevent the pasta from sticking or clumping and keep them fresh. So, here is the process:
- Coat the pasta with a lighter layer of oil by stirring the oil into the pan and mixing it thoroughly. Moreover, it will make the reheating even easier.
- I 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 it and immerse it in oil, the pasta will become too greasy to stick to the sauce.
- 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. So the thing is, unlike some other foods that can even be preserved for months, pasta is a perishable food. 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 leftover pasta and sauce serving, you can save the leftover sauce too. But make sure you save it separately. Most of the tomato-based sauces last much longer due to their acidity. However, Alfredo or creamy sauces can last up to a week if you seal and refrigerate properly.
In case you’re not sure that pasta sauce is still fresh and good to go with after a week, –smell it or taste it slightly to find if it has gone bad or not.
- You can restore the saucy nature of refrigerated sauce by reheating it on the stovetop or baking it in an oven while serving.
- Tomato sauces are easier 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 are left with a lot of pasta after having a heavy pasta meal. So, if you want the same fresh pasta taste in the next day’s dinner too, here are the steps to store sauced pasta for a week.
Step 1 – Place the Leftovers in an Air-sealed Container
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 remove air from the Ziploc bag too. The contamination will produce 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 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.
I recommend using the stored pasta within 1-2 days to get that same freshness and taste. But in case you’re not sure that you’d be using it within this time, it’s better to freeze it.
How to Freeze Pasta?
Though you cannot refrigerate pasta for a long time, freezing it works well, where it can be stored for up to eight months.
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.
- Sprinkle 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. It’s better to mark the expiry date on that freezer bag so as 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 in the refrigerator. It will prevent the chances of growing molds or bacteria while preserving its taste and texture.
How to Keep Cooked Pasta Hot?
Here we’ve got you some useful ways to keep your pasta warm once you’re done cooking it.
Keeping Pasta Hot after Cooking!
Keep a heatproof bowl and a colander in your hand and follow the following steps.
- When you’re draining the pasta, always use a heatproof bowl.
- Make sure some water is left inside the pasta. You can use that later for preparing the sauce 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
So here comes a Crockpot – to keep your pasta smoky-hot without making it overcooked. Cooking any pasta in a Crockpot makes things easier, and quicker and you can certainly focus on other dinner elements.
- Greasing the crockpot; you can either use olive oil or any other vegetable oil.
- After boiling and draining the pasta, mix it in the sauce.
- 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?
All you need for this is a slow cooker, colander, pasta, water, sauce, and olive oil.
- Cook the pasta and drain it properly.
- Put the pasta in the slow cooker and sprinkle it with water and olive oil. However, if you want to use a sauce, then replace water with sauce.
- Once you coat the pasta, set the cooker on the low heat settings.
- Make sure you’re adding sauce or water after every 30 minutes. And don’t forget to check the pasta’s texture.
- 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. No matter what the setting is, you can keep your pasta sizzling hot and serve it tasty with the best buffet food warmers.
You need a Sterno fuel, a colander, and a chafing dish. You can get this dish at any catering shop.
- Cook the pasta until it is al dente.
- Now, serve your pasta in a chafing dish and put it on a flame to keep it warm. Lit the Sterno and keep it underneath the dish.
- Fill the dish with 0.5-inch water and put the lid on 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 to the chafing dish, close the lid.
- The steam accumulating inside will keep your pasta moist and warm. Stir it when needed and add water or sauce to prevent it from sticking at the bottom.