Cooking pasta isn't rocket science, nor does it take a great deal of time. But sometimes even five to 10 minutes can seem like too much when you're on a tight schedule. Enter: frozen cooked pasta.
Frozen cooked pasta reheats quickly, and ensures you have something warm and hearty in your belly before a pot of water could even come to a boil. Want to make some in your own kitchen? Here are a few tips!
1. Cook until just less than al dente.
Cook your pasta ahead of time to just under al dente. When reheated, pasta that's cooked to a slightly softer texture turns out mushy. Firmer is better, although just make sure it's still edible before freezing. Reheating it in sauce will allow you to cook it to ideal texture and avoid the sad mushies.
2. Opt for a few containers or one.
You can either freeze your pasta in small zip-top bags or freezable containers or you can try a baking sheet. Line a baking sheet with parchment and toss your noodles lightly with olive oil. If it's short pasta, spread it out in a single layer. Long noodles can be piled in small nests for easier freezing and storage. Store them in the freezer this way until they are frozen, then transfer to a large zip top bag.
Freeze homemade sauce in small ice cube shapes to go along with your frozen pasta; it will melt quickly and not explode all over your microwave. Double score!
3. Reheat in the microwave or stovetop.
When it's time to reheat your pasta in the microwave, lay it out flat in your container. It doesn't matter if the container is round or square, but as long at the pasta sits flat, the microwave will be able to get all the pieces at the same time and warm them up evenly.
If you opt for the stovetop, the pasta can be tossed into a pot of simmering sauce or a skillet meal straight from the freezer. The warm sauce or hot pan will quickly defrost and heat it.