Rich, flavorful, and filling, pasta bake is a popular comfort food because it’s so tasty and satisfying! It makes a fantastic snack or a main course, depending on how you take pasta bake. Pasta bake is also a terrific dish to serve for your next potluck! But what if you made too much pasta bake? How do you keep the leftovers for future uses? Can you freeze pasta bake?
Image used under Creative Commons from Becky
You might not think about freezing pasta bake but this method extends the shelf life of the dish exponentially. You see, pasta bake – as well as most cooked pasta dishes for that matter – only keeps up to 4 to 5 days in the fridge. But when kept in the freezer, pasta bake will keep fresh for 2 months or so. However, it will remain safe to eat beyond this period.
The problem with freezing cooked pasta is the degradation of the pasta itself. That’s why proper preparation and packing are critical to maintaining the original texture and flavor of the pasta dish.
The fact is, poorly packed frozen pasta could turn soggy or take on a gummy consistency when it’s been defrosted and reheated. The dish could also absorb fridge flavors if it’s been defrosted improperly. With all these in mind, let’s take a look at our step by step guide on how can you freeze pasta bake:
Image used under Creative Commons from Kris Awesome
How to Freeze Pasta Bake?
If you’re anticipating a lot of leftovers, it’s best to cook the pasta al dente prior to freezing. This way, the pasta won’t overcook or turn soggy once the dish has been thawed and reheated. Although you can always use a rigid plastic container with an airtight lid to freeze the pasta, we recommend using smaller containers. Packing the pasta bake in single serving portions help keep the integrity of the dish.
Now, if you’re making baked pasta from scratch, consider freezing the cooked pasta and the sauce separately. You can assemble the dish once you’re ready to serve. But if this isn’t possible, storing the pasta bake fully assembled is fine.
To do this, prepare several small resealable plastic bags. Scoop a single serving’s worth of pasta bake into a small plastic bag (do not overfill). Squeeze as much air as you can, seal, and write the storage date. Stick the whole thing in the freezer, laying the plastic bag flat to save storage space.
If say, you don’t have enough resealable plastic bags to store individual servings of the pasta bake, try this trick: scoop the pasta dish into a greased muffin tin. Stick the muffin tin the freezer and leave it to freeze for at least 3 hours.
Once the dish is completely frozen, take the muffin tin out of the freezer and pop each serving of frozen pasta bake out of the tray and into one large resealable plastic bag, squeezing as much air as you can before sealing the bag. Write the storage date and then stick in the freezer.
Image used under Creative Commons from Personal Creations
How to Defrost and Reheat Pasta Bake?
To thaw the frozen pasta bake, take a serving out of the freezer and transfer it to the fridge. Do not open the plastic bag as the dish thaws. Leave the dish to thaw for several hours to overnight. Never leave the dish to thaw at room temperature. Once the pasta bake has been thawed completely, it’s ready for reheating.
To reheat the pasta bake, you can stick the dish either in the oven or in the microwave. If you’re using the oven, Bake the dish at 350° Fahrenheit for 20 minutes or until heated through. On the last 5 minutes, try sprinkling a little Parmesan cheese. When using a microwave, heat over high at 2-minute intervals until the pasta is thoroughly heated.
For many, pasta bake is a comfort food, a classic dish that one simply cannot get enough of. Now that you know how can you freeze pasta bake, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t make this dish ahead of time so you’ll always have a quick snack waiting in the freezer.