Ziti is a popular pasta shape and is often used in a baked casserole dish. If say, you cooked too much ziti or you have a lot of baked casserole leftovers, can you freeze ziti? Yes, you can freeze ziti and save the leftovers for a weekend meal. You can also make baked ziti in advance to bring to a potluck. However, experts have conflicted views when it comes to prepping the ziti for freezing. Should you freeze ziti before or after it’s been cooked?
Raw, uncooked ziti has a long shelf life. There’s no need to freeze the uncooked pasta but you need to keep it in an airtight container. As far as cooked ziti goes, it’s best to season and bake the pasta prior to freezing. Cooking the pasta without seasonings (just boiled and salted) and then sticking it in the freezer increases the likelihood of flavor and texture changes once it’s defrosted.
Also, since you’ll be cooking the ziti a second time, the pasta will become soggy once it’s been thawed and recooked. So our vote is to complete the cooking process as opposed to par-cooking the pasta before freezing.
The extent of the freezing conditions will determine how long the ziti will keep in the freezer or fridge. When kept in the fridge, cooked ziti will keep for a week or so. Freezing ziti will extend its shelf life to 2 months or more as long as the freezing temperature remains a steady 0°Farenheit.
The fact is, bacterial growth is highly likely if the ziti is kept between 40°F and 140°Farenheiht so you should never leave baked ziti sitting at room temperature for long. Below is a step by step guide on how can you freeze ziti:
How to Freeze Ziti?
If you’re cooking and/or baking the ziti from scratch, you have to leave the dish to cool completely prior to freezing. If you don’t the shelf life of the ziti will be shorter. Once the ziti has been cooled completely, you’re ready to pack. We suggest dividing the dish into single or double servings to save space in the freezer as well as to make thawing less of a hassle. This goes especially for large batches of the dish. Instead of thawing the whole slab of baked ziti, you can simply take the right amount you need for a meal and keep the rest in storage.
To pack the dish for freezing, get a slotted spoon, a roll of aluminum foil, and freezer-safe resealable plastic bags. Lay a couple of layers of aluminum foil on the counter and scoop ample portions of ziti into it. Wrap the dish with aluminum foil carefully, making sure to cover the dish completely. The folds should not expose the dish to freezing temps otherwise, freezer burn will set in.
Once the ziti has been wrapped in aluminum foil, place the entire thing in a resealable plastic bag. Squeeze as much air as you can before sealing. Write the storage date and stick in the freezer. You can always freeze par-cooked ziti the same way.
How to Defrost and Reheat Ziti?
To defrost frozen ziti, just transfer the dish from the freezer to the fridge. Leave the ziti to thaw for several hours to overnight. Slow defrosting is essential to maintain the original taste and texture of the dish. If you’re pressed for time, you could also submerge the packed dish in tap water for at least 30 minutes. This method is great if you are planning to eat the dish right away.
To reheat the ziti, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, transfer the thawed dish on a pan lined with parchment and stick in the oven. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the top is melty and bubbly then serve immediately.
Baked ziti makes a fabulous make-ahead meal. It’s comforting, filling, and nutritious. Now that you know how can you freeze ziti, you can whip up a large batch and enjoy the leftovers for later.