You just made a huge pot of fresh pasta and you know you made too much. Can you freeze cooked pasta leftovers? That’s the question that comes to mind. The solution is simple; you can freeze it and use it later.
However, the pasta will not taste as fresh as when you first cooked it, but at least you will not be wasting it. Thankfully, you can use sauces, herbs, and spices to help give it flavor again and some tastefulness.
Although freezing cooked pasta is not the ideal way to preserve the dish, the method could keep you from wasting leftover cooked pasta. It is always best to measure out the exact portion of pasta you need, cook it up and eat it the day it is fresh. It will have the best texture and flavor and you will not have to worry about using any leftovers up within a given amount of time.
When it comes to homemade pasta you have made yourself from scratch and cooked up, freezing the leftovers is not wise. This is because freshly made pasta from scratch dries out during the freezing process and becomes chewy and hard in texture.
The only pasta you should ever freeze is the box kind you cook up. This is because this form holds the best texture and flavor when you do freeze it when you have tons left over and it is the easiest to defrost when you do want to eat it up.
With all these in mind, check out our guide on how can you freeze cooked pasta below:
You freeze leftover cooked pasta by pouring it into a small or large freezer container. You want to make sure though that you are not freezing mushy over-cooked pasta because when you go to defrost it, it will just turn into complete mush. You want your pasta cooked, but firm in texture.
Once you have your pasta in a freezer container, you can seal it shut and store it in the freezer where it will keep fresh for up too 2 weeks. Keeping the pasta frozen longer is not recommended since the texture and flavor will change drastically.
Image used under Creative Commons from Luca Nebuloni
When you want to defrost the pasta, all you do is remove the container from the freezer and place the pasta, which will be in a solid block directly into a pan of boiling water until it defrosts and the pasta heats up.
The defrosting process in the pan of boiling water takes about 5 to 7 minutes. As soon as the pasta is warm though you will want to remove it from the boiling water using a strainer and toss it into whatever sauce, spices, and herbs, butter or dressing you are flavoring it with so it has a chance to absorb those flavors and become tasty again.
With that said, you will notice when you go to eat the pasta that it has a slightly different texture that is sometimes mushier or chewier than usual. It will still be good to eat up as a quick meal, but if you still have leftover pasta from the second meal you get out of it you should just toss it out. Otherwise, you will be risking food poisoning, which you definitely do not want.
It is also important to keep in mind that is never wise to freeze leftover cooked pasta with sauce on it. Trying to defrost cooked pasta with sauce on it only dries the pasta dish out more and makes the pasta extremely hard in texture. This is because you typically have to defrost cooked pasta with sauce on it in the microwave.
Yes, freezing cooked pasta isn’t the best way to preserve the dish but it is a great idea if you’re trying to reduce waste. Now that you know how can you freeze cooked pasta properly, there is no need to worry about wasting a good plate of pasta. Just stick the dish in the freezer and you can enjoy pasta dishes whenever you like. All these with zero waste.