Category: Noodles & Pastas

Noodles & Pastas

Can You Freeze Gnocchi?

Gnocchi is a type of doughy dumpling with ridged edges to hold the sauce. Usually eaten as a substitute for pasta noodles, gnocchi is made with semolina flour and served as a first-course meal. That said, it can be used to make side dishes. Do you love gnocchi and would like to store the leftovers for later? Can you freeze gnocchi?

Whether fresh or store-bought, gnocchi can be frozen for future cooking. If you’re making gnocchi from scratch, it’s best to freeze gnocchi uncooked as soon as they are shaped. Cooked gnocchi has a relatively short shelf life, it will only last for a week in the fridge. But when stored in the freezer, the gnocchi will keep for at least 2 months.

Image used under Creative Commons from Rebecca T. Caro

Now, the issue with storing gnocchi in the fridge or freezer is the dumplings tend to disintegrate once boiled in water. The fact is, gnocchi has to be cooked immediately or frozen uncooked. But let’s face it, sometimes you have leftover gnocchi that you cannot finish. When the conditions are not right, we will teach you how to prep and reheat the dumplings properly so the defrosted gnocchi remains perfect once reheated. Below is a step by step guide on how can you freeze gnocchi:

How to Freeze Gnocchi?

How you freeze the gnocchi will depend on the state of the dumplings. Are you freezing uncooked or cooked/leftover gnocchi?

Freezing Cooked Gnocchi

Gnocchi is best frozen uncooked because the dumplings have the tendency to soften too much once reheated. But if you have excess cooked gnocchi, you can still freeze the dumplings. If you made too much gnocchi than you can handle, separate the dumplings that you need to freeze and hold off the sauce. You can add the sauce after thawing and reheating the dumplings.

Sprinkle a little flour and toss the gnocchi before spooning the dumplings into a resealable plastic container. The flour will prevent the dumplings from sticking together. Squeeze the air out before sealing then write the storage date with a marker. Finally, stick in the freezer. If you have a vacuum sealer, use it to lock in the freshness.

Image used under Creative Commons from Rebecca T. Caro

Freezing Leftover Gnocchi

If say, you have some leftover gnocchi (sauce and all), it’ll be hard to freeze the dumplings without changing the texture. Because the gnocchi has been cooked completely, reheating will turn the dumplings mushy. If that’s fine with you, just spoon the leftover gnocchi into an airtight container, close the lid, write the storage date then stick in the freezer.

Freezing Uncooked Gnocchi

This is the ideal way to preserve and maintain the chewy consistency of gnocchi after freezing. Start by making the gnocchi from scratch, placing each dumpling in a floured, parchment-lined baking pan. Once you’re done, leave the gnocchi to air dry at room temperature for an hour up to four hours. This step is important because it helps retain the chewiness of the gnocchi once defrosted.

Once air-drying is done, stick the pan in the freezer and leave the gnocchi to freeze for 2 to 3 hours. When the dumplings are frozen solid, take the tray out of the freezer. With a resealable plastic bag, place the gnocchi one by one. When the plastic bag is filled with gnocchi, squeeze out as much air as you can, seal, then stick in the freezer.

How to Defrost and Reheat Frozen Gnocchi?

To defrost gnocchi, simply transfer the dumplings from the freezer to the fridge. Leave the gnocchi to thaw for several hours to overnight. It is important that the dumplings be completely thawed before reheating or cooking. Now let’s take a look at how to reheat frozen gnocchi properly:

Image used under Creative Commons from Marco Fedele

Reheating Leftovers Using the Microwave

For leftover sauced gnocchi, you can reheat the dish in the microwave. Transfer the dumplings to a microwave-safe bowl, stick in the microwave and nuke on high at 10 seconds intervals or until gnocchi is reheated thoroughly.

Reheating Leftovers Using the Stove

Pour the leftover, sauced gnocchi into a skillet and simmer on low until the dumplings are heated through. You can add a little more of the sauce if the dish becomes too dry. At this point, you can also add your favorite mix-ins, such as parmesan cheese, olive oil, etc. When the gnocchi is cooked through, serve immediately.

Cooking Thawed Cooked Gnocchi

Cook the gnocchi as directed in the recipe. Prep the defrosted gnocchi the same way as fresh gnocchi.

Cooking Thawed Uncooked Gnocchi

For defrosted, uncooked gnocchi, boil a pot of water then drop the thawed gnocchi one by one. Since the gnocchi has been defrosted, it will take some time before each one floats, which takes 2 minutes or so. When the gnocchi floats, it is done cooking. Just scoop all the floating gnocchi and cook as directed in the recipe.

Summary

As you can see, there are so many steps to take when freezing and defrosting gnocchi. But the effort is worth it once you whip up your favorite gnocchi-based dish. Now that you know how can you freeze gnocchi, extending the shelf life of these yummy dumplings will be a piece of cake.

Noodles & Pastas

Can You Freeze Noodles?

A noodle-based dish is quick and easy to prepare so it’s always a good idea to stock up on noodles when you can. But what about leftover noodles? Can you freeze noodles for later use?

From pasta noodles to egg noodles, most types of noodles freeze well. This goes especially for uncooked noodles, there will be little to no changes in taste or texture after uncooked noodles have been defrosted.

Image used under Creative Commons from Devika

Cooked noodles are a different story, especially for leftovers. Once the noodles are frozen and reheated, there’s a good chance that the noodles will turn soggy. One way to prevent texture changes is to cook the noodles al dente prior to freezing. This way, the noodles will stay firm when it’s reheated.

Cooked noodles, particularly when drenched in sauces, have a short shelf life. That’s because the sauces tend to go bad faster than the noodles. When kept in the fridge, cooked noodles will keep for only 5 to 7 days. But when kept in the freezer, noodles will stay fresh for 2 months maybe more as long as the temperature is kept at a steady 0 degrees. Now let’s take a look at how can you freeze noodles:

How to Freeze Noodles?

Freezing Cooked Noodles

If you’re anticipating a lot of leftovers as you’re cooking the noodles, separate the noodles that you want to freeze and do not add the sauce. You can freeze the sauce and the noodles separately then incorporate both ingredients after reheating. Always lay the noodles flat during storage so ice won’t form in the middle of it and the edges won’t be overcooked during reheating.

Image used under Creative Commons from Stefan van Bremen

Use an airtight plastic container to store the cooked noodles for freezing. Start by tossing the noodles in olive oil so they won’t clump together. Place the noodles into the container, making sure not to overfill it with the product. Close the lid, write the storage date with a marker then stick in the freezer.

You can also use a resealable plastic bag to divide the noodles into single serving portions. Again, just spoon the noodles into each plastic bag, seal, write the storage date and stick in the freezer.

Freezing Uncooked Noodles

For uncooked noodles, you can freeze the product using a resealable plastic bag or an airtight container. Since the noodles are not cooked, they will stay fresh far longer than their cooked counterparts. You can use a resealable plastic bag to freeze uncooked noodles. If you have a vacuum sealer, the better. Vacuum seal the bag prior to sealing then stick in the freezer.

Freezing Leftovers

For leftover noodles, just use an airtight plastic container. Pour the leftovers into the plastic container, seal, and write the storage date. Stick in the freezer and you’re done.

Image used under Creative Commons from Jun Seita

How to Defrost and Reheat Frozen Noodles?

To defrost frozen cooked noodles, just transfer the container from the freezer to the fridge. Leave the noodles to thaw overnight. Once the noodles have thawed completely, it’s ready to use. As for frozen uncooked noodles, the product will thaw quickly in the fridge, about two hours or so.

When it comes to reheating thawed cooked noodles, there are different ways to do it.

Reheating in the Oven

To reheat cooked noodles (cooked al dente without the sauce), pour the noodles in a parchment-lined baking sheet. Spread the noodles all over the baking sheet then stick in the oven. Bake at 350° Fahrenheit for 20 minutes or until heated through.

Reheating in the Microwave

To reheat in the microwave, spread the thawed noodles on a microwave-safe plate then stick in the microwave. Place a cup of water in the microwave before reheating so the noodles won’t dry out. Nuke over high at 20 seconds interval until heated through.

Summary

Freezing noodles as a make-ahead dish is a smart way to enjoy your favorite noodle-based dishes minus the extra prep. This is a useful method to try if you’ve got a special event coming up. Now that you know how can you freeze noodles, whip up different types of make-ahead noodle dishes so you’ll always have quick and easy meals anytime.

 

Noodles & Pastas

Can You Freeze Ziti?

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.

Image used under Creative Commons from alanagkelly

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.

Image used under Creative Commons from alanagkelly

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.

Summary

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.

Noodles & Pastas

Can You Freeze Cooked Pasta?

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:

How to Freeze Cooked Pasta?

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.

can you freeze cooked pasta

Image used under Creative Commons from Luca Nebuloni

How to Defrost Frozen Cooked Pasta?

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.

Summary

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.

 

Noodles & Pastas

Can You Freeze Lasagna?

Can you freeze lasagna? It can take some effort to prepare Lasagna so many people like to freeze it to make for an easy heat-and-serve meal. It is also a favorite housewarming and new baby gift. Lasagna keeps very well in the freezer and can be thawed and reheated with very little loss of quality.

Lasagna can be frozen either before or after it is baked. If you plan on freezing lasagna, it is best to prepare it in a dish that is safe for the freezer and the oven, making for an easy meal. Glass and ceramic baking dishes are both good options. Metal pans should be avoided, as the lasagna could take on a metallic taste over time.

Many people like to prepare two lasagnas at the same time, and freeze one to enjoy later. This also helps save money, by allowing you to buy in bulk, or otherwise use up as many ingredients as possible. Below is a step by step guide on how can you freeze lasagna:

How to Freeze Lasagna?

Freezing leftover lasagna in single-serve slices is another way to make a convenient weeknight dinner. There is very little difference in flavor or texture between pre-baked and unbaked frozen lasagna. The choice which type of lasagna to freeze is a matter of convenience.

Lasagna should not be frozen if it was made using frozen ingredients. The thawing and refreezing allow for the introduction of harmful bacteria, which increases with each freeze and thaw cycle.

If you choose to use frozen ingredients, make sure they have only been frozen and thawed once before, and make sure to bake your lasagna thoroughly prior to freezing it.
Slice of lasagna

Image used under Creative Commons from stu_spivack

Prior to freezing, lasagna should be cooled to room temperature, or placed into the refrigerator to chill. This will improve the quality of the lasagna when reheated.

Chilling the lasagna will also make it easier to cut into single-serve slices if you desire. It should be wrapped air-tight with plastic wrap, or individual slices can be stored in plastic bags.

Make sure to wrap it well to prevent freezer burn and drying. If you prefer, you can line your baking dish with aluminum foil or parchment paper, and once cooled lift the lasagna from the pan to transfer to a suitable freezer container. This way, you can keep using the baking dish, rather than having it in the freezer. Lasagna can be kept for about three months in the freezer.

How to Defrost and Reheat Frozen Lasagna?

Thawing Frozen Lasagna

Lasagna should be fully thawed prior to reheating or baking, to ensure even cooking. The best method to do this is to place it in the refrigerator the night before, allowing it to slowly thaw.

Lasagna can also be thawed in the microwave or placed in a cold oven, allowing the oven to heat up around it, but this may affect the taste and texture of your heated lasagna.Once thawed, lasagna should be covered

Reheating Thawed Lasagna

Once thawed, lasagna should be covered with foil to prevent excess browning (especially if pre-baked), and cooked in a 350° oven for 30-40 minutes, until hot all the way through. The foil can be removed in the last 10 minutes of cooking if you desire additional browning.

Individual portions can also be reheated in the microwave. Keep your lasagna chilled until ready to cook it, to prevent bacterial growth. Your lasagna should taste as good reheated as it did originally! Some people even prefer reheated lasagna, as it allows the flavors to meld.

Summary

Nothing better than a serving of lasagna as a snack or a meal. Lasagna is one of those pasta dishes that taste better the second time around. Now that you know how can you freeze lasagna, you can store your leftovers for longer without worrying about spoilage!