Can I Freeze Pasta?
Though pasta does not always taste as great as it did the day it was made, it is possible to freeze it. Storing pasta in the freezer can provide quick and easy weeknight meals. Plain noodles can be frozen after being completely or partially cooked, and prepared pasta dishes can also be frozen.
If you want to freeze pasta that has already been cooked, allow it to cool before placing it into a freezer bag or plastic container — either will work equally well. It is a good idea to first toss the pasta with a small amount of butter or olive oil to prevent the noodles from sticking. Squeeze as much air out of the freezer bag as you can before placing the pasta in the freezer to prevent ice crystals.
While fresh pasta often tastes best, if you are going to freeze it, the best results will be had if you partially cook it first. When you take the frozen pasta out, you can finish cooking it before serving. Cooking it after it's been frozen will help the taste, but having frozen it partially cooked will reduce the cooking time.
Pasta will generally taste best if used within a month of freezing. It will keep for a few months, but it's best not to keep it in the freezer for any longer than that. It is also not a good idea to freeze pasta that already has already been mixed with a sauce. Instead, divide up the pasta and the sauce and freeze them in separate containers.
If you’ve prepared a dish such as baked ziti or lasagna, first cover the dish with plastic wrap and then add aluminum foil. It will keep in the freezer for two to three months. When you’re ready to bake it, remove both the aluminum foil and plastic wrap, then put the aluminum foil back on to bake. You can thaw the dish in the refrigerator first, or simply bake the frozen pasta, but be sure to check the recipe for exact cooking times.
The best way to reheat frozen pasta is in the pan with some olive oil or sauce. You can also microwave it if you’re in a rush. Another suggestion for freezing cooked pasta is to add it to homemade soup. You can divide the soup into smaller containers, and freeze those for quick dinners later.
Generally speaking, it is a good idea to only cook the amount of pasta that you will want to eat immediately. If you do choose to freeze the left overs, keep in mind that it will have a different texture when you eat it, and remember not to store pasta in the freezer for too long or it will have an unpleasant taste.
Why not mix pasta in the sauce, then freeze? You buy frozen 4 cheese penne with pasta. Lasagna comes frozen, and so does spaghetti. Most of the freezer meal cookbooks mix sauce and pasta. You just need to make sure you don't over cook the pasta before putting it in the sauce, and besides the flavor of the sauce will be infused in your pasts which makes it better, and the pasta won't taste bad.
So you're not supposed to freeze pasta dishes after they've been mixed with sauce? I had no idea -- I'm glad I read this article before I tried to freeze the spaghetti I made for dinner! Maybe it's a better idea to just have the same meal two days in a row instead of freezing...or better yet, just cook a smaller amount.
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