Spaghetti dinners are a family favorite, but often, there is plenty of leftover spaghetti and the last thing you want to do is let it go to waste.
Since cooked spaghetti will only last for 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator, freezing it is a great way to extend its shelf life. This way you can enjoy the spaghetti on demand for dinner, in soups, bakes, with sauce, and even as a cold salad.
Here is everything you need to know to successfully freeze pasta.
Types of Spaghetti
Traditionally an Italian dish, spaghetti is a long, thin, noodle pasta made from wheat flour and water. Traditional fresh Italian pasta may also include eggs.
Fresh Italian spaghetti is typically an off-white color as it is made from refined durum wheat semolina, but whole wheat flour may be added giving it a slightly darker color. Spaghettoni is a thicker type of spaghetti, while capellini is a thinner variety.
Spaghetti can be made fresh or dried and is cooked in salted boiling water until soft but still slightly firm. It is then drained through a colander.
Although spaghetti is often served with a tomato-based sauce, meat sauce, or ground beef, it is also popular served with cream sauces, chicken, vegetables, and seafood.
Can Spaghetti Be Frozen?
Yes, you can freeze cooked pasta and it makes for a fast and convenient meal on busy weeknights or when you don’t have time to cook.
It is important to keep the spaghetti protected from contact with air and moisture on freezing as this will cause freezer burn and ultimately damage the quality and texture of the cooked pasta.
When you plan on freezing cooked pasta, it is best to slightly undercook it. This way, reheating after thawing will complete the cooking process without causing the spaghetti to become mushy.
How To Freeze Cooked Spaghetti
Method 1: Individual Portions
Step 1: Cool
Once cooked, cool the spaghetti completely to prevent freezer burn. Freezing spaghetti that is still warm will cause large ice crystals to form causing textural damage to the noodles once thawed.
Step 2: Flash Freeze
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Create small nests of spaghetti about a cup size each and place them onto the baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the freezer until the cooked pasta is frozen and the spaghetti nests can be removed without falling apart.
Using this method allows you to remove one or 2 portions at a time without having to defrost the entire batch.
Step 3: Pack
Remove the baking sheet from the freezer. Pack the frozen spaghetti nests into resealable freezer bags or airtight containers. Carefully press out as much air as possible before sealing the ziploc bags.
Step 4: Label and Freeze
Label the bag or freezer safe container with the date of freezing so that you can keep track of how long the cooked spaghetti has been stored.
Method 2: Pack and Freeze
Step 1: Strain and Drizzle with Oil
Once you have cooked the pasta al dente, strain the noodles in a colander or pasta strainer and shake off any excess water. Drizzle and lightly toss the spaghetti in olive oil to prevent it from sticking together. Leave the spaghetti to cool completely.
Step 2: Pack
Pack the spaghetti into resealable freezer bags in the desired serving sized portions. Keep in mind that you will have to thaw and use the entire contents of the freezer bag. Press out any excess air before sealing the freezer safe bag.
Step 3: Label and Freeze
Label the bag with the date of freezing so that you can keep track of how long the cooked pasta has been stored.
How To Defrost Frozen Spaghetti
For the best results, remove the spaghetti from the freezer and place it into the refrigerator to thaw overnight or for a few hours. To speed up the thawing process, place the sealed freezer bag in a bowl of cold water.
To reheat pasta or spaghetti that has not been tossed with sauce, start by boiling a pot of water. Place the thawed spaghetti in a strainer and dip it into the boiling water until completely warmed through.
Spaghetti that has already been mixed with sauce can be reheated in the microwave or on the stove-top, stirring occasionally to spread the heat evenly. It can also be covered and heated in the oven.
If you’ve been making spaghetti and you have too much pasta, you can always repurpose it for your next meal.
Having a ready-made spaghetti meal in the freezer can be a lifesaver at the end of a long day. Three important factors to consider when planning to freeze cooked pasta is the doneness of the noodles, the temperature before freezing, and the spaghetti clumping together.
Slightly undercook the spaghetti to prevent it from turning mushy once thawed and reheated. Drizzle olive oil over the spaghetti and lightly toss to prevent the strands from sticking together. Also, make sure the spaghetti is completely cool before packaging to freeze.
Freezing spaghetti with, or without sauce is really easy and will save you time and money in the long run.
See more: How To Reheat Carbonara
*image by depositphotos.com/borjomi88