The Best Way to Reheat Pasta. Full stop
Everyone loves pasta. It’s easy to cook, quick, and it can be paired with a ton of different sauces, making it simple to find a good combination for every occasion.
The thing is, I don’t know about you, but I’m terrible at measuring pasta servings, and I often (actually, always) cook too much. Cooked pasta can be kept in the fridge for a few days, it can even be frozen, but it usually isn’t as good the second time around.
Let’s face it, freshly cooked meals taste different, but your reheated pasta could probably taste a lot better if you knew how to reheat it properly. I know I didn’t until recently, and it makes a world of a difference!
How NOT to reheat pasta
Let’s start by looking at some possible methods you might be currently using to reheat your pasta and see why they aren’t all that great.
What can I say… microwaves messes up food in so many ways. I dries it up, makes it mushy… and sure, there are tricks to make it better, like putting a glass of water next to your dish while reheating it, covering with a perforated lid, etc.
But all this is just trying to fix something that’s broken from the beginning… Unless you are hearing up water, sauce, melting butter or something along those lines, stay away from the microwaves!
The frying pan is a step up from the microwaves. What you usually do is preheat your sauce in the pan, then add the precooked pasta and steer.
The problem with this method is that you must keep the pasta in the pan for at least 4-5 minutes if you want it to really warm up. Even longer if you are putting it in straight out of the fridge. Considering fresh pasta cooks in just a couple of minutes, and dry pasta usually does in 8 to 10 minutes, keeping it in the frying pan for an extra 5 minutes is a lot. Your pasta will either end up overcooked, burned, or not uniformly warm.
The BEST way to reheat pasta
If you want your precooked pasta to feel and taste as closely as possible to when it was freshly boiled, here is what you should do.
- Preheat your sauce of choice in a frying pan and set it apart in a bowl.
- Boil some water, as if you were going to boil new pasta.
- Once the water is boiling, through in your precooked pasta for 20 seconds, 30 seconds max.
- Strain the pasta and put it into the bowl with your warm sauce. Mix well, and serve!
That’s it, I guaranty your pasta will feel 10 times closer to freshly prepared pasta that it would if you put it in the microwaves or frying pan.
Why does this method work better?
Boling water reheats your pasta quicker, more evenly and loosens it up so that it’s not sticky. This means your pasta wont be overcooked (or only 20 seconds over cooked, instead of 5 minutes), the temperature of your food will be uniform and your pasta will be loose and mix much better with the sauce.
Microwaves heat from the outside in, and so does the frying pan. When you through that block of pasta from the Tupperware to the pan only some of the pasta touched the hot surface. Only after a few minutes that block will start to undo, but the pasta that was in the center of it will still be cold. Water touches almost all the surface of your pasta at once, it separates the noodles (or penne, fusilli or pasta shape of choice) from each other and therefore manages to raise it’s temperature much quicker, without overcooking it.
Give this method a try next time you make to much pasta and want to reheat it. Sure, it might take you 3 or 4 minutes longer to reheat your dish this way than it would in a pan, or even 10 minutes longer than it would in the microwaves, worst case scenario. But the result really isn’t comparable!