Next to rice, pasta is probably the most versatile food ingredient that you would come across. You can mix it with just about any sauce you come up with—white, pesto, tomato, etc.—and combine it with different kinds of proteins—chicken, pork, beef, cheese, and the likes!
Because of this, pasta dishes have become the go-to dinner meals of most families, and that is why mothers often have this on their grocery list. But you should understand the fact that pasta is known to have a short shelf life. This is most especially true with cooked pasta.
So how long is cooked pasta good for? Well, read this article to find out!
How Long is Cooked Pasta Good For?
Let us get straight to the chase. How long is cooked pasta good for? One thing you should understand is the fact that the shelf life of a cooked pasta may vary depending on how it is stored.
If you refrigerate it, cooked pasta with sauce can last for 3 to 4 days while cooked pasta can last for up to 7 days. You may have noticed that pasta with sauce has a shorter shelf life. This is because pasta sauce contains spicy ingredients which may facilitate the spoilage of the pasta a lot faster.
If you place the cooked pasta in the freezer, it can last for 6 to 8 months. This is true regardless if the pasta is mixed with sauce or not.
Everything You Need to Know on How to Store Cooked Pasta
If you want to maximize the shelf life of the pasta in your refrigerator, you need to know how to store your pasta correctly. With that in mind, here are some of the pasta storage tips that you need to put into practice:
Storing Cooked Pasta in the Refrigerator
After cooking the pasta, drain off the excess water. Set it aside for a few minutes to let it cool down. You can also try to run it under cold water to prevent further cooking and to stick to each other.
After that, transfer the pasta to a bowl and pour three tablespoons of vegetable or olive oil over it. Toss the pasta gently. The oil will prevent further clumping of the pasta. Once you are sure that the pasta is evenly coated with oil, place it in either an airtight container or a sealable plastic bag.
Make sure to label the plastic bag with the date when it was cooked. In this way, you can determine when the pasta’s expected expiry date is.
Storing Cooked Pasta with Sauce
If possible, store the pasta and its sauce separately. But in the unfortunate event that you have already mixed the sauce into the pasta, store it in a tightly sealed bag or container and place it in either the freezer or refrigerator.
Please do know that the sauce can make the pasta mushy as time goes by so it is recommended that you consume it as soon as possible.
Storing Cooked Pasta in the Freezer
If you do not plan to eat your leftover pasta anytime soon, the best place to store it is in the freezer. If this is the case, it is recommended that you avoid overcooking pasta. In fact, it would be best that you maintain it at the al dente level. This is because you will have to carry out a few reheating procedures which will make it softer.
Before placing it in an airtight freezer bag, let it cool down. You should also toss it in oil of your choice to prevent it from clumping. If you have prepared too much pasta, it would be best to divide your pasta into smaller portions. In this way, you will be able to thaw and reheat only the amount of pasta that you can consume.
For pasta that is stored in the freezer, the best way to reheat it is through the steaming method instead of using the microwave. This is because the former retains the moisture of the pasta and prevents it from drying.
What to Do With Leftover Cooked Pasta
If you are tired of eating the same pasta dish over and over, you would surely want to look for smart ways on how to use up your leftover cooked pasta and turn it into a different dish. Well, we are here to help you out!
Below are some of the smart ways on how to use your leftover cooked pasta:
How do you turn pasta into a frittata? Simple! Just saute the noodles in olive oil until it becomes crispy. Beat two eggs and add it into the pan. Allow it to cook until it sets/ Top it off with shredded cheese then broil it until the cheese turns brown.
Put the pan over high heat. Once the pan is hot enough, add the pasta and stir it quickly. Add chopped veggies and a few meat slices to make the dish more flavorful. Before the noodles get completely cooked, add soy sauce. Serve and enjoy!
Yes, you can transform your leftover pasta into a pie! However, this is only applicable for cooked rigatoni noodles. To do this, get a springform pan and arrange the noodles vertically in the pan. Pour sauce over the noodles then add cheese on top of it. Bake the frittata. Let it cool down then remove the pie from the springform pan. Slice into small parts and enjoy!
No one can resist taking a bite of a saucy, cheesy, and meaty pasta dish but there will undoubtedly be times when you cook much more than you can eat. If this happens, you would surely not want to put your pasta to waste. To do that, you need to figure out how to properly store cooked pasta.
You should also learn to figure out how long cooked pasta is good for. In this way, you will be able to determine if the refrigerated or frozen pasta is still safe for you to consume.